Introvert, creativity and distractions

11:19 AM

Introverts are people who spend a lot of time in their thoughts and have a particular affinity with quietness. I should know, I am an introvert myself. And while I have no problem being out in the world from time to time, I need huge chunks of solitude to feel balanced and happy.

Like most introverts, I am a creative soul and like most creative souls, I tend to scatter my thoughts in many directions. Imagine a wed browser with about 50 tabs opened at any given time and you have the most accurate description of how my mind works. And because my mind is always buzzing, it becomes essential for the outside world to just keep quiet. No joke, I tend to get a wee bit panicky when too many stimuli occur all at once and interrupt the chain of thoughts inside my mind.

Weeks of unforeseen circumstances like the "no school" that happened last week usually put me a bit on edge. Simply because my mind will just pull me into more direction, most of them conflicting. It becomes near impossible to focus on a creative project when you have the voice of reason screaming on top of its lugs that it is now time to cook breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Voice of reason often backed up by a whiny kiddo who is not only starting to feel hungry but is also bored out her mind.
Ishita happens to be an extrovert that really really finds it very hard to do quiet and alone time.

Last week saw me ambitiously wanting to tackle about 4-5 food related projects, and about 9-10 artsy ones. That was before one trail of thoughts led to another and I found myself cleaning the wardrobes, making lists for an additional 20 projects and ideas and spent all my evenings out of the flat just to get a serious change of scenery (you know in order not to get mad).

To be fair, I managed to chalk a few things off the list, or at least get my ducks in a row for this coming week.
There is a wall board picture display in the making (waiting for the carpenter to do his bit). I did a batch of pumpkin puree for a couple of pumpkin recipe. I started thinking about Diwali decor ideas. I cleaned my wardrobe (big big round of applause on this one), I even went as far as deciding to get a few old clothes to the tailor to have them modified in order to not go too crazy on Myntra (my latest favourite app...don't judge). And in the middle of all that I even got a half baked Epiphany in the middle of the art supplies shop regarding the transformation of a painting I really dislike now.

Who cares about the cheese crackers, pretzel crackers, bagels, cupcake and eggplant dip I saw myself tackling? Or the fact I had this crazy plan to de-clutter my craft supplies drawer, find a way to organize my washi tape and buy more yarn to attempt some woven art? Or the fact I wanted to print pictures and do a scrap book. Paint last few graphics I need for my 2016 printable calendar and finish said calendar? Or even put finishing touches to the laundry room?

In the end, what matters is that nobody died of hunger or boredom on my watch this past week. But I will admit that this constant mayhem in my mind, did as usual leave me a bit frazzled and I am quite happy to have the leisure to reboot my system this week. As the true introvert that I am, I will do it staying home, with no TV, no music and just my books, and creative projects...

What about you guys? Are you an introvert? Do you find it hard to stay on course with your ideas and thoughts?

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  1. Anonymous5:21 PM

    I am an introvert like you and often find it difficult to keep track of my thoughts. One thing that most introvert find is that the thoughts accumulate in their minds and they don't speak out, there is a traffic jam in the mind. Most people find introverts as either arrogant/shy because they do not contribute to the conversation much. They cannot speak a million miles per second like most extroverts do. They want to intervene at an appropriate time, sometimes that moment does not happen at all. They want to listen which is not always a bad thing unless you don't contribute anything/do not have anything to say. But it is a negative trait because people are quick to term you as shy/stupid.

    In Delhi, where everybody is trying to outthink and outpace everybody whether it is talking or showmanship, introverts are at loss. People term introverts as "Bhola" (naive), another word for being slow or stupid and prone to being cheated. They of course have only two criteria for judging a person's worth, it is either money or muscle power. The introverts sometimes have neither.

    Sometimes introverts find other introverts irritating. They can very well understand why other people find them awkward. I would advise everyone to be extrovert, social and just plain outgoing. Being introvert is no fun. It is like sitting on a platform and not being able to board a train while people around you reaching their destinations. Whether job or love life introverts always face problems.

    It also lowers self esteem. If you are intelligent it must get reflected in your personality in the form of confidence and the easiest way to do this is to talk so that people know what you think. Introverts who are creative like you have a creative channel to express themselves. What about those who are not talented?? They have nothing to show for their silence. Being extrovert is a huge plus, and if you are not they you must have something to compensate for that loss. Talk or rather scream from roof tops, do not keep silent. It will save you a lot of trouble. Sorry, just personal experience. I hope I have not offended you.


    1. You must read the book "Quiet, the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" by Susan Cain. It explains introversion quite well. The interesting part is that introverts are wired differently, the brain chemical balance is different so it is not something you can change, forcing yourself to be extroverted is actually more harmful if you are an introvert. Also it is estimated that 1/3rd to one half of the population on Earth is introverted but the society has been designed by extroverted for extroverts and many introverts struggle to get their message out there because they aren't in the right environment to do so.

      Which is a shame because introverts are usually much better thinkers and analyse situations better than extroverts, and usually stay more level headed too.

      There is also the fact many mistake shyness for introversion. As an introvert I am not shy, it means I am not afraid of speaking or being out in the world on my term, but I know extroverts who were shy, but still extroverted and highly talkative among a trusted group.
      As an introvert the one thing I struggle with is small talk, be it with friends (rarely happens) or with strangers (sadly happens a lot). I can strike a deep long meaningful conversation that goes somewhere with people I don't really know well though. As long as I have a quick escape route, and I don't like big events and gathering at all. I am more likely to sit a bit away from the crowd and strike a conversation with someone I know and conveniently forget I am at a big party :-)

      Then of course I need a few days of playing hermit after a big event I could not avaoid attending. Back in Switzerland December is a non stop month of celebration, it is Holidays party and dinners galore and you can't really not attend your school batch annual dinner get together, or your potery class drinks and snacks Christmas event, and let's not forget the family functions that follows each other. By December 26 I could be found at home, with the phone unplugged, in my night wear, leftovers and a good book and could easily do that for days, just to be regenerated enough to attend a New Year party, which lets face it was an intimate gathering of friends playing board games and drinking at home :-)

    2. Anonymous11:45 PM

      I don't buy that argument about chemical imbalances. Some introverts become extrovert due to right exposure. just like plants need proper atmosphere to develop people too need proper environment. introverness in mainly due to strict upbringing and controlling parents.

      I too had problems with small talk and has meaningful conversations with strangers. but then I started to jump into conversations at the right time
      observe two people talking and then when u find something slighty familiar, something u have read, put forth your views and join the conversation. This happens in metro where people are debating politics one of the most common topics. at the right time u say " u know the Delhi government is not wor king......". the other guy says " yes its all politics". then u put forth your political analysis. people are very passionate about it politics. People are also very well informed these days so u have to be absolute sure about everything. from cricket, economy and politics everyone is an expert. It is great to stimulate the discussion and by the time u realise the journey is over.

      I find that women too are more interested in discussions these days. men can argue endlessly over lots off things so there is always something to break the ice and with so much information these days whatever u say has some basis. Therefore male introverts can overcome their inhibitions. With women introverts I am not quite sure. women talk about very limited subjects and if u are not interested in it what do you do. u cannot make small talk.

      I think the key it to read newspapers watch news and keep yourself abreast of things so that there is always food for thought for small talk.


    3. What you are describing is shyness and social impairment this NOT introversion at all. Introversion is part of the DNA, there aphas been decades and decades of serious research on it. This has entirely to do with how the brain is wired and its response to influx, chemical and hormones. Some cultures value introversion more than other, and the hard time comes when Introverts are forced to act extroverted in a society that is mostly designed with extroverts in mind.

      Introverts are NOT afraid to talk, they do, many actors, and public speakers are notorious introverts to the core. It is just that Introverts gain their energy from having big chunks of solitude and social engagement tend to drain them, while extroverts are energised by social interaction and the surest way to make an extrovert depressed is to put them in solitary confinement.

      Sadly the world has made the big mistake of thinking shyness and all kind of social awkwardness disorder are synonymous with introversion. Which is totally wrong and is not the case at all. Social impairment happen to both extroverts and Introverts alike. Shyness is a fear of being judged by society, an entirely different disorder.

      My sister is a highly extroverted person, she doesn't do alone time, it drives her literally insane. I am a big introvert, I really really need downtime alone to recover from social engagement. We were both raised the same, by the same parents, going to the same school, and because we were fairly close in age, had more or less the same social circles. We also both took drama classes and acted on stage, neither she nor I have a fear of public speaking.
      The difference is she seeks big parties and loud music and learn much much much MUCH better if she is in a study group where they brainstorm ideas, while I got the best studying done locked in my room with nobody around, group studies where the bane of my existence as I wasn't at my productive best, I also have a much low tolerance to noise than her.

      introverts are also more immune to the effect of endorphins and their brain create less of it. As a result in big events they are less prone to have the environment around them excite them. And they tend to stay much more level headed when making big decision because the nervous system is designed not to respond to stimuli.

      By the way introversion is a trait that has been found among various species as a way to perpetuate the species in question. Introverts take calculated risk and in a crisis time have a higher survival rate than extroverts, which means that in the even of a catastrophic natural event, you still get a percentage of a species that survive because they have been wired differently.

      Here are some links explaining the whole introverts doesn't mean shy :

      And again, read Susan Cain's book, it is the most detailed book on the topic, quoting all the massive scientific research in the field.

    4. Another link on the topic worth reading :

    5. Oh and by the way, a debate on a political topic is NOT small talk. small talk is the random stranger that comes to you and say "Nice weather isn't it" and leaves it at that.
      Or the people who will spend 5 minutes with you at a party saying something like "How do you know the host? Oh, cute dress by the way..." Before zooming to the next guest and repeat. Extroverts do a lot of that talk and they are fine just commenting on cute dresses and moving from guests to guests all evening long. Introverts would rather spend more than 5 minutes talking to one person and really talking about things that both persons can contribute to to get into a deeper conversation.

      As an introvert, I am also perfectly content to go to the beauty salons and have a haircut without the stylist or a fellow customer try to get me to talk about something like the weather. Extroverts at a beauty parlour will typically be the ones wanting to talk all the time, about any tid bits of informations passing live commentary of any kind on the situation trying to engage people simply because they aren't confortable in silence, you know the type of chatter like : " Oh the climate is horrible, my hair is a mess...I love your necklace by the way, and oh yes I want the same hair cut as so and so, God do you think I need a pedicure? My feet feel gross, don't you think my feet look gross, I love your nail polish, reminds me of the sea in Andaman, and those sandy beaches!"

      All in one go, jumping from one topic to the next in seconds without even caring to go deep into any of them. To an introvert this is energy sapping, to an extrovert, that makes them feel alive because they are interacting with their surrounding, extroverts feel the need to be in constant contact with their surrounding if they don't they feel a deep void inside themselves. While introverts rejoice at the quiet outside because they can connect with their active mind better.

  2. Cynthia, I agree with you on so many points you made. I am introverted too. The Hubby is totally opposite and makes friends with every random person he meets! The book you mentiond "Quiet, the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking" by Susan Cain" sounds like an interesting read. I enjoy in-depth one-on-one conversations but can't stand small talk. Was laughing about the hair salon, I'm never interested in those chats but everyone around me seems to be enjoying lol

    1. It was a very interesting book to read, it had been on my book wish list for a long time but wasn't available in India for long time at least not at a reasonable price, so the instant I got my iPad I downloaded the Kindle app and read it as a e-book.

      These small talk thing especially at the beauty salon annoy me. When I was living in Geneva my studio apartment was in an old building that had a shop arcade on the ground floor, it was a hair salon. I became quite friendly with the stylist, but I always found the small talk of the other ladies odd. I was perfectly fine with silence or a one on one chat with the hair stylist since she spent about 12 hours a day in my building and neighbourhood and we could talk about meaningful things to us both.

  3. That's one thing I don't miss about living in America.
    In the US introverts are treated as if something is 'wrong' with them & it is considered a flaw which must be somehow overcome. I can recall being pushed to be social, participate in things I had no interest in, & to be 'popular' all through school grade school when I'd rather be alone concentrating on doing my own thing. Going to parties & events with people my own age was miserable & draining.
    University was somewhat of a relief, at least I had more of a choice about what I wanted to be - (after 'faking' being an extrovert in the interviews to gain admission to university that is.)
    Then came the 'career' where to get ahead one must put oneself 'out there' publicly on a daily basis & learn to deal with people effectively at all levels at all times (that was the most stressful for me, not the 'science' but dealing with people.)
    The internet has been WONDERFUL for us introverts.
    We can turn it on or off as we please (unlike real people) & use it to organize our thoughts & find commonalities with others we might not have ever met before.
    Being a Muslim woman now is a great excuse for not participating in a lot of social events also. HAH! I'm not a kook for wanting to lock myself in the compound all day & not deal with the outside world, I'm a proper Muslim lady!

    1. I had more or less the same experience growing up in Switzerland. At one point a teacher showed concern about my really enjoying spending time alone, reading alone in the reading nook, and really not liking team games and team projects much. She advised my parents to get me tested by a psychologist as she was dead sure I was having some kind of social impairment and possibly autism (from not being an active participant in a basket ball game...yeah right!). This resulted in me going for several session with a therapist to evaluate me. Hours and hours and hours and hours of testing, evaluation, talking and what not showed the following verdict :

      Your child is as normal as can be, she is just an introvert who values her time alone and has a rich imagination and creativity and is totally capable of normal human contact when she feels like it.

      It took a lot of time to persuade the teacher that recommended the evaluation that she had nothing to worry about though.

      When I was growing up the notion of introverted people was just really starting to be understood by professionals. And was still treated by too many as a disease and disorder that absolutely had to be cured at all cost because clearly there is nothing "normal" about a person that prefer spending weekends at home and alone over going to a pub.

  4. I am a certified introvert along with being socially awkward and a bit shy. :D There was a time when I myself used to confuse introversion with shyness and social awkwardness but now I have figured they are different traits.

    Reading about the parlour thing, and pretending to be an extrovert during interviews mentioned in one of the comments made me chuckle. After each of my parlour visit, I come back home feeling exhausted just by being exposed to the constant chatter and gossip! It's exhausting.

    I still hate my school life and it took me years to figure out why. It's because our society be it school, college or organizations is designed for extroverts. Except for my 3 years of graduation (because I was in a batch of only 24 students, which resulted in me being the most confident speaker of all in debates, presentations, lectures and in general), I barely spoke in school, high school and office.

    At regular intervals I deactivate my social media accounts, Whatsapp etc to enjoy solitude.

    1. I don't deactivate social medias, but I do turn off all notifications on my phone very regularly. Back in the old days when I had a landline and a mobile phone I would unplug the landline regularly. Only family and friends had my mobile number then, and they didn't like calling it because it was when calling a mobile phone was still costly. They cribbed at first, but the mobile allowed me to screen people and not pick up if I didn't feel like chatting.

      I think a lot of people don't realise that introverts loose energy being around people and interacting with the world rather than gaining from it, and that we like being social but on our terms and are willing to expense that energy if it is fulfilling a purpose.

      And like you, I usually come back from the beauty salon drained and exhausted from all the chit chatting, I would not rally call going for a mani-pedi that relaxing an experience. the end result is worth it though, but not the process of getting it done :-)


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