I don’t know why introversion is seen as a bad thing. Movies and entertainment media has always portrayed the heroes and notable figures to be outspoken. What most people don’t know is that among the people who have made changes in the world, there have been notable introverts as well. Here are some examples of famous introverts.
People tend to think that if one is an introvert, there is something wrong with them. Which the world around us is built to promote loud music, clubs, and bars. Movies and music with plenty of violence and more. In such a world, the art of reading a book in the library or spending quality time with oneself in a coffee shop is seen as a sign of a loner.
I too used to look down on my introversion as if there was something wrong with me. I have also faced a lot of anxiety and fight and flight response because I was worried that people would be judging me all the time. It made for a horrible post graduate experience, but that’s a story for another day.
I used to be too self-conscious to be alone in a public place. But the desire to spend my “me-time” overpowered my nervous instincts. I have watched plenty of movies by myself. In fact, I have traveled to Delhi to watch WWE live. I knew that if I waited for my friends to confirm if they are coming, I will end up paying increased prices for the same tickets. So instead, I booked the tickets and took the leap.
It was a nerve wrecking experience at times. But shopping was effortless, I prefer to shop alone so I am habitual to that. It was my experience while visiting coffee shops in the city which felt a bit odd. I used to think that since I am sitting by myself, people would think of me as a loser or a person with no friends.
The thing that helped me the most was that I had a notebook with me. So every-time I felt that odd feeling rising in my head, I would write down in detail how exactly I was feeling.
To break the ice, I took additional steps to interact with new people. I asked directions from strangers, asked them for recommendations about good places to shop and enjoy booze. My Bar Headquarters in Connaught place which had reasonably priced booze, great music, and an attractive ambiance. I was even signaled to join a couple who were sitting at the venue. At first, I thought that maybe I am imagining things, later I realized that it actually happened. It kinda pushed me to go talk to other people and socialize. So I approached the first group of people who politely declined. (Apparently, one of them had had a bad breakup and his buddy was trying to cheer him up while talking sense into him.)
The next group was a couple of girls who were sitting about 3 tables away from my seat. I did make eye contact with them and thought of approaching and introducing myself. But there was a voice inside my head which told me to stay put. The next step was bargaining, I starting to make excuses with myself that I’ll go talk to them after this song, and so, more than an hour passed. When I finally mustered the courage to get up and speak to these people. They said that they were about to leave. Only if I had not waited so long, I would have got to meet these girls and made new friends.
My second experience with embracing my own company was when I moved to Mumbai a few years later. You see the sheer population density of this place will make it incredibly likely that you are going to cross paths with dozens of people every single day. Whether it’s on public transport, walking or while standing in line for the bus. You are constantly exposed to so many personalities that I’ve found a hobby, people-watching.
I’ve always loved to explore new places, So I had it a habit to always plan somewhere to go over weekends. Whether I have company or not, I rarely spend my Saturday nights or Sunday evenings at home.
My favorite place to spend a Sunday evening is Bandstand, you can read more about it here.
When I had to move back to Indore, my hometown, I realized that I needed a place away from home where I could get my freelance writing done. So even when I was out of work, I would visit coffee shops near my home and made a discipline out of it. It helped my permanently remove my social anxiety and it offered me a place away from home where I could go to write, read and enjoy coffee.
This habit allowed me to be creative with my blog as well. I got to meet new people, hear their stories and learn.
My favorite solo escapade is hands-down my trip to Goa. My birthday was coming up and I didn’t want to celebrate it like every year, getting drunk with friends and waking up with a hangover the next day. So I booked the tickets, applied for leaves and headed to Goa.
Now I have been to the place plenty of times, so I was already familiar with the city. The new part of this journey was that I was all by myself and that I’d be living in a hostel. I chose Papi Chulo in Vagator for my accommodation.
Here are some pictures of the place.
You should definitely check this place out. If you are looking for a solo journey, it will provide you with plenty of opportunities to meet with people from all around the world.
As I checked-in at the reception, I was already delighted with the cheerful atmosphere of the place. They have in-house pets as well which makes it even more special.
I learned that people volunteer at hostels and it allows them to stay for free, meeting people from Germany, the United States, Syria, London, and more.
I even met a guy who recently visited Pablo Escobar’s grave in Columbia.
The first day of my trip was quite a lot of fun. I visited the beaches, I spent a lot of time at the hostel bar, mixing up with other people and hearing their stories. Then I went to the South part of Goa to meet a friend of mine. I returned by 1:30 at night and I saw the group of 3 girls and a guy from Delhi that I had met in the morning.
My brain once again went into an overthinking mode, I was thinking
“What should I say?”
“Do they want me to join them”
and other anxiety-fueled questions.
I learned a valuable lesson that day, I dunno what made me say this, but it was the easiest way to make a connection with my fellow hostel mates.
All that I had to do was smile and say “Hey Guys!”
We ended up sitting, chatting and sharing drinks for the next 4 hours.
We build up these things in our heads so much that it often feels impossibly difficult to make new connections. But from my own experiences, the greatest conversations and the best of friends are made from the simplest things in life.
In fact, one of my closest friend and I met over a simple question.
“Do you have the CD of GTA 2?”
(This was back in the 2000s, the game itself was released in 1999)
He is one of the few people in life whom I look up to when I am stuck, even if I do not tell him what’s going on in my life, the things he will talk about will directly be the answer to my dilemma. His name is Yash Nagori, he writes hilarious movie reviews on Facebook, taught me about photography and runs a successful advertising business “HumbleBrag”, in case you are looking for a co-working space, you should check out his venture bluSPACE.
I would also like to mention a valuable resource that helped me understand my introversion and how it can be used as a superpower. I watched a Ted Talk by Susan Cain which was on the power of introverts. This led me to purchase her book Quiet: The power of introverts in a world which won’t stop talking.
It changed my whole perception towards introversion. I found ways how I could use my introversion to impact the world. I also learned how to deal with extrovert situations without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a life-changing book. You should definitely go check it out here.
There is a 50 percent chance that you are an introvert. What are your thoughts on introversion? Do share your personal stories in the comments below.
Until next time,