I had a conversation with my wife a few weeks ago that I think may have been a “life-altering” one. When I say “life-altering”, I mean it’s the type of conversation where years from now I’ll be able to trace back a lot of life consequences back to it.
A similar thing has happened before when I embarked on a degree in theatrical arts – due to that I’ve been in professional audio over a decade.
Also, when I landed my first independent film gig – it jump-started my career.
This time the conversation was really simple, straightforward, and blunt.
“Question for you… would you say that I’m an extrovert?” I asked my wife, as I sat down on our couch.
“Oh [laughs] definitely. Most definitely.” she replied without skipping a beat.
To say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement.
The reason I inquired on this in the first place was that I had just finished Skype chatting with a fellow audio professional. The conversation went way over the time I’d originally planned, but that was fine as I was pumped full of energy from it afterward.
That train of thought lead me to realize, after nearly every time I spent out with my “industry friends” (most of whom are now “friends” more than “industry friends”), I have a great time and I’m full of energy, thoughts, and ideas.
Though my trusty Merriam-Webster doesn’t really agree in this case, my layperson’s understanding of “introversion/extroversion” is essentially a difference in where you derive your energy. Those who identify more as “introverted” perceive social interaction as an energy drain, with more “extroverted” people being the opposite.
That’s as far as I intend to go with the definitions here, as I’m not looking to really label anyone or drill down a precise definition – it’s not important to the point I’m trying to make.
But by my own definition here – I’m exhibiting extroverted tendencies. This, despite always internally believing myself to be more introverted.
You can see now, how changing my internal label and monologue could completely flip my world upside-down.
Now think about this. More often than not after a large gathering of audio or game professionals, I see comments on like like this:
“Had SUCH a great time at GDC! Sometimes I forget how good the #gameaudio community is. You are all awesome #warmfuzzies”
“Every time I get together with #gameaudio I go home so fulfilled, I wish we could hang out all the time!
We live in a world where literally everyone stares at a screen for most of their day. Probably the only major time that you don’t is while you’re driving – even then, you’re looking at your phone during a red light (don’t lie…).
When you’re hanging out with friends, there’s a good chance you’re watching a movie, or the latest TV craze. When you’re at home, you’re on the computer, in front of a TV, or looking at your phone.
I’ve had nearly a dozen separate people express this as a “joke” to me in the past few months: “Call someone? Who uses a phone to call people anymore? Just text me!”
Do you see the dichotomy here?
I’d bet, if you think you’re a pretty serious introvert, there’s actually a genuine possibility that there’s a huge chunk of you that isn’t introverted at all.
Instead, when around somewhat like-minded people, you actually get a great deal of positive energy. There’s the potential that your creative drive increases, you become a happier and more confident person.
Unfortunately Twitter, Facebook, and texting do not replicate this experience.
Therefore, every time you miss a meetup – or simply don’t call someone to grab pizza – you’re actually doing a big disservice to your actual health.
Imagine that – your well-being could legitimately suffer when you don’t spend physical time around people.
I really encourage you to think about this as it pertains to yourself. If my wife is right (and I think she is) this would be a pretty huge shift for me mentally.
Though I may not be “an extrovert”, just the realization and awareness that I actually enjoy being social more than it being a drain is a dramatic difference.
Normally when I have the opportunity to get out and meet people, or even attend a meetup full of people I know, I still drag.
“It’s going to take forever to drive, I don’t want to find traffic and a place to park…. I have to figure out dinner… I can’t be out late because I need to get to work in the morning… I’m not really interested in it anyway.” I normally say to myself.
But if I’m aware that I’m actually more healthy when I’m in these scenarios, I have a huge incentive to be involved.
Not to mention the added benefits to self-confidence, mental chemistry, and creativity.
I want the same added wellness for you too – so I seriously encourage you consider this:
Do you get out enough? Do you see your friends and colleagues? Does it help?
Consider it, and consider killing the screen time.
Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.