Helping introverts be successful on their own terms.

 

Introvert Interview with Lyle Wiggins

Lyle-introvert-interview-4Welcome to our Introvert Interviews series, where I talk to introverts from all walks of life about their experiences and their introversion..

Meet Lyle Wiggins. Lyle is a newsletter subscriber who answered my call for interviewees. I’m always amazed at how responsive, open, and enthusiastic (not to mention interesting!) the introvertology community is, and Lyle is no exception. It was a pleasure learning about him.

Did you notice any links to personality and suggestibility when you were a certified hypnotherapist? 
My original reaction was that there is a definite link to personality and suggestibility, but in reality, there are as many exceptions as rules when dealing with the human mind. Generally, the more left-brained and pragmatic a person is the more I had to work through chisel through their protective armor. If they chose to let me into their world, however, they could be very suggestible. The overriding principle in ethical hypnosis is that everyone has a choice whether or not they will allow themselves to comply. Some of the most important skills a therapist learns are how to guide clients into a state of comfort with the process.

You also owned a genealogical research company, what did you find interesting about family histories?
My interest in family history began when I was a child listening to my grandparents and parents telling stories about my Mormon pioneer ancestors. My grandparents on both sides were interested in genealogy for religious reasons, so it was a fairly common topic of discussion at family gatherings. From an early age I was a compulsive reader with an addiction to story as well. I had an obsession with biographies of explorers and adventurers that led to a desire to understand why people did what they did and the influence of history. Read More

Redefining Introvert

introvert-definition

Introversion and shyness are different concepts.

I’ve written about this. Many, many other bloggers have written about this. Susan Cain even mentioned this in her TED talk that has over 10 million views.

And yet shy is how three prominent online dictionaries have defined “introvert.”

A week and a half ago I called on the community to contact dictionaries and tell them to change their definition of introvert. Thank you to everyone who did!

It’s time to move on to the next phase. Introvert Dear and I are partnering up and launching a petition to ask Google, Dictionary.com, Oxford Dictionary, and Cambridge Online Dictionaries to change their definition of introvert. Not only are their definitions hurtful, but they’re also inaccurate.

We’d like Google and the online dictionaries listed above to change their definition to:

An introvert is someone who has a preference for minimally stimulating environments, due to a difference in the way sensory input is processed in the introvert’s brain.

Introverts have a preference for low stimulation environments. Shyness is the fear of a negative social reaction. Not all introverts are shy. And not all shy people are introverts. There are a lot of shy extroverts out there – someone who is shy at first, but warms up and becomes more energetic after a few hours of socializing.

Join me, Thea, Jenn Granneman from Introvert Dear, and introvert thought leaders, in telling these dictionaries that their definition of introvert is wrong by signing this petition.

Sign this petition asking Google and other dictionaries to change their definition of the word “introvert.”

We promise not to spam you or share your email address with others.

Then share on social media, because every signature helps.

Introvert Redefined

Sign this petition to ask Google, Dictionary.com, Oxford Dictionary, and Cambridge Online Dictionaries to change their definitions of the word "introvert."

Google defines an introvert as someone who is “a shy, reticent person; a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things."

Cambridge Online Dictionaries defines an introvert as "someone who is shy, quiet, and unable to make friends easily."

Not only are these definitions hurtful, but they're also inaccurate.
We'd like Google and others to change their definition to:

"An introvert is someone who has a preference for minimally stimulating environments, due to a difference in the way sensory input is processed in the introvert's brain."

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9 Holiday Energy Tips for Introverts

Here are a 9 tips for taking care of your introvert energy this holiday season.

In between social engagements:

  • Be mindful of who you do favors for and which social engagements you say yes to. Most of the time it’s better to RSVP with a No than RSVP with a Yes only to call up on the day of and tell the host you can’t go.
  • Come up with a list of relaxing things to do that will recharge your introvert batteries instead of automatically doing something mind-numbing like scrolling through Facebook for the 10th time that day.
  • Do something rewarding for yourself right after a social engagement. It’s better to associate parties with a reward than associate parties with tired grumpiness.

Before and during parties:

  • Work out a list of ways to say goodbye beforehand, that way you won’t spend any of your dwindling energy trying to think of a way to say goodbye that isn’t insulting. “I’d love to stay, but I have to get going” or “I’m sorry, but it’s time for me to leave” may work.
  • Arrive late if there will be lots of drinking involved. People will remember you arriving, but they may not be sober enough to remember when you leave.
  • Find a task. You could offer to run to the store for ice, help in the kitchen, mix drinks, etc. Depending on what kind of event it is you could volunteer yourself as the official photographer.
  • Take a minute by yourself. You might be able to step outside for a bit, or sit in your car for a few minutes. If those aren’t options, there’s always the bathroom.
  • If you need a moment away from chitchat look at photos, books, and art.
  • When you leave the party, really leave the party. Don’t use up your energy by mentally staying for another few hours, reliving an embarrassing moment. Chances are the other people involved forgot about it as soon as it happened. Psychologists call it The Spotlight Effect. We tend to drastically overestimate how much other people are paying attention to us.

Enough is enough. Introvert is not the same as shy.

Introvert is not the same as shy

A good way to make an introvert angry is to use the terms introvert and shy interchangeably. But that’s exactly what three prominent online dictionaries have done (I have links to their contact page halfway through this article).

Introversion and shyness are not the same thing. At all. An introvert’s and a shy person’s behavior are the result of different motivations. Introverts are commonly defined as people who need to be alone in order to recharge their energy. Shyness on the other hand is rooted in fear, particularly the fear of negative reactions during social situations. And to treat both terms as meaning the same thing would be to discount all of the shy extroverts out there, people who really want to join big groups and be around people a lot, but who often don’t put themselves in social situations because of fear.

If introvert and shy are used interchangeably the terms stop being useful, which is why I strongly encourage you to contact the following dictionaries and tell them that their definitions are outdated. You can contact dictionary.reference.com here about their definition, Oxford Dictionary here about their definition, and Cambridge here about their definition.

Why should the introvert community care what a dictionary says? Because not everybody is as well informed about introversion as us, and it’s a disservice to both shy people and introverts if we let this misconception continue. Say you have a manager who loves brainstorming sessions. The non-shy extroverts most likely commandeer those meetings (in a typical eight person group, three people do 70 percent of the talking). An introvert and a shy person may mention a few ideas, but not necessarily their best ideas. Introverts can bring their best ideas to the brainstorming session if they have a bit of time to think about it beforehand (extroverts think while they talk, introverts often prefer to think before they talk). To get a shy person’s best input, a method for submitting anonymous ideas would be best. But if introvert is defined as shy, an extrovert manager may refuse to tell us the topic of the brainstorming session beforehand. In their eyes we wouldn’t need time to think beforehand, we would just need to stop being shy.

If we want to become a society where we can value the strengths of introverts, extroverts, and shy people, we need to first make sure that the terms aren’t defined in a totally incorrect way.

And let me know – either by commenting, sending me an email, or tweeting – why this is important to you. I’ll compile some of the responses into a blog post.

Introverts unite!

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