There are three types of people in this world: introverts, extroverts, and those crazy folk who are a little bit of both. (Like me!)
But in terms of job success and overall happiness, are introverts at a disadvantage? In schools and office cubicles, to best fit in and be eligible for the major promotions, you must socialize and be an outgoing, approachable person. Introverts can be that person — but not all the time.
As a writer, I treasure my alone time. Sure, I spend my days and occasional nights out with friends and socializing with my peers, but I need to balance out that time with just being by myself.
Introverts aren’t shy and they don’t hate people. They prefer fewer socially stimulating activities, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Writers, painters, and artists do tend to be more introverted than, say, actors and public speakers. We need these people to be our deep thinkers, our meditators, our authors, our geniuses.
That’s not to say that we don’t need extroverts to be our charismatic public speakers, our entertainers and actors and leaders and politicians. We need both types of people, but in today’s society, the skills of introverts seem to be undervalued and overshadowed by the glowing extroverts.
As somebody who scored right in between introvert and extrovert on the big five personality test, I can vouch for both sides. My chatty, outgoing side always garners better results compared to my introspective, thoughtful side. Even as a screenwriter, I can see that introverts would have a tough time surviving in Hollywood with all the pitching, lunches, and meetings that are part of the job description. Is this what we want? Some of my best friends are introverts, and they have a way with words unlike anyone else. Should they be elbowed out of jobs because they’re not naturally adept at winning over a roomful of people in a high stress situation?
Is introspection being protected in today’s environment? Is the public school system forcing introverts to act against their nature? What does that do to their happiness? Their self-esteem? Why can’t we tailor learning and work environments to suit the strengths of each individual, both introverts and extroverts?
It’s no secret that I love TED talks. This is one of my favorites. Check it out and let me know what you think about this debate.
Arguments are stupid. If a Mormon and an Atheist are friends, will an argument about God and religion do them any good? What about die hard two sports fans from opposing teams? A pro-life versus a pro-choice advocate?
Let’s say my friend and I are arguing about whether or not being a vegetarian. This is a lose-lose argument, because no matter how much proof or Harvard Studies I can quote from, I will never be able to bully her into believing that vegetarian is the best option. ESPECIALLY because going vegetarian isn’t a viable option for people who LOVE meat. Eventually, after all the facts have been stated, the argument will diminish into a battle of rhetoric. If I “win” this battle, she will walk away, unconvinced, with a damaged view of me.
Arguing with someone only makes them MORE likely to hold on to what they believe in. As they defend their beliefs against you, they’ll actually believe in it MORE strongly.
One of my favorite books, How To Win Friends and Influence People, is incredibly insightful on the topic of criticism and arguments. That book has helped me time and time again, and should be number one on your self-improvement bookshelf.
So basically, disagreements should be approached in one of two ways.
If you find yourself criticizing someone, this is a sign you’re entering into a destructive argument that will erode your relationship. Here’s a list of common criticisms that should bring up red flags:
I lose respect for the people who argue in front of me, angrily spouting accusations and criticisms. Not only does it mean those people are not mature enough to go about their differences in a polite manner, but it also points to some ugly character flaws.
So don’t argue! You’re better than that.
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” -Leo Tolstoy
“Research has found that girls who feel good about themselves and respect their bodies – regardless of what they look like - are more likely to be physically active and eat healthy. They are less likely to gain unnecessary weight and they make healthy lifestyle choices far into the future. How we think about our bodies and our beauty has everything to do with how we treat ourselves.” Source.
A few of my female acquaintances have gotten into the habit of talking badly about their bodies, but it’s doing them more harm than good. They are no longer the happy, down-to-earth people they used to be. Instead, they’re idolizing “thinspo” — pictures of photoshopped, itsy bitsy women — and getting caught up in the vicious yo-yo diet cycle. They’re unhappy and not happy about their bodies.
Sure, we can point fingers at the media. But the media is only a representation of our cultures’ views. The media uses our idealism in order to move merchandise. And the ideal the media represents is this: we need makeup, a “hot body” (whatever that is), and perfect hair to be anybody. Does the media come up with that idea on our own? Or do we as a society perpetuate that idea?
Health, happiness, weight loss, self-actualization, success…. everything starts with the right attitude. If you look into the mirror and say, “I can’t wear a tank top today because my arms look fat” then you’re putting yourself down. Your arms look fat? Who told you that? Why are you letting that stop you? Are you going to wear a sweater to the pool because you’re afraid of criticism? HELL NO.
So what’s the right attitude? I’ll break it down for you…
Fix your attitude, fix your life!
“Showing a happy face is considered essential to any friendly social interaction, including those involving sexual attraction. Yet few studies have examined whether a happy expression is in fact, attractive. Are women interested in men who smile, or do they prefer men who appear confident? Do men seek happy women, or are they more drawn to those who are demure, averting their gaze and showing shame?”
I love psychology. Love it. However, studies like these make we want to tell science that no, people aren’t really like this! Us ladies care more about sweet, charming, nice guys than the arrogant, prideful ones.
This study is intriguing because it’s investigating the psychology behind social norms. In the eyes of men, what type of women are more appealing? Confident and capable? Charming and happy? Submissive and demure? Same thing goes for our perception of men. Are we wired to be attracted to the nice guys? Or are they at a disadvantage?
Here are the results:
“…a large gender difference emerged in the sexual attractiveness of happy displays: happiness was the most attractive female emotion expression, and one of the least attractive in males. In contrast, pride showed the reverse pattern; it was the most attractive male expression, and one of the least attractive in women.”*
Which photo of the actor Shane West do you think is more attractive?
Does this help explain why us women are drawn to the smirking bad boy more so than the smiling nice guy? Is this the psychological proof to the age-old adage, “Nice guys finish last?”
This study (although incredibly interesting!) bothers me. (Partially because my dating history is full of decisions made in favor of the prideful types, not the happy types, and that’s unnerving.) But also because the men who are happy and positive should be getting the girl in the end. Movies and television are full of the opposite happening, but the nice guys always win in the end, right? Even with this apparent psychological handicap? I’d like to think so, even if the evidence shows otherwise.
Attraction may be dictated by social norms and cognitive preference, but I’d like to believe that it’s personality that counts in the end. I don’t care if that makes me some romantic cheeseball, but if we all went around creating a persona based on these studies of attraction, that would be dishonest and manipulative. Knowing about these quirks of attraction helps us understand why someone catches our eye, and from there take from this study what you will.
What do you think about this study?
Also, on the topic of the Shane West photos… I’d have to say the second unsmiling one is more attractive… ARGH PSYCHOLOGY STUDIES WHY ARE YOU SO RIGHT?
*Source: Tracy, J. L., & Beall, A. T. (2011). Happy guys finish last: The impact of emotion expressions on sexual attraction. Emotion, 11(6), 1379-1387. doi:10.1037/a0022902
You know those people who glow with positive energy? These are the radiant ones who draw others in. Everybody wants to be friends with this kind of person because they are incredibly accessible and inspiring. They never have bad days or enemies or harsh words to say about anyone.
How do they do it? What is there secret?
Here they are: [Read more...]
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