I have always believed myself to be a loner, an introvert, enjoying my own company and the independance that brings. Indeed, in 2010 I took the Myers Briggs test and that confirmed my belief when I scored as an introvert. I felt settled and happy with that outcome.
Three years on and I have recently taken that very same test as part of a team building process in work and imagine my surprise when I came out as an extrovert. This left me reeling a little and I have been pondering this at length. I argued with the trainer that I was not an extrovert, indeed the answers I gave in response to her questions in class suggested that I was an introvert. My scores were very split but on the day I filled the form in I definitely leaned toward the extrovert in me.
Weeks later and I am still pondering this outcome. The test suggests that your “type” is about how you operate in daily tasks, the introvert/extrovert part being about how you would normally “recharge” your batteries. I agreed with all the other assesments, I love lists, I enjoy being organised, I am more comfortable with being a big thinker and often I lose interest with the small building blocks required to get to the bigger picture but I am good at working through things using the lists. I have taught myself the skills to be organised, to work towards goals and to complete projects. Once I had this in mind it made far more sense to me.
I love to be alone. I enjoy my own company and I often take myself off shopping or walking the dog on my own. I prefer those moments to wander and gather my thoughts. However, I have come to understnd that I love to be around people, I enjoy discussing all kinds of topics, debating, laughing and crying with others. I realise now that this is when I am at my happiest. I have a handful of very close friends with whom I mull over problems. I turn to them for a listening ear when I need somebody to bounce ideas and worries off. Externalising those worries helps me to focus on them and to identify the solutions.
I have spent the last four years living in Wales, working from home and travelling a lot with my job. I spent long periods alone. Sometimes I could go a whole week without talking to another soul. I realised that I was sad and life wasn’t providing me with enough experiences. In November I moved to London, to the hustle and bustle of city life and working in an office containing 350 people. I love it. I come alive when I walk through those doors in the morning. I enjoy the banter with my colleagues and I find people fascinating. When I come home at night I close the door, I sit and read, I watch tv. I walk the dog in the fields and I write. I feel the need to be alone, quiet and contemplative. By the time Monday comes around I am looking forward to getting back to civilisation.
All of this pondering has led me to understand that I don’t need to fit in a box. By believing that I am an introvert set me on a road to sadness, depression and loneliness. Now I know that I enjoy being alone but I recognise that I need to be around people to recharge those batteries. Self awareness is a powerful thing.
I don’t believe personality tests as a norm but I do think that having a tool to help me understand myself and allowing me the starting point to analyse my beliefs has been a good thing. I also need to learn to love my yin and yang personality, to know when I need to be alone but equally to recognise when I need to surround myself with friends and family.
Living in this place has also taught me that I adore being in the countryside, it renews my strength and I relish in the the beauty around me. BUT I love being on the edge of very large town or city and all the culture that can bring. I am a culture vulture and I have had a drought of late. Time to step it up a little now I recognise what makes me happy as opposed to what recharges my batteries.
So, what have you discovered about yourself lately and how will it change the way in which you approach life?