Minimalism for the Introvert

As a child, I never knew what introversion was. All I knew was that I was drawn to these things:

  • Cozy hideaways from humans
  • Reading for hours at cafes or the library
  • Super minimalist interiors which are perfect for a recluse
  • Tiny homes
  • Scented candles
  • Piles of reading material
  • Quiet time
  • Naps
  • Solo activities

I thought these activities were normal until I realized that most teenagers my age were out with friend for four or more days out of seven. A strange phenomenon to me, coming from a mixture of curfews and general dislike of going out to crowded places often.

When an introvert tries to extrovert

Fast forward to my young adult life, I was eternally enraptured by the extrovert’s ability to multitask, have long endless conversations about any topic in such a captivating and animated way and the confidence to face the unknown. I saw how their talents shone in University where their presentations were more animated and well graded than a boring one filled with facts and details.

I wanted to learn how extroverts function and that’s when life got a bit more complicated.

Public speaking, sales, networking were 3 deep pools I decided to fling myself into. I enjoyed it in university, where the weight of actually forming real business connections were not extremely crucial. However, taking up a job which involved sales showed me that I was clearly not suited for an extrovert’s arena.

Overstimulated and overwhelmed, I burnt out super easily. It took a consultancy teaching business to burn me out over the span of 7 years, but only 2 for a sales position. I knew something was not right.

Craft your career around your personality type

At this juncture, I knew that the old adage “if you fail, keep trying” would not apply here. I had a deep think about what I would be good at and add value to myself and I got back into teaching.

I’m glad I did my introspection and got to my current destination in life. I am now happy, living with purpose of having a simpler life with fewer but more meaningful goals, a family, a loving partner and my pets.

As an introvert, I realised that I was not someone who is super nurturing, outgoing and a carefree spirit.

As an introvert, I learnt to embrace that I was methodical and focused. I may not be able to juggle twenty balls at once and carry out a random yet entertaining conversation, but I can focus, streamline the unnecessary fluff and execute my plans.

In short, I prefer depth to scope.

Better commitments, less stress

This led to a natural inclination towards the minimalist lifestyle. If you’re also an introvert like me, having minimalism as a foundation to your lifestyle can lead to a calmer, less overwhelming, more effective and happier lifestyle that helps you to say no without the guilt.

When you are familiar with your vision, goals and priorities, you will know how to align your actions.

The first step is the clear your plate and that is where minimalism has helped me immensely. Clear your plate, and then clear it again.

Social Minimalism

I used to think that you need to add every single person who sends you a request on Facebook and LinkedIn. “Your network is your net worth”, right? Then comes the string of weird people hitting on you, randomly inviting you out for coffee to sell you a gimmick or another, or to spam”like” their millionth start up (just because everything else failed). Yes, extroverts are GREAT at networking, but their start ups lack focus and often need more attention than they can give.

Extroverts are excellent at broadcasting and bringing people to embrace an idea, but an introvert is great at giving life to the idea. That’s why we have long term friendships with very few friends.

When it comes to physical meet ups, choosing my circle became priority. Now, I just choose to be with the handful of close friends and have coffee from time to time.

I’ve even come to embrace online meetings and conferences as an effective platform to share ideas, meet new people and decrease travel fatigue.

Fashion Loyalty + Personal Style

Mood swings, fantasies and projections of the ideal self. Concepts that I used to build a haphazard wardrobe that never seemed to please me. We are constantly told about following the ever shifting trends and the idyllic well curated wardrobe that we are supposed to have at the same time. Can we achieve the pipe drivel we have been fed by the media press?

In reality, we cannot have our cake and eat it.

Since then, I have created my own cake. I use no more than a 5 complimentary colour template. These five colours match my skin tone, personality type and each other.

You can nibble on your personal classic wardrobe every day if you ensure that you kick the habit of fast fashion and following trends that are not right for you.

The result of not having fashion loyalty to shifting trends and staying true to your personal self is a more confident, less awkward you.

The Quiet Gym

I never enjoyed group activities. Firstly, I have a short fuse for patience. I prefer my alone time while I exercise without having to work with another to achieve my fitness goal. Secondly, I love zoning out while churning out reps in the gym or doing power walking cardio. I plug in a podcast and I hit two daily goals at once.

The best part? Once your earphones are in, no one speaks to you. No time is wasted, you get your alone time and you learn something. You give your body the full attention it needs.

Is the weight too heavy? Is your posture right? How many reps could you churn out well today? Are you overextending your shoulder? Are you compromising an old sports injury?

The minute details can make or break a workout.

However, if someone strikes up a conversation after my workout and cool down, I do not mind having a certain amount of small talk.

Food and Dining Choices

I still have Eatigo and other discount cards stored in my Perkd app. However, I do not actively use them unless I can get a good discount or just discovering a new place to dine at.

Another reason why I do not enjoy tapping on these dining apps is due to the same reasons why these dining options are on the apps. The dining options are usually not popular, serve sub par food, bad service or serve ridiculously expensive menu options.

I am also one who is pretty much a boring eater. I stick to the same few places I am familiar with or the same types of food. This places usually have my expectations of them set. Singapore has a whole barrage of food, new eateries popping up on a weekly basis, but restaurants that serve good and homely food are few and far between.

Yes, I am also one who will willingly splurge on a good cup of coffee that I can thoroughly enjoy for at least an hour.

At the end of the day,

Not everyone has the strength of the extrovert to interact and be with people all day. Not everyone has the ability to juggle twenty balls at the same time while recounting a charming death defying life experience.

Maybe introverts are not meant to do these things.

Maybe introverts were meant to juggle 3 or 4 balls at the same time and perfect the art of giving life to these few priorities on their plate. 

If the extrovert’s strength is to go wide and explore, then the introvert’s fortitude is to go deep and and nurture.

Special Thanks

I would like to give special thanks to Feedspot for featuring my blog in their list of top 100 minimalist blogs. Visit their list to check out more minimalist themed blogs worldwide. 

If you enjoyed this post, please kindly share to anyone who would benefit from this.

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One thought on “Minimalism for the Introvert

  1. Love your post. I too am an introvert and obtained a biology degree that required minimal interaction with humans. My ideal job was working in a research lab until I disordered that I didn’t like research or working behind a desk all day. Now I’m challenging myself by going to nursing school. My nursing instructor told us that we have to be extroverted which isn’t me but I’m not going to quit. I’m hoping to gain people skills and do the world better good by becoming a nurse.

    Like

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