Today, we begin the fourth lesson that introverts can learn from extraverts. In the last sessions, we learned the importance of small talk, the ability to take risks and how to be comfortable in crowds. Extraverts have mastered these skills. Introverts have not. Yes, introverts do have other skills that extraverts can learn (like how to enjoy solitary pursuits), but introverts should learn some skills from extraverts to create balance and to become better introverts. Remember that this series is not designed to turn introverts into extraverts! It is designed to take the best qualities of extraverts and learn to use them effectively as introverts.
This next lesson contradicts a core behaviour of introverts. Unlike the other lessons, this lesson is presented both as something that introverts should learn to do AND as something that introverts should stop doing.
Extravert Lesson #4: Say Yes!
The fundamental step to this lesson is for introverts to stop talking themselves out of doing something. In the desire to protect their space and solitude, an introvert’s first impulse is to say “no.” Introverts also love to change their mind and get out of obligations, especially social obligations. Introverts are notorious for taking themselves out of opportunities when they arise. Introverts really can be their own worst enemy! They see something that they want like a potential partner, job prospect, party or a different experience but they convince themselves not to refuse the opportunity. Introverts are great at talking themselves out of having the experience, meeting the new person, applying for the job and any other new experience that has presented itself.
Extraverts never do this. They generally find reasons to do something rather than talking themselves out of it. If an extravert sees something that they want, they go for it! That’s it. There’s no self-doubt. There is no second-guessing. There is no over-analysing or pro/con lists about it. That is definitely a skill that should be praised and respected! And it is a great skill that introverts can learn from extraverts.
Introverts need to learn to go for it. They need to be open to opportunities and experiences that present themselves. They need to say yes! Learning this lesson and developing this skill will make the other lessons and skills easier to learn and put into practice. But introverts need to say “yes” rather than think of ways (some that are very creative) to avoid participating in the new experience or taking the opportunity.
So, rather than finding a reason to refuse, find a reason to say “yes.” In fact, it can be a good idea to say “yes” without any particular reason.
After learning the art of small talk, taking risks and feeling comfortable in crowds, this ability to say “yes” will come much more easily and naturally.
The “Say Yes!” Lesson
Introverts are very skilled at finding spontaneous reasons to avoid doing something new. “I have to work”, “I have a headache,” “I have to walk my dog” and so many others. This allows introverts to go home and enjoy a quiet evening with a book or Netflix. There is nothing wrong with that; sounds like fun! However, it could also a good idea to “say yes!” to new experiences: go to the coffee social, throw a dinner party for your friend’s birthday, go on the tour of the museum or register for the Mandarin class. Say “yes!” to have these experiences. Introverts can experience them only if they put energy into having them rather than putting energy into making up an “acceptable” excuse.
How to get started
There are lots of different ways to get started but I highly recommend watching the movie: The “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey. Already seen it? Watch it again because this time around, you can watch it as a “learning to say ‘yes!” lesson. This movie is a great teacher. I just ask that you keep an open mind and say, “yes!” to watching it! You will know exactly what to do after watching that movie.