10 Things Being An Introvert Has Taught Me About How To Be Successful In This Generation
There's lots of content out there that bashes Generation-Y for our alleged inability to be successful and labels us as lazy and ineffective. But, there's actually a ton of stuff that we're really good at doing — it's just different stuff than that of older generations.
Specifically, being an introvert in today's world has allowed me to figure out how exactly to manage my life and it just might be able to help you, too.
It's better to be great at a couple things than sh*tty at a ton
So a bunch of our “elders” think that we need to be good at many things to be successful in the workforce. Yes, employers look for multi-faceted candidates, but who the hell in this world (unless you're Leslie Knope or like, Superman) is a ninja applicant who knows 10 different computer applications, has relevant work experience and managed to get great grades in college while being involved on campus while sustaining a smidgeon of a social life…? Did you, employer???
I would venture to say, no, you did not. If you have, you're probably one in 5,000. I pride myself at being very good at what I CAN do, instead of being mediocre at many more things. Put all of your energy into the things you love and know you want to do. As Ron Swanson would say, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
Quality is extremely important
I am a student athlete and to say I'm crunched for time is an understatement. Many of my roommates think that I never do work, but the thing is, I do what needs to be done at the highest quality I can complete and then, I move on. I don't sit around talking about the fact that I need to study for five hours — I sit down, study for two hours and then move on.
You can talk all you want, but actually doing something is way better than talking about doing something, working on it a little bit, talking about it some more and finally, finishing it. Do something the best that you can, make sure there are no errors and move on. Writing one excellent story is better than churning out five crappy ones.
Asking for help is necessary for success
Sports, writing and life in general have taught me this lesson. There is nothing worse than someone who acts like he or she has it down, then executes an entire task poorly. Ask, ask, ask. Don't worry if someone thinks you're an idiot for asking for clarification on something. A superior would much rather you clarify the situation or task than you spending your (and their) precious time. The saying “there's no such thing as a stupid question” really does ring true here.
Life is unfair 90 percent of the time
If there's anything I've learned in my 21 years here on Earth, it's that no matter where you go and what you do, there will always be favorites and bosses/coaches/editors will play them. Did you work your ass off and write the best piece that you've ever written — ever — simply to be disregarded by your editor for a lesser piece all because the writer of the latter piece is favored?
Well, this is the way of the world. Hard work sometimes doesn't pay off and when it doesn't, you have to continue onward like you're unfazed by the occurrence. Say it with me… “this is totally fair. I'll just work harder next time. I'm happy doing this.” Maybe it will pay off next time, maybe it won't. But, all we can take with us is a sense of pride, knowing that we've done everything we could to succeed.
Take chances, even when they make you uncomfortable
Pretty much everything that eventually brought me success initially made me unbearably, disgustingly and helplessly uncomfortable. But, I would have so many regrets if I hadn't thrown myself into these situations. Getting recruited to a Division I school for lacrosse was like going through the post-graduation interview process at 15-years-old, but I did it and I am now a senior on Loyola University Maryland's women's lacrosse team.
Taking phone interview after phone interview last spring got me a great internship last summer in which I gained a handful of friends and a myriad of priceless experiences. Just take chances, even when the thought of doing it makes you start to sweat and causes your stomach and throat to clamp up — it will take you places.
Netflix is a black hole
If there's anything we know, it's this sad (but true) fact about Netflix. It entices you with its huge array of options and before long, you'll have watched the entire first season of “Orange Is The New Black” and completely neglected your responsibilities.
Hey, coming from someone who's done it, sometimes it's really refreshing and just the break I need to get back on track. But other times, it's pretty detrimental to our workloads and general structure of our lives. It will most likely suck you in, so tread cautiously.
Read, write, read, write, repeat
It's so pertinent, especially for someone in my (hopeful) line of work of writing and editing. The only way you can expand what you know, make more informed decisions and have more informed opinions is by seeing what other people have to say and understanding what's happening in the world.
If we remain within the shell of what we find comfortable to read, write and talk about, we won't become — or create — much. I've been trying to read more longform writing that's well reported about subjects I really don't know a lot. Staying informed is crucial to growth, as is practicing putting what you know into words.
Being challenged is important for happiness
Some people think that we, as Millennials, like loafing around, texting and tweeting. While many people enjoy this to some degree, we all go stir crazy if we're assigned a task that isn't challenging. The reason that many of us end up doing the aforementioned activities is because we aren't being challenged enough. When we aren't challenged, we become complacent and sink into an abyss of boredom and sadness.
The other day, my sister told me that she's so happy that she has her job, but that she's just tired of the routine. There is very little intrigue or surprise, which leaves her wanting more. We aren't just a lazy generation — we just turn to entertainment when we aren't challenged enough. No one likes staying stagnant: challenge = happiness.
Being alone doesn't mean being lonely
As Lena Dunham said in her recent controversial Vogue feature, “To me, privacy isn't necessarily equatable with secret-keeping. What's private is my relationship with myself.” We're such a social generation that being alone and taking the time to be by yourself is pertinent to finding out who you really are. As clichéd as it may sound, you can be in the room with 100 people and still be incredibly lonely.
Back to my “quality is crucial” point, having a few friends whom you see often can be way more rewarding than a ton who make you feel like sh*t and don't appreciate you. If you want to be alone, your true friends will understand that and if you really want to love and understand yourself, hopefully you'll realize that being alone is necessary.
Use technology to your advantage
So, people accuse our generation of being mindlessly glued to our computers. But guess what, we grew up with them, so we know how to use them, like, really well. Why blame me for remaining perched behind my computer screen while I write? People accuse our generation of losing the ability to make eye contact and actually engage in conversations… this is blasphemous.
We still do it, but we grew up with other ways of communicating, too. Why revert to some of the now archaic ways of socializing all the time when we have so much more at our fingertips? Yes, we text. Yes, we send emails. And yes, we pick up the phone. Believe it or not, we have tons of face-to-face conversations, with real eye contact and audible speech. We know how to communicate on so many levels in different manners via different platforms. Stop saying we've lost touch with how to communicate.
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