Now that I’m taking these Anthropology classes – especially the one on Cultural Anthropology – I stop daily to consider and view the world in a more observant and broader way. Reflecting upon and pondering the contrast between my current life environment and the cultural setting and climate of my youth – where many behavior patterns seem to have been established – also permeates each day.
Based on what I’m learning, many anthropologists travel to distant lands – often to the ends of the earth – to research and learn more about indigenous tribes – their cultures, patterns, life styles…and much more. As I sit in class and listen, that nagging question confronts and fills my head (and heart) – WHY TRAVEL SO FAR AWAY when the ability to learn about unique (and maybe even endangered) species, society, and culture is literally right outside your back door?
Truth be told…I’m a Jersey girl. Yep, that’s the state that also claims the now famous Chris Christie as their “proud son” (up until the recent bridge fiasco, anyway). Good, bad or indifferent, the culture, life style and way of life in that part of the country is definitely “unique” – and at times very different from the environment I now find myself in (and within other places in the world – even within the United States).
Take my New Jersey family for example. Both parents were first generation children of immigrants – one from Poland; the other from Ireland/Germany. Large families in those cultures seem to have been the norm as was clearly demonstrated by the many siblings of both my parents – Mom with 5, Dad with 17 (yep…grandma was a very busy woman who gifted the world with several sets of twins). To admit that venturing beyond my home – where our own self-established community existed – to learn about familial or community patterns and behaviors seemed not only unnecessary, but irrelevant. Besides a broad and diverse array of aunts, uncles, and cousins, our own four-member nucleus occupied a house that seemed to be “on the way” to and from everywhere as loved one journeyed to their final destinations. Our house also sat on a large plot of land – with a backyard the size of half a basketball court.
To state that “Our House” was somewhat of a Mecca – or gathering hub – would truly understate its magnetic force. Family members – which included an endless array of unique and intriguing characters – populated (or should I say infiltrated) my early years – flitting in and out each day, night, and weekend. You can well imagine my disappointment when I first heard and learned the meaning of “impromptu.” This 9-letter word did not mean and was likely not intended to define a way of life or a family’s lifestyle. Events such as the good old-fashioned barbecue or picnic were consistently laced with competitive volleyball and badminton tournaments, chicken fights in the swimming pool (which somehow grew larger each year), and many other sporting and social, culture-driven “family” activities and events.
Survival in this type of setting required that one actively participate and make their voice heard. Speaking-up – actually “bragging” (or as now to an adult is tactfully referred to as “speaking points”) was a natural and supportive way of functioning. One would dig deep to unfold and reveal each unique or special trait one had or could muster up (even embellish, as appropriate). My litany included: perennial spelling bee winner, essay contest award recipient, reigning horseshoe tossing inductee, and even queen of swimming pool chicken fights (despite a dislocated shoulder). These and so much more created the foundation for my life.
When time arrived for me to consider a career (and land a job), the science of Marketing (and the art of Business) felt innate and naturally “right.” So, as Susan Cain accurately (and profoundly) shares in her video (below) my “cultural history or cultural inheritance” was guiding me (maybe even dictating) where I’d be heading. As she also shares “Western societies (particularly U.S.) have always favored the man of action over the man of contemplation.” At the time, my destiny seemed imbedded. Until that fate-filled day, anyway. As I sat in that large conference room – in the midst of numerous “power players” – my focus slowly dismantled as my thoughts began to drift. These all-consuming thoughts filled my being as I wandered way beyond what might have been the purpose of the meeting. I could hear that little voice within whispering: Is this really who you are? Is this a place where you can be truly free to be yourself? Or was I just in the throes of manifesting the person my family wanted me to be or that my early surroundings had instilled within me? Resignation and a long journey to a secluded island (see: http://spiritsleaves.wordpress.com/) was ultimately my only cure. This inevitable path helped sort out many of these issues…and placed me where I find myself today.
Today, one of my greatest joys is that my current business – The Write Resources, LLC™ – allows me to tap into and be the best of who I am – an “extroverted introvert” (or might that be an “introverted extrovert”?). That definitely sounds a little confusing – maybe even a bit psychotic, right? Not so! I’ve learned (and recently discovered) that many folks actually function within both spheres – even on a spectrum between the two. So, I wondered why would it be necessary for me – of any of us for that matter – to choose or claim one style over another or blend the two words together as I’ve done to make it even more confounding than the feelings within. Isn’t it possible that a place – maybe even several places (a range of sorts) – in-between might exist that allows many of us to move within or between? As I explored this possibility – searching and researching – I discovered that not only was it possible to behave in-between…but, amazing companions sat right beside me – and functioned quite well – along the path of this in-between space. I can now proudly share that I finally feel quite comfortable being termed an AMBIVERT. It has also become much easier for me to operate at any place on the spectrum or at either end when the need arises or demands…
Noun: A person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.
According to research shared by Daniel Kao (which is also extensively available online)…
- Ambiverts love spending time with people, but get tired after spending too much time around people.
- Ambiverts are also very capable of doing things alone, but spending an entire day alone can suck them into a depressed, unproductive mood.
- Ambiverts love interacting with people, but in a very purposeful way.
- Ambiverts can have extremely animated and interactive conversations or mellow and meditative ones.
- Ambiverts will defend both their personal time as well as their social time.
- Ambiverts function best when they can process information both internally and externally.
- Ambiverts need time and space to process things on their own; but they also need people who they can trust to process things with externally. In order for ambiverts to fully process information, they usually need both.
- Ambiverts seek breadth of knowledge and influence, but dive deep when they are truly passionate.
- Ambiverts can be thought or action oriented, depending on the situation, but they are also oftentimes both.
Take a look…see if you might also be an Ambivert… or where else you might possibly fall on the spectrum…
After my own experience of evolving, morphing, and re-identifying, I can unequivocally confirm Susan Cain’s comment when she encourages each of us to: “Put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that’s best for us.”
Crafted, researched and written by: |LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2014 EM Carlock