September Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

 

Jenn GrannemanHey everyone,

Have you ever wondered what makes someone an introvert? Last month, I got to talk with Colin DeYoung, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota who recently published a paper on introversion. When I asked him this question, he told me that introversion boils down to how someone responds to rewards.

Rewards are things like money, sex, social status, social affiliation, and even food. When you get promoted at work or convince an attractive stranger to give you his or her phone number, you’re gaining a reward.


Of course, introverts care about things like earning money and having relationships, too. But researchers hypothesize that introverts respond differently than extroverts to rewards. Compared to extroverts, we’re less energized by the possibilities for rewards around us. This has to do with a chemical in our brain called dopamine. Because of this, we talk less, are less driven, and experience less enthusiasm. In fact, we may find levels of stimulation that are energizing for extroverts to be tiring or annoying. For example, a noisy party ripe with possibilities for social rewards might be perfect for an extrovert. But for an introvert, this level of stimulation is just too much.

If you want to learn more about the science behind introversion, check out this article I recently wrote. And stay tuned, because I’ll dive more into the science of introversion in my upcoming book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. My book comes out next spring.

Big Changes for Me

For 8 years, I taught elementary and middle school. So, this time of year, I’m usually frantically getting ready for the first days of school. But this year I took a big leap—I quit teaching to work on Introvert, Dear full-time!

It was about time. Introvert, Dear is growing fast. I figured it deserved my full time and attention.

It’s a little weird to not be back in my classroom. There are things I’ll miss—meeting students for the first time, and silly things, like getting new school supplies. But for years, ever since I learned I’m an introvert and started Introvert, Dear, my mission has been to let introverts know it’s okay to be who they are. Now I get to do that, every day. It’s a dream come true!

How to Support Me and Introvert, Dear

I’m now learning to live with less and dealing with things like getting health insurance as a self-employed person (despite all the legislation that was recently passed in the U.S., it’s still ridiculously expensive in my state! Ugg!). I’m also trying to grow Introvert, Dear by publishing more articles and reaching more introverts. Now more than ever, I need your help. If Introvert, Dear has helped you in some way, would you consider supporting me in one of these ways?

  • Donate to Introvert, Dear by becoming a patron. I recently revamped the pledge levels and rewards. If every person reading this gave as little as $1 a month, Introvert, Dear would be unstoppable!
  • Whenever you shop on Amazon, use this link: http://amzn.to/2aN0jsR (it takes you to the Amazon home page). A small portion of your purchase goes to Introvert, Dear. You can bookmark this link to return to it easily.
  • When you read an Introvert, Dear article that resonates with you, share it on social media. Sharing helps Introvert, Dear grow!

One last thing. I recently decided to turn my Facebook profile into (somewhat) of a fan page. If you want to learn more about me (and see the occasional cat picture as well as my rants), feel free to friend me.

If you’re in the U.S., I hope you’re having a relaxing Labor Day. Make sure to slip away from the family cookout for a bit and take some time for yourself today.

Quietly yours,

Jenn's signature

 

 

Jenn Granneman, creator/editor of Introvert, Dear


9 Comments

  • Paula says:

    Congratulations on your big change! I made that leap for myself 16 years ago, and still no regrets. You may find anxiety to be a little harder to keep under control, though, but mindfulness type exercises do wonders. And if I may put my two-cents worth in regarding the assumptions of the researcher? I disagree, heartily, that, “we talk less, are less driven, and experience less enthusiasm.” Well, maybe the talk less part is valid for most introverts, although I happen to be a chatty introvert 🙂

    • Jenn Granneman says:

      Thanks Paula! I wholeheartedly agree about the anxiety. I have certainly found myself having plenty of anxious thoughts like “What if I don’t make enough money?!” or “What if something suddenly changes and everything falls apart?!” I am just trying to trust. About the researcher–it certainly sounds like you don’t fit what he’s saying! No two introverts are alike. Take care. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    I’m just so happy that I am not alone!! I tried hitting the link to “friend” you, but it said the page was unavailable..I’m very excited about your book! Your words have helped me understand myself so much, so I thank you for that! Also, I love cats!!

  • Chris Knoblaugh says:

    Congratulations! I teach middle school, so I appreciate the degree of change involved in switching to writing. I am that rare beast, the INTJ female, so I would love it if you did a piece on us. Best wishes!

  • Milca says:

    As an introvert, how did you make it as a teacher? I am having an internal struggle because of so many things. Especially that I’m not good enough and not doing a memorable job. Please, I need all the hints I can get to succeed as a teacher.

    • Jenn Granneman says:

      Hi Milca, what grade do you teach? First let me say that teaching is hard, whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. There are so many things to do in a day, and you never feel like you’ve done enough (at least that’s how I felt). I strongly believe that we need to rethink our educational system, because it’s not working well for anyone (teachers or students). Anyway, to get off my soap box, one thing I did as a teacher was to take quiet breaks throughout the day. Door closed, no one in my room. This helped me recharge so I had more energy to give to the students. I also tried (as much as possible) to just be myself. Meaning, I didn’t try to put on an extroverted show or copy other teachers. This is tough, because I felt a lot of pressure as a teacher to be bubbly, friendly, and overly enthusiastic. It took a while for me to find a natural, understated, but slightly sarcastic persona that worked for me. I hope this helps. Good luck!

  • Lori says:

    Congratulations on your career change, and I appreciate your articles every single day. I happen to consider a career change myself, from academics to elementary school teaching. So, like the commenter above, I would really love to know if and how you managed to feel fulfilled, rather than drained, as a teacher?

    • Jenn Granneman says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Lori! To answer your question honestly, at first I felt very fulfilled teaching elementary school. I loved developing relationships with my students and thinking of creative ways to teach things. However, after a few years, I started to burn out. I think that partially had to do with some difficult situations at my school, partially that I’m an introvert, and partially because I became very passionate about Introvert, Dear. I think introverts can make great teachers, but we have to take good care of ourselves and make our energy needs a priority.

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