The Extroverted Introvert

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For many years, I struggled to understand my persona. Sometimes, I am the life of the party -loud and easily strike a connection with others regardless of age, sex and/or social status whilst the other times, I am in my own shell – quiet, reserved and dull. Initially, I thought it was an ego problem – too much pride or lack of confidence. I have had people describe me as condescending, obnoxious, snub, proud, weak, naïve and/or unhappy so it is easy to see why that train of thought engulfed me.

I do enjoy conversing with people because I was made to understand, at a young age, that social interaction is the basis of human nature. However, I also like to detach myself from the picture once in a while and analyze what I see. This often makes me see what I do not want to see – things that people don’t say -via the look in their eyes, body language and/or their tone of voice.

I have accepted that this is the way I am…outgoing yet withdrawn hence it is safe to say that I am an extroverted introvert. People often say it is impossible for one to sit on the fence in matters; you are either here or there but I am comfortably seated on the fence here. And there are many people out there just like me. Unexpectedly, we are often misconstrued.

Not to worry, I am here to rid you of such confusion by giving you an insight into the life of an extroverted introvert.

1. If we like you, we really like you. There’s hardly an in-between because we are so picky with who we spend our energy and time on. This doesn’t mean that we are full of ourselves or condescending. Nah! we just don’t see the need of being with someone we don’t like.

2. For what it is worth, we have a lot of things to talk about but we are not sure if those things will interest you. We can spend time listening to you talk because we are keen to learn about you. And we know most people like the sound of their voices.

3.  Just because we like our own space doesn’t mean that we don’t get lonely. We like being out there, around people, even if they are strangers as far as we can still keep to ourselves because sometimes we just don’t want to talk. We prefer to live in our heads and observe every little detail.

4. We are not advocates of small talks but if small talk is your forte, we will gladly oblige. We prefer to understand what makes you, you – how you think, what you think about, what scares/motivates you, what your family is like etc. We like to know if you have eaten too.

5. We prefer to have a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation than in a group because this is more intimate and gives us the chance to listen to you talk. As a result, we find it easy to adapt to any situation and get along with people from all walks of life. However, maintaining those friendships or getting closer to people is another thing altogether.

6. Because we genuinely try to get to know people on another level, we are often misconstrued as flirty and provocative. Maybe we are.

7. Because we are self-aware – outgoing yet calculated -people tend to see us as leaders. We are not afraid to take the bold step, make hard decisions or stand up to talk in front of others. Funnily, we rarely see ourselves this way and prefer to take the back seat because we don’t think we are great like that.

8. It is a constant struggle to control the introverted version of ourselves. We are fully aware when that spirit (of withdrawing into our own minds) is trying to overtake us, especially in groups and big crowds, but we can’t put up resistance against it.

9. We don’t have a particular group of friends. We pick them from different social groups and bring them all together. Sometimes, it is an awkward situation for them all. You poor things.

10. We want to be noticed and recognized for our efforts and at the same, prefer to stay anonymous. I know it sounds conflicting but that’s the way it is with us. Our fun/crazy side comes out more when we aren’t the center of attention.

So it is likely you have people like these around you. They are often versatile in every aspect of life so try and understand them. And if you think the crown fits, please wear it with pride.

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Choices & Consequences

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As human beings, we are given the mantle to decipher and choose between good and evil. Everyday, we try to sense what’s right and what’s wrong and make a choice between the two.

Making a choice is one of the most difficult tasks we face. For instance, imagine you are trying to decide whether to marry that man or woman, decide whether to resign from your current job and further your education abroad or continue with the job, choose between two careers/jobs, these choices can be very hard to make.

Even if one chooses to seek the advice of a friend/loved one or ally, in the end it is up to YOU to make the final decision. Life choices are hard to make because of the uncertainty that accompanies them.

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We try to evaluate the options available to us before making a decision. We make choices based on the information at our disposal at that particular time. Life choices are like investments; one tries not to make a risky investment based on opinions but a smart one based on facts & opinions.

Choice and consequences are the central concepts affecting decision making. To every action, there is equal and opposite reaction. Every choice we make in life, whether good or bad, right or wrong, wise or foolish carries maximum consequences.

Our choices have a huge impact on our lives; they can either make or mar us. Our choices determine who and what we are in life whether in the short or long run. We are forced to live with the consequences of our choices.

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However, accepting consequences of our actions can be a bitter pill to swallow for some. Rather than blame themselves, many prefer to blame others for their woes after all it is much easier to do so. Taking responsibility of the consequences of our choices says a lot about one’s character.

We all make choices but in the end, our choices make or mar us. No one is immune to the consequences of his/her actions.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your views on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.

Game of Thrones: Lessons

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As the season 5 of the popular TV show, Game of Thrones (GOT) comes to an end, let’s look at the possible lessons we have learnt so far.

1. GOT has completely changed how we view Mondays. New episodes are often released every Monday hence making the often dreaded Monday a day to look forward to. Thanks to GOT, “Oh God! I hate Mondays” is now “Thank God it’s Monday.”

2. Wisdom is better than strength.
“Wisdom oft comes from the mouth of babes”

Tyrion “dwarf” Lannister had little or nothing to match Stannis Baratheon’s army during the latter’s invasion of King’s Landing but he had a good head on his shoulders and a chemical that could kill thousands. With combination of these, he was able to defeat Stannis.

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3. Family is everything.
“Whatever you may believe of me, Lady Stark, I promise you this – I never bet against my family.” – Tyrion Lannister
“It is the family name that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honour..but family” -Tywin Lannister

GOT depicts how powerful (the names of) families can be. The Lannisters, Starks, Tyrells, Martells, Targaryerens, Boltons all fought to protect their families and married each other to form an alliance and strengthen their authority over the 7 Kingdoms.

4. Think before you make a promise.
“A Lannister always pays his debts” – Tyrion Lannister

A promise is like a bond; don’t take it lightly. One of the quickest ways to lose respect and power is to make promises you can’t keep. Going back on your promise can result in unexpected situations. Walder Frey never forgave Rob Stark for not honouring his promise and slaughtered him, mother, wife and unborn child at the Red Wedding.

5. Knowledge is power.
“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge” – Tyrion Lannister
“Knowledge is a weapon, Jon. Arm yourself well before you ride forth to battle.” -Maester Aemon to Jon Snow

Lord Varys and Tyrion knew their weaknesses and focused on acquiring knowledge. In this information age, knowledge is everything. We are lucky to have abundance of information at our disposal, thanks to Internet. Knowledge, wisdom and a broad perspective are just some of the things one can gain from reading. These help one see to the world more objectively.

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6. Learn from your experience.
“A bruise is a lesson…and each lesson makes us better” – Arya Stark

Everyday we experience things that change us. Bad experiences, whether mental, physical or emotional, teach us more. The scars definitely hurt but don’t dwell on them rather focus on the lessons.

7. Winter is always coming and usually defines your character.
“Chaos isn’t a pit, chaos is a ladder. Many try to climb, fail and never try again. The fall breaks them.” – Lord Baelish
“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?” Brann Stark asked; the father Ned replied “That is the only time a man can be brave.”

Everybody maintains his composure when the going is good but it takes a person of character to rise above obstacles against all odds. There’s always some form of evil lurking in the dark. Tough times reveal the true strength of every individual; effective leaders keep their heads up and never give up. Pray for the best but prepare for the worst.

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8. Never appear desperate.
“A true man does what he will, not what he must.” – Cersei Lannister

You make yourself an easy prey when you appear desperate. Stannis was desperate to take control of the 7 kingdoms and sought the help of God of light (religion). He ended up killing his brother, Renly and burning his only daughter. The wife committed suicide afterwards. Lest I forget, Stannis still didn’t get the Iron Throne.

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9. Friendzone sucks.
This is just to reiterate what we already know, getting stuck in the friendzone fucks you up big time. Just ask Ser Jorah.

10. Life is not a straight-line graph.
“Every man must die Jon Snow. But first he must live.” – Ygrette

GOT, unlike other fairytales, seem more realistic because in reality you can’t predict what life will serve you the next minute. Life is unfair and full of twists & turns; bad things happen to good people all the time. The only thing certain in this life of uncertainty is that all men must die. VALAR MORGHULIS 

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11. Be modest; let others praise you.
“Any man who must say I am king is no true king” – Tywin Lannister

There are five things that can make one arrogant: fame, beauty, affluence, intelligence, and talent. If you possess any of these, it is important to maintain a cool head and let others praise you.

12. First impressions are often shallow and wrong
“When Jon Arry named you master of coins no one cared. Always been a grumby job, why not let a grumby man do it.”

Sometimes what we hate end up being the best things that ever happened to us. Many hated the title, “Master of Coins” but Lord Baelish yielded more power as master of coins than he/others expected and ensured Joffrey assumed the throne.
The best love story in GOT remains the one between Khal Drogo and Khalessi however many forget the beautiful story started with a forced marriage and rape.

13. Everybody wants you to do well but not better than them.
Listen to this convo between Lord Baelish and Lord Varys.
Lord Baelish: “It is flattering really..you feeling such dread at the prospect of me getting what I want.”
Lord Varys: “Thwarting you has never been my primary ambition, I promise you. Although who doesn’t like to see their friend fail now and then.”
Need I say more? Ok! Maybe one more.
“It is not those foes who curse you to your face that you must fear, but those who smile when you are looking and sharpen their knives when you turn your back.” – Melisandre

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14. Power intoxicates like wine.
“Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.” – Lord Varys

Power is something everybody yearns for however being power-drunk, like Joffrey, or lust for power, like Cersei, are recipes for disaster and discontentment respectively.

15. Self-belief/self-pride, not self-obsession, is required for success.
“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armour and it can never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion to Jon Snow

If you do not believe in yourself, how do you expect others to do? Never underestimate yourself. Our minds and brains are like transmitters, people pick up what you transmit. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and work hard to develop/magnify the former and diminsh the latter. Despite the famous saying, “you know nothing Jon Snow” he grew to be the leader of the Night’s Watch.

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16. Love is powerful.
“The thing we love destroy us everytime lad. Remember that.” – Jeor Mormont to Jon Snow
“Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.” – Cersei Lannister

Everybody longs to love and be loved. Love makes everything beautiful and gives humans drive and purpose. Virtually every character in the show is driven by love. Khal Drogo lost his life and power cos of his love for his wife and never born child. Theon Greyjoy’s infamous love for the female genitalia was his undoing.

17. Listen to elderly people, they know the short-cut to life.
If Brandon Stark had listened to the mother, he wouldn’t have been thrown off a cliff by Jaime, which led to his father,Ned, travelling to King’s Landing to seek justice and ended up losing his leg and subsequently his head.

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18. Everybody wants something; don’t be afraid to take a risk.
“Everybody wants something and when you know what a man wants, you know who he is and how to move him.” – Lord Baelish

Give and it shall be given to you. One must be willing to give in order to take. You don’t always receive when you ask; people aren’t God but you increase your chances when you offer help to others.
Cersei and Tywin Lannister wanted Tyrion to pay for Joffrey’s death at all costs, Tyrion took a huge risk and demanded trial by combat even when all odds were against him. Take risks, you might surprise everyone including yourself.

19. Don’t get too attached; learn to let go.
Humans often grow intemperate likeness for people and things, including TV shows. GOT teaches one that all good things come to an end. Do not, I repeat, do not get attached to a character in GOT lest he/she may end up dead.

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20. If a woman asks you if she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Just say Yes, your life might depend on it. Never trust anyone especially someone who loves your partner; just look at Ned Stark and Lord Baelish. Your child may end up like Joffrey, a king, if you decide to give him everything. No woman born of a woman is immune to flattery; flatter that lady today. The street is military and only the strong survive; all hail Lords Baelish and Varys. Never believe anything anyone says before a but...”you know my brother once told me nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts” – Benjen Stark to Tyrion on the wall.

What have you learnt from the series that I omitted? Please do tell.