Chapter 4 of “Quiet Influence; The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference” by Jennifer Kahnweiler is about the introvert strength of Taking Quiet Time. The chapter ends with a warning of overuse of Quiet Time.
Say it isn’t so! We can have too much Quiet Time? Of course we can. Kahnweiler says that too much of it can become a weakness, and I have to admit that it’s probably my worst weakness. I can retreat so far and close myself off so much that it can be… what’s right word? Destructive? A little too harsh, but it’s mildly true. So I’m going to pay close attention to her warning.
As in the other blogs, words in italics are my comments.
Overuse of Quiet Time
Life is about balance. If you take too much quiet time you can end up with “ideas that languish, lack of motivation, lost perspective, and lost opportunities.”
Ideas that Languish: Quiet Time is creative time. Spending too much time alone can generate too many ideas, and deplete your will to act on any of them. It’s a form of “creative paralysis”.
For me, too much time inside my own head leads to being overwhelmed by my own ideas. Kahnweiler calls it “creative paralysis”, others call it “paralysis by analysis”. Either way, I’m prone to it. The worst part of it is that it usually happens without my conscious awareness. I’ve had to devise a litmus test and live by it: I journal every day. When I stop writing, or just leave brief notes instead of the 500+ words I normally do every morning, then I know I’m in trouble.
Lack of Motivation: Kahnweiler says we need time to recharge, but when we go beyond that, we get mired down. That can lead to isolation and depression.
I’ve been through this one, too. I work from home, which is usually a huge plus. I’m more productive and responsive. But if the work gets too mundane, too boring, I detach from work mode mentally. I can’t detach completely because I do like getting that paycheck, but boredom is the worst kind of mental pain. When I have too much time to myself during the day, I get lethargic and lose my motivation.
Lost Perspective: Staying inside your head too much can lead you to second guessing yourself.
This does happen to me, but not nearly as often as the other weaknesses. It’s easier for me to recognize in myself, too. That’s when I start to go back to the basics, remind myself of what is important to me, simplify things, take a deep breath and start moving forward again.
Lost Opportunities: When we stay in our quiet place too long, people begin to think that we are snobbish, aloof or angry. “Out of sight, out of mind” applies to opportunities on the job as well as in our personal lives. If we don’t come out for air from time to time or stop to smile at people, they begin to reflexively cut us out of discussions, activities, and consideration for assignments and promotions.
I can’t say I’ve had this weakness, but I can see how it could happen. My biggest challenge is in asking for things I want, but I’m learning to do that now.
Next blog: Chapter 5 – Quiet Influence Strength #2 – Preparation.
Hi. I’m Chris. I’m an introvert. All of my postings tend to reflect my introvert world in some way or another. Join me and like minded introverts for a special slant on the world.