About Guitar Strings

Introverts avoid small talk because we know it is the white of conversation. There are no real nutrients in it, just empty calories.”
Michaela Chung

I turned 23 last week. As that “special day” was nearing, I started to reflect on certain things about myself: my views, my communication skills, my social life, my behaviour, and so on. The interesting aspect was that when everything else changed and improved with time, one thing stayed the same. It did not matter where I was, what I was doing or whom I was hanging out with. There had been a time when that personality trait used to bother me and I would force myself to behave in a different way in order not to appear any different from the rest. Being someone else allowed me to avoid particular questions from the other people present in the group, whether friends or family. According to many, this behaviour trait is perceived as shutting the world out.

When I feel the need to recharge my batteries, my reflex is often to just disconnect myself from everything around me. When I am surrounded by a large group of friends or acquaintances, my contribution to the conversation would be to just listen attentively without actually speaking. In other cases, I would even doze off in my own world and get lost in my own thought process. Back in high school and during the first two years of university, I was told that I was weird, like something was broken in my system. I later found out that these are some of the many traits indicating that a person is an introvert.

If you clicked on the link above, you would have seen that the definition of that word is firstly associated with shyness and social anxiety. For some people, this personality trait is even perceived sometimes as a mental illness or a disorder, due to the fact that it is commonly confused with avoidant personality disorder. This assumption can be understood from the perspective that humans are social animals, as we have been taught in sociology and philosophy classes. A bit like autism – though different – introvertism is a lens that allows you to look at the world in another way. A way that is often not quite understood by those people who are not in your shoes. And there is nothing wrong with that. From social interactions to regular habits and routines, the stimulation and energy often tends to come from within rather than from the outside world. Whether we are talking about books, podcasts or music, introverts tend to perceive and think about particular topics in a way that often does not require a long and elaborate conversation. One example would be the method of loci as it is elaborated in the BBC series Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Sherlock Holmes. In the series, Sherlock refers to it as his “mind palace”.

The similarity between introverts and Sherlock Holmes is quite interesting. Although it does not mean that all introverts are geniuses or great detectives, it just means that both tend to organise their thoughts very well in their mind in their own special way.  They manage to structure everything in such a way that nothing could ever be forgotten, easily retrieving that information every time. One of the negative aspects of this technique resides in the occasional incapacity to express those ideas and arguments in complete coherent (to others) sentences in a way that the average would often struggle to follow and/or understand. This is something I often do, which is why I require a strong amount of silence and space in order to come up with that structure and actually animate a constructive conversation. Therefore, such requirements result in the external perception of someone being quiet or uninterested in what is being discussed. Furthermore, this explains why introverts do not tire themselves with small talk, since they find such things to be very time and energy consuming.

“I am the one who loves to write, but hates to speak. I am the one who loves silence, but would die without music.”
Conny Cernik

It is a struggle for introverts to talk about what is truly taking place inside their heads. They, sometimes, cannot even fully comprehend what is going on, due to the several intertwining thoughts and processes. This is why writing, reading, and performing some music are the best ways for these people to figure out what they are truly feeling. Music for one is known to enhance reasoning skills, as it requires one to develop the skill of focusing on a number of  things at one time, according to a study conducted by the University of Sheffield in 1998. In a more general sense, the three forms of art listed above allow introverts not only to escape the world and all the noise in it, but they also help them know that they are not the only ones who feel that particular way. More often than not, I would use a song in order to tell someone what I would be thinking or how I would be feeling, because the lyrics, the beat, and the melody would have grasped every single inch of my thoughts and can relay them in a way I couldn’t possibly. Unfortunately, not all people perceive music the same way, which results in music tastes being misunderstood. A person I know once pointed out to me that I would always listen to sad songs, which is correct. The truth is: I relate to them. It does not mean that I am constantly sad or anything; it just means that sad songs are a reminder to me that I am not alone in whatever I am feeling since the artist felt it too when they wrote that song. My view on music is that it is a gate to see that we are all human, that we all struggle with similar issues, and that there is nothing wrong in our system for behaving or thinking that way.

Music and writing have always been my escape from the world. My sources of energy. I do not talk much, but I sure compensate with my writing, and believe me when I tell you that the words I type will always be clearer than the words I say. I do not talk much, but I do listen and observe a lot; it is a trick I learned from Simon Sinek who states that we should learn to “always be the last one to speak in a meeting”. It was then confirmed with Dick Cheney’s view that “the person who does not speak at all in a meeting is the person with the most power in hand, as he never shows his hand”.

As a conclusion, I am an introvert.

I like to be alone. It does not bother me.
I like being quiet and being in a quiet environment. I prefer to observe and understand.
I like to go out and explore things – often on my own.
I love to travel the world but wear headphones in order to create my own experience.
I don’t mind external stimulation from the world, as long as I am given the privacy to properly digest it.
I always have several ideas on my mind, but rarely talk about them. When I do, it is through the articles you read every week or the songs I play on the guitar.

I used to feel bad, like there was something wrong with me for being this way. That is no longer the case. Being an introvert is the best personality trait I carry. I might be misunderstood at times, but this does not stop me from analysing and seeing things in a different way, in a more human way I would say.

“He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.”
Lao Tzu

4 thoughts on “About Guitar Strings

  1. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will make the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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  3. Excellent article. I’m facing a few of these issues as well..

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