Truth. Revelations. MP3s.


Fabeku here.

This is a guest post from the ultra fab Chris Anthony from The Delight Specialist.

Check it.

The truth

I’ll start this by revealing something that I don’t think I’ve said anywhere else before.

In fact, when most of my friends read this, they’ll laugh and say, “No, he’s not.” But it’s true. I only learned this in the last few months, but it really explains a lot about me.

Here we go:

I am an extrovert.

(This is where my friends are laughing out loud and saying, “No, he’s not.”)

When I was very young – before my sixth birthday – I was about as outgoing as kids get. I must have driven my mom nuts – I’d walk up to random strangers and start conversations, and when she’d recovered me and decided I was safe, I’d wait until her back was turned and then do it again.

I thrived on personal contact. I was a tiny, curly-haired networking machine.

Then my sixth summer came along and everything changed. I won’t get into the details here, but I learned to fear personal contact. The interaction I’d loved most in the world I now saw as poison, and it took tremendous effort just to work up the nerve to say hello to someone I already knew.

It’s been a quarter of a century and I’m only just now figuring out that this isn’t the way that I’m supposed to be. I’ve learned the fake introversion so well that it feels natural – but it’s not.

The clues have always been there, but I’ve only recently realized what they meant.

When I hang out with people I like – even online – I get giddy and my inhibitions lower. When I have a great conversation with someone I feel energized for hours. And being alone, and staying to myself – the habit I got into to protect myself – just leaves me more depressed.

And finally, I realized what was going on. And it was all thanks to one MP3.

The track that changed my life

About two years ago, I was fiddling around with GarageBand on my new MacBook (a birthday gift), and I realized that one of the sample sets available was nature sounds, including the sounds of rain, wind, and thunder.

On a whim, I put together a 15-minute MP3 of a thunderstorm, complete with blustering wind and thunderclaps every few dozen seconds.

I used it for a while as white noise – mostly while I was working in the coffeeshop, where I was easily distracted by nearby conversations (this should have been a clue, but I was firmly convinced I was an introvert) – and since the thunderstorm worked so well, I made a few other tracks.

One was forest noises, including a babbling brook, to complement the thunderstorm.

The other was low-level background chatter – like the rooba-rooba of a coffeeshop, but completely indistinct, so that there were no recognizable words to latch onto. (As I recall, I used clips of German speech so that it would sound like English but I wouldn’t be able to understand it.)

I used those tracks religiously for a while, but they slowly fell away from my attention. The work that I was doing at that time required more distraction than just a thunderstorm, and I’d forget about them when I did other things.

Eventually they just faded from my attention altogether.

Then, about a month ago, I found the trio of MP3s while I was salvaging a hard drive from a dead computer. I started playing the coffeeshop conversation track for nostalgia’s sake while I did the rest of my salvage, and I found myself smiling for no real reason while I listened to it.

When I noticed, I started paying attention – being present in the moment and in the sound around me – and I realized that it was the sound of the coffeeshop that was making me smile.

I started wondering. What about the coffeeshop track made me smile? The other two tracks were comforting in a white-noise, sounds-of-nature way, but the coffeeshop spoke to me.

The revelation

I realized that the consulting I’d been doing had been what made me happiest – the connection with other people.

I realized that when I worked at the coffeeshop, I got more done and was happier at the end of the day.

I realized that physical contact and connection – which I’d not only avoided but actively feared since I was ten or eleven – really gave me an emotional boost.

All of this took me a few weeks to digest.

Finally, I asked on Twitter, a few days ago – “can extroversion and introversion be learned, or are you born extroverted/introverted?”

Even as I asked, I knew my answer. But most of the responses agreed with me – “you’re born one, but you can learn to fake the other.”

And it finally struck me. It’s the human contact that energizes me. I feel happiest when I’m making good connections.

If I stop letting my fear and nervousness overwhelm me, I’m gregarious and charming – just like I was when I was five years old. All of this introversion – all of the inward-facing attempts to be alone to regenerate – just left me more stressed out and depressed.

I’m an extrovert. I’ve just learned to fake introversion so well that I’ve fooled even myself.

Now I have a goal to work toward – get past the fear and nervousness, and climb into my own skin again. I can genuinely feel hopeful about my future, because I want to get back to where I’m supposed to be.

All thanks to an MP3.

Me (Fabeku) again.

I dig Chris muches. I mean, he is a Delight Specialist.

Best. Job Title. Ever.

He basically helps you to turn up the awesome in your business. Which makes it way easier for your right people to fall madly in love with you.

Chris lives with his wife, his son and tons o’ animals. And he wants to write music for aquariums and planetariums. (See. I told you he was fabulous.)

Chris is also teaching Delightineering 101. Which is him sharing his smartness and teaching you the how and the why behind delight. So you can learn how to rock the awesome for yourself, your business and your life.

This shindig starts on September 13th. And today is the last day to snag a seat at the early bird price.

So take a peek.

p.s. None of these links are affiliate links. I’m not pimping this stuff because I’m making money off of it. I’m pimping it because it’s the awesome. And because the world needs what Chris is doing.

Dig this?

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15 Responses to Truth. Revelations. MP3s.
  1. Christine (Blisschick) Reed
    August 13, 2010 | 12:45 pm

    Awesome. It took me until I was 40 to realize my heavy introvert leanings, being raised in a frightening household where I was forced to be very extroverted to survive.

    On the Meyers Brigg scale, I am a ZERO. SO I love love love to teach yoga and dance but then need lots of recovery time. I SHINE in front of people and love the interaction but need super quiet to do other sorts of work and to explore my own movement.

    People don’t realize that THAT is what this is about — extrovert/introvert — it depends on what GIVES or TAKES your energy.

    Excellent post! AND LOVE your job title!!!
    .-= Christine (Blisschick) Reed´s last blog ..This Pain in My Ass that is Chronic Fear &amp Anxiety =-.

  2. El Edwards
    August 13, 2010 | 1:18 pm

    I am soooo excited for you Chris. So I know the scary stuff is to come but wowzers! This is a big deal.

    (Sorry, hi Fabeku. 🙂 Great looking place you have here. Didn’t mean to get all gushy and silly but this feels like a massive deal for Chris.)

    Wonderful, heart warming story and I can’t wait to hear how it continues from here.

    El x
    .-= El Edwards´s last blog ..An open letter to a teenage me =-.

  3. Kathleen Jaffe
    August 13, 2010 | 1:21 pm

    Yay, Chris! I’m so glad you got this finished and posted: it was well worth the wait. Now, you rock on with your bad self! 🙂
    .-= Kathleen Jaffe´s last blog ..Survey says =-.

  4. Geanine
    August 13, 2010 | 1:44 pm

    Wow,Chris! I’m an introvert but people swear I’m an extrovert. LOL!

  5. Hannah
    August 13, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    Beautiful post, Chris! I’m naturally introverted but used to be severely so – it’s been both exciting and terrifying discovering my extroverted side over the last couple of years. Your enthusiasm for what you do and other people has shone through in your posts and the couple of emails we’ve exchanged, and I wish you all the best in consciously rediscovering that side of yourself. Yay realisations!

  6. Heidi
    August 13, 2010 | 3:07 pm

    Chris, this is a wonderful post! And it speaks to something I’ve been thinking about a LOT lately; the difference between introversion and extroversion, and what they actually mean vs. what most people THINK they mean.

    I am a raging introvert. When I tell people that, if they don’t know me REALLY well, they laugh at me. Because when I’m around people, I get really excited; I LOVE people, and I love interacting with them. I get bubbly and happy and we have a wonderful fabulous time.

    But when we’re done, I go home and I CRASH. Because being an introvert does NOT mean I don’t like being around people, or that I’m not comfortable with them. It simply means that being around people DRAINS my energy reserves.

    Just as an extrovert can be nervous around people, and yet still be FUELED by the interaction.

    It’s all about energy, and what fuels us vs what drains us. In a sense, it should really be considered more of a physical trait that a personality trait…

    I’m thrilled that you’ve rediscovered your inner extrovert! Just think how powerful that will be to tap into 🙂
    .-= Heidi´s last blog ..Six Tips for Recharging an Energy Slump =-.

  7. Patty K
    August 13, 2010 | 4:57 pm

    Oh. I love this post. Chris, thank you so much for sharing. And congratulations on discovering that you’re actually an extrovert. I imagine this will be life changing for you.

    I hear you only too well on the need to get past the fears. I’m working my way through social anxiety as well. I want to reassure you that it *does* get easier over time.
    .-= Patty K´s last blog ..Preparing for the dreaded networking event =-.

  8. Kelly Parkinson
    August 14, 2010 | 12:14 am

    This story is so beautiful and so sad. Since you spent so much time as an introvert, you’re probably bivertual by now. You can relate to everybody, which seems like a useful skill for a delightineer to have.
    .-= Kelly Parkinson´s last blog ..The low-flying hot dog =-.

  9. Tammy Vitale
    August 14, 2010 | 8:53 am

    You’ve taken the Myers’ Briggs? That’s a pretty good indicator! I’m an introvert – but I can go into extrovert for organizing and work and selling art easily because I’m really close to the median. And I rejuvenate alone (that’s the true indicator). Isn’t it lovely to have this little (or big) “ahas” that make us more at home in our skin?
    .-= Tammy Vitale´s last blog ..Tell Me a Story =-.

  10. Joely Black
    August 14, 2010 | 2:06 pm

    I read this a while ago and it’s taken me ages to get here to comment.

    I know exactly what you’ve been through. I thought I was introverted – everything you say is completely true. I think introversion is learned and can be unlearned.

    I feel like I’m on the same journey as you. My, it’s hard sometimes when the anxiety says I’m supposed to be small and hide. But then I just keep on going, and it is getting easier. And I am getting very, very extroverted.

    I wish the same for you, and much, much more!

  11. Elana
    August 16, 2010 | 1:39 pm

    Chris: Fabeku is right. You are the awesome. And I totally loved your post. I’m so happy that you reconnected with the extrovert that you are through sound. What an epiphany! That is so freeing and so wonderful. Thank you for sharing that experience with us.

    Fabeku: Have I told you lately that I love you? And, I don’t even know you! It’s amazing!

  12. Tori Deaux
    August 17, 2010 | 12:09 am

    I just re-read this for a second time. I came back to it, in part, because I had moment this weekend where I realized (again) just how influenced I am by what people around me are doing. It’s like I feed on their focus and get into the same groove, or.. something else I haven’t got words for.

    I have this whole odd extrovert/introvert conflicted personality thing going on, but that’s another story. Right now, I’m thinkin’ I’d really like to hear that coffee shop MP3!
    .-= Tori Deaux´s last blog ..Needful Things! The Yes-I’m-Still-Breathing Edition =-.

  13. Amber
    August 17, 2010 | 9:01 am

    Chris, I wasn’t planning to start thinking deeply until later on today, but your post got me going a bit early.

    I totally think that I’m an introvert unless you’re in my inner circle. If you’re on the inside, then I’m a total hilarious extrovert.

    I guess it also depends on who I’m around. If I walk into a room of cool entrepreneurs with funky cool businesses, I’m an extrovert. When I went to a free Chamber of Commerce meeting in June…not so much. I guess that makes sense – I come alive when I’m around people who are fun, interesting and inspiring.

    Note: The people at the Chamber meeting may have been all of those things, but just being at a Chamber meeting kind of squelches the oomph in a person. I get that. I just don’t like it.

  14. Chris Anthony
    August 17, 2010 | 3:20 pm

    Hey – thanks for your comments, everyone. I really appreciate all of your support 🙂

    This summer has been full of strange “aha!” moments – lots of realizations about myself that really change the way I operate. I’m glad I could share this one with you all.
    .-= Chris Anthony´s last blog ..The real me =-.

  15. Fabeku
    August 18, 2010 | 7:45 pm

    Hey peeps!

    Thanks for all of your faboo comments.

    @Chris – Thanks for such an awesome post. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to serve up the inaugural guest post. You’ve set the bar high dude. Big thanks.

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