I was driving my wife downtown to help her set up a booth at an event she was doing for her company.  She turned to me and let me know she was glad I was driving.  She said that she had not been downtown much and did not know her way around. I on the other hand knew where we were going and had driven her to set up for the same event earlier in the year.  I was feeling relieved, since I had helped her with this event before, I knew where we going and how the day was going to play out.  However, I still remember being nervous the first time I helped her with the booth when everything was unknown.

My wife and I are both introverts.  Are introverts more uncomfortable with the unfamiliar, whether it be people or situations?  I know that I am.  Of course, introverts and extroverts each spend time in the inner and outer world of experience, but as an introvert I naturally spend more time in the inner world.  So I believe if I’m doing something like driving to an unfamiliar area I am going to be nervous or uncomfortable because I have to focus on the external world more than I usually do.  I have been driving on the same freeway for years, but I still occasionally notice new things that I haven’t seen before because I am often naturally deep in thought.

So what does this mean in the context of being strong?  First of all, understanding yourself and how you operate is essential.  What is at the heart of your nervousness?  I think this could be applied to many situations, not just driving. But in the driving example above, is there a way you can familiarize yourself with where you are going ahead of time?  Personally, I love using the navigation on my phone. I like to look at the navigation map before leaving so I have a general idea of what to expect, and then, of course, I’ll have it on during the drive as well. (What did introverts do before this technology?) Sometimes I even use the navigation on my phone in familiar places so it reminds me when to turn if I do go deep in thought (trust me, I’m still paying attention to traffic, but I have been known to drive right past an exit or two).  I have learned to accept a little nervousness and know that it will get better.  I also know it okay to ask people questions from time to time, yes, even for directions.  Everyone needs a little help sometimes.  If it is important to be on time, I leave early to allow plenty of time for any trouble I may have.

Understanding yourself and your introversion is the key to getting what you want out of life.  New events or people can be uncomfortable, but you can ease some of your stress with good preparation and a better understanding of the cause of your discomfort.  Your preparation may not perfectly prepare you, so accept that things may not be perfect and that it is OK to adjust your plans.  Also remember to keep your thoughts positive, as no one is perfect. With a little planning, you can successfully navigate that unfamiliar territory.

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