You May Not Be As Extroverted As You Think

Jimmy Buffet sang, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

I am writing at about my usual time, except I’m on Pacific Daylight Time this week. It’s hot and dry in Las Vegas; and cold and dry inside the Sands Expo Center where I’m learning about high-performance computing, new wireless standards, and artificial intelligence.

Sometimes when I look at the world, I think there is more “artificial” intelligence than “real” intelligence. But I digress.

Yesterday, a few of us who are labeled by Hewlett Packard Enterprise as “Influencers” were chatting about other things and got into personality types.

For example, my Myers-Briggs profile suggests ENTP–extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceptive. But what you wouldn’t know that each of those types is at one end of a scale from 1 to 31. On the extrovert-introvert scale, my score is 16. So, more accurately, I am almost as introverted as extroverted. It really depends upon the situation I’m in.

I bet it’s the same for most of you. I have no idea of the statistics, but I’m willing to bet (after all, I’m in Las Vegas) that more people’s score lies in the middle than at each end.

What does this have to do with Spiritual Formation, you might ask.

It has to do with the ability to be quiet. Silent. No, you most likely cannot use the excuse that you are extroverted and therefore cannot achieve quiet. You probably are not as extroverted as you think. And it is no excuse, anyway.

This quote from Ignatius, an early church father, came in today’s reading, “It is better to be silent and be, than to talk and not be.… Those who possess the word of Jesus are truly able to hear even his very silence, that they may be perfect and may both act as they speak, and be recognized by their silence.

Both our actions and our silence should be recognized as reflecting Jesus essence–his very silence.

Do not search for excuses. Even a deep breath and long exhale can bring 30 seconds of pause and quiet into a busy day. Try it for 5 minutes; 10 minutes; or an hour. Better try silence the next heated political discussion you blunder into. It feels better later.

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