Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thresholds for outside stimulation : Outside interactions

I’ve started Susan Cain’s Quiet, and I love her definition of introversion, as it fit me pretty well (p. 11)
“Introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well. Introverts feel “just right” with less stimulation” .

As I stated in my introduction, my daily job as a Lean Six Sigma BlackBelt drives me to mathematically verify my assumptions. So when I read this definition, my first reflex is to try and measure the level of stimulation that feel just right, first for me, then for others introverts and extroverts.

To be able to do that, I need to record stimulations in such a way to be able to perform a regression later on. That means recording not only how many stimulations I receive daily, but also their type, who they come from, by what means and how they make me feel. I’ve learn the hard way that it’s better to collect too much data when starting an analysis that to try to get them later on. As I need to perform statistical analysis on this data, I need to score each of these parameters.

Let’s start with the easier of all: the “who”.

The closest person to me is my husband. We have been living together for a few years now and found a way to make it work, despite our differences. See, he is a true extrovert who runs his own IT business. A good work day for him is seeing as many of his favorite customers as possible. A bad day would be spent alone at home working on customers’ systems. Generally speaking, of all of the people I know, he is the one who is the most effortless to interact with.

Then there are my family and close friends. We obviously don’t live together and are in touch fairly often (to my standards!). Interactions are effortless and silences are comfortable ones. Though, I don’t like to be on the phone with them, preferring by far seeing them.

As a project manager, I’m in touch with many people all day long. If I have a good relationship with that person, I’ve no problem interacting with them (depending on the subject). Though, colleagues are different from other relationships as they are ruled by the company HR chart & policy. We owe each other respect and can be held accountable for our actions. I’ll rate them equal as my family, as even if I’m less comfortable with them than my family, I interact with my colleagues every day (and have no say in this).

Acquaintances I don’t really keep in touch with, and when I do it’s mostly through Facebook or other social media. I don’t mind interacting with them, but I won’t be the one to initiate it. Another kind of acquaintances is colleagues I know but don’t see / interact with often. I’ll contact them if I need only and am not always comfortable interacting with them, as I know them less.

The last category is not a happy one. I’ll put here every person I don’t trust, am in a conflict with or dislike interacting with. As I hate conflict, they are the most difficult people for me to interact with, but I often don’t have a choice. I’ll call that category “unwanted relationships”.