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Nancy Okerlund
Volume 3, Issue 2, 01/22/09

Introvert Response Ability

It's the day after the Obama Inauguration and I'm hanging out in the afterglow. I woke up this morning with the phrase "a new era of responsibility" going through my mind from the inaugural address. I think President Obama said, "It's time for a new era of responsibility."

Yesterday I wasn't thinking this but today I am: I wonder how many of those two million people on the Mall at the inauguration were introverts. And I wonder how they're doing today.

I joined the inauguration festivities last weekend via TV, starting with the presidential train ride into Washington, D.C. It's been years since I've seen this much TV. Once I got into it, I wasn't completely mesmerized, but almost.

I watched the inauguration ceremony itself on the big screen, with a crowd at a neighborhood theater. And last night I spent an hour and a half in another crowd, a happy, noisy inauguration party organized by friends, in a neighborhood restaurant. Today it feels almost like I was on the Mall yesterday I'm wiped out.

The day before the inauguration, on the Oprah Winfrey show, I saw a clip of a film I believe the actress Demi Moore is directing. The clip was of celebrities, it seemed, (although I recognized only some) making pledges, one after another.

One guy pledged to think of himself as American instead of African-American. Somebody else pledged to remember to turn off the lights more often. Some of the pledges, like those, were personal, practical. Others, as I recall, had broader scope and were more like projects.

I can't remember this film project's name it's a work in process but I gathered it's aimed at encouraging people to participate in helping the world work better. Maybe an early sign of the new era of responsibility.

This afternoon, in my inauguration afterglow, I remembered those pledgers with a smile they inspired me and I decided to make my own pledge.

I may be premature in announcing it. I haven't slept on it or even thought about it much since I got the idea (a few minutes ago.) But it's not inconsistent with my general tendency, so I'm trusting my intuition and going for it :-).

My pledge is to be more of an introvert.

Now, many people in my life would say I have a strong some would say exaggerated sense of responsibility. It's an introvert tendency and I do have it. Probably not surprising that I woke up this morning with "a new era of responsibility" in my head.

I'm so responsible that some people in my life might even prefer a new era of irresponsibility for me.

But today I'm thinking about responsibility as "ability to respond." I'm wondering about my pledge this way: what's my ability to respond to the world even more as an introvert? I like the question.

It's too soon to have a good answer, of course, but I think it has to do with slowing down even more, being even quieter and more thoughtful and happy to do it.

As my saying goes, "The world needs more introvert energy!"

End of food for thought on to some practical ideas:

A Practical Idea for Introverts

Join the movement! Pledge to be more of an introvert :-).

A Practical Idea for Extroverts

Pledge to be more of an extrovert what would that look like?

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