Imagine seventeen creative people in one confined 20 x 30 foot space for five days in a painting workshop exploring non-objective painting. Interestingly non-objective painting is a very personal and internal experience. My perspective on it is that you have to know who you are, know how to handle the materials and then surrender to the process – letting it flow through you. It is not for the timid or faint of heart.

Given that context, imagine the effect of people having animated (in other words LOUD) conversations about topics both trivial and profound on those engaged in this deeply challenging process and then consider what that might be like for an Introvert.

Here is my observation of 3 Introverts and how they coped in this scenario.

Introvert #1
This person was the only person who actually disclosed their type as INFP. They must have been out of preference in one area on the Extraverted side because they were a “frequent talker” and one of the more vociferous people in the group. How did they handle their need for Introversion? At some point earlier in the day than most, they were simply DONE for the day. Their energy had run out and they left the workshop early in order to refresh or regroup for the next day.

Introvert #2
As well as there being an on-going flow of conversation, there was also music which was mostly jazz or classical. One person was really suffereing as a result of all the external stimulation, but didn’t say anything until Day 4 when they simply couldn’t take it anymore and made a request to the teacher to ask for quiet. Unfortunately for them that was only a temporary respite as people slowly returned to their chatter. I was close enough to hear the moans of frustration that quietly punctuated the air – more like commas or parenthesis than exclamation marks. A second request for quiet was never made.

Introvert #3
This person had a whole strategy in place. They chose a workspace that was at the end of the row of tables closet to the open unused space and facing a wall. They also had an ipod in place for most of the workshop. Not only did they get to listen to sounds of their choosing but people did not approach them for idle conversation. It was as if they created a bubble for themselves within the very active environment. In addition they painted through the lunch break while the rest of us were gathered at a group table for more chat. When it came time for demos or critiques they were fully present and contributing. They were very intentional about managing their energy and yet engaging enough to be social.

This third example models being aware of your needs and taking responsibilty for having these met in a way that does not take away from the experience for themself or others. While I think that an ipod is a brilliant idea, it is for each person to assess the situation and have a plan for coping in the best way possibility. It is not necessarily about the mechanism – Intentionality is key.

FYI – here a clip of my class

Category: Best practices / Video
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