Monthly Archives: August 2013

A not so secret introvert

I’ve not done much exercise recently. The last few weeks have been particularly tough as my wife has been away, so I’ve been a single-parent and that has meant that I just haven’t found the time or the routine to include any exercise into my day. However, even before that I haven’t been doing much.

I’ve been trying to work out why that is and the main reason (excuse) I give is that work is too busy. That’s true to an extent, but I’m sure I don’t work longer or harder than many other people. And of course deep down I know that doing more exercise will help me with work, it will make me feel better and more alert and therefore be more productive.

So what is it?

Well, I was pondering it and I think it’s to do with the fact that I’m an introvert and my job is very extroverted.

By introvert, I don’t mean the often held (and often wrong) definition of being shy – as most people who know me will categorically state, I’m not shy. What I mean is the psychological definition of an introvert as someone who recharges their batteries from within rather than from without (as an extrovert would).

“a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.”

A quick “test” would be: you’re in a room full of people, chatting and talking to lots of them, it’s a wonderful evening, but afterwards do you want to a) carry on the party and go out somewhere else; b) go home and read a good book before bed? If a) you’re an extrovert; if b) you’re an introvert. And I’m definitely b.

Yet my job requires me to almost constantly be in that metaphorical room full of people – by the end of the day I’m exhausted. And unless I really force myself – too tired to go out for that run / swim / bike ride etc.

And yet, just as I was pondering this I saw a tweet with this list – 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert (ht to Simon Williams). Of course, if you look at number 16 on the list you’ll see that the very fact I was pondering this for a while fits.

Each of the points on that list I can nod along to – some more than others, but they all have a grain of truth in them for me. However it is point 7 that is particularly relevant to this post:

“One of the most fundamental characteristics of introverts is that they need time alone to recharge their batteries. Whereas an extrovert might get bored or antsy spending a day at home alone with tea and a stack of magazines, this sort of down time feels necessary and satisfying to an introvert.”

What I need to do is teach myself that the time alone can be while out running. When I do it, I do find it meditative and relaxing, but too often the couch calls first.

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Filed under Motivation, Thoughts, Work

How am I driving?

More and more lorries and vans are driving around with stickers on the back asking the question:

How am I driving?

They then provide a phone number for you to phone in with the answer.

It always makes me incredibly nervous when I see one of these. You see, I’m not sure I know enough about the workings of the internal combustion engine to be able to provide a comprehensive answer and if they put me on the spot and force me to answer I think I’d just say: “the engine fairies.”

 

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British Culture

Over the last few weeks there have been a few things running around my head about that I want to discuss. You may not be interested, but I’m going to write some posts about this stuff anyway.

There are three key areas of British culture that I’m no longer comfortable with; three areas that I think we, as a nation, need to seriously reconsider. Three areas that I think stop us being a great nation and stop the citizens of Britain from fulfilling their own potential.

They are:

– Drinking
– Driving
– Working

In all three cases I think we have got our cultural “norms” out of kilter with what they should be and I think we need to recalibrate those norms.

More to follow…

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National borders

I’m someone that doesn’t really believe in national borders. I find it a very strange concept that an arbitrary line in the ground means that the people are somehow “different”.

I understand the need for countries, I understand the need to group people together in an administrative format so that rules and regulations can be set and that we can all benefit from working together and creating community groups and associations – such as the NHS for us in the UK.

But I really struggle with nationalism – that crazy sense of pride some people get just because of the accident of where they were born. We’ve all seen *that* guy that wears the national flag on almost every item of clothing and beats his chest at almost every occasion. Part of the problem is that in this country nationalism is so close to racism. Pride of “us” often crosses the line to become rejection of “them”. And I really struggle with that.

Until we come to sport.

In sport I’m happy to cheer for England or Great Britain or for anyone representing them. Without being nationalistic, I passionately cheer for sports men and women from my nation.

At home the situation is further complicated by the fact that my wife is German and so my son is half British and half German. Regularly he cheers for the “other” team not having the same ties to the British competitors – in fact he’s cheering Australia in Ashes.

So why do I become so nationalistic when it comes to sport. I thinks it’s partly to do with the very nature of sport, the whole narrative of sport is that it needs a bad guy. It needs someone to cheer for and therefore someone to cheer against. However, I’m still not sure it is nationalism (or am I just trying to defend my own position?)

What I think it is about though is localism, rather than nationalism.

To help me cheer, to help me feel passionate about the action, to help me get involved, it helps to feel linked to the competitors, to know more about them. Sport is best when it’s got drama and intensity – and drama is created by knowing the stories and emotions. And of course we get the know the stories of those athletes, teams, sportspeople that are more local to us.

So it was great to cheer on both Andy Murray and the British and Irish Lions to victory earlier this summer. And I’m excitedly cheering on England in the Ashes. But equally, I’m happy for Joshua to cheer on Germany whenever they play (although I’m less keen on him cheering on Australia in the cricket!)

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Solitaire

This is the best I could do at my son’s solitaire game this morning. Does anyone have any tips?

(Although to be fair, I’m pretty pleased with this effort!)

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Top tenuous

I’m famous.

Well, a bit. Alright a very tiny bit, but still, my name was on the radio this morning on Radio 2’s Chris Evans show. For those of you that don’t listen they do a regular feature called the top tenuous where you have to text in with a tenuous link to a specific topic. Today the topic was the English Channel and I texted:

“I know lots of people that have swum the channel. I haven’t but I’d love to swim a channel relay. The furthest I’ve done is to swim the length of Windermere.”

It was read out amongst some people who had actually swum the channel, but still, fame at last!

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Mad Irish OW Swim Week

I tried to reblog this last night, but it didn’t seem to work – but this is what I was linking too:

Dangerous When Wet: Learning to Survive Open Water Swimming

It looks amazing. I think I’d love to do it… I’d probably change my mind when I was there.

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End of the road

A fellow blogger has had his bike stolen – as a long shot he’s asking if anyone sees it to get in touch…

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Filed under Cycling, Thoughts