Sorting your way to personal success

Sarah Rice, Reporter

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Back in first grade, my teacher assigned our class to do word-sorts every week with our new vocabulary words. My desk would be covered in little strips of paper as I moved them around, trying to find correlations between words and new ways to group them together. We would sometimes do them based on their part of speech, sometimes on their prefixes or suffixes, and occasionally we could make our own groupings.

At age six, I did not understand that this process of grouping happens everywhere- even at the very core of our own selves.

Personalities are just like my vocabulary words, with different personalities falling into different groups. They can be grouped in hundreds upon hundreds of different ways, but in the end there are only two main categories in the “word-sort” of personalities- introverts and extroverts.

Whether realizing it or not, everyone already groups themselves in one of these categories. Quiet, individualistic, and thoughtful individuals usually consider themselves introverted, while outgoing, social, and stimulated individuals generally consider themselves extroverted.

Knowing who you are as a person is great! But, as important as it is to be self aware, these groupings actually lead to inaccurate connotations. It is easy to forget that, just like my slips of vocabulary words, people can be a part of many different groups. An introvert can be a leader. It is, in fact, possible for an extrovert to enjoy their alone time. The stereotypes and expectations surrounding both types of people limit their opportunities for success.

In many cases, people know where they fall on the spectrum of introverts/extroverts. Whether an introvert or extrovert, however, fulfillment and achievement is a realistic possibility, even as a teenager.

In highschool, being an extrovert can have its perks. As generally social individuals, extroverts do their best work in group settings with high amounts of stimulation. Recognizing and utilizing this trait is vital for extroverted individuals to be successful. Whether this means organizing group study sessions to improve academically or participating in school social events, such as football games, a social personality can be used in a positive way. It can also be used in a negative way, so recognizing when this occurs is an important step towards becoming a successful individual. It is not uncommon for extroverts to act controlling from time to time, and their own ideas and intentions can get in the way of other people’s contributions. The easy fix to this simply involves having self awareness and remembering that other people also have a voice and opinion. Try something new, even if it seems difficult, like setting a specific section of the day for “alone time”. The challenge of the task stretches and adds new layers to personalities.

Introverts, on the other hand, tend to live in the shadows of extroverts because of their reserved natures. Contrary to popular belief, being an introvert does not put limitations on success.  If working alone makes tasks easier to understand and complete, then work as an individual! Introverts must stay true to themselves and resist the pressure to act more extroverted; it is difficult to be successful while pretending to be someone else. Every once in a while, though, introverts should push themselves to be more social than usual. Staying in a comfort zone can result in stagnant growth as an individual, and growth in needed to become a better and more successful person.

Success also varies from person to person. One person’s goals will look different from those of another person depending on their personalities and situations, so it is impossible for comparison to occur. Putting more energy towards self awareness and less energy towards comparisons makes self improvement easier and enjoyable.

At the core, success is achieved through breaking past comfort zones and increasing both self awareness and awareness towards others. Just like my word-sorts, each person is not restricted to a single category determining their personality, attitude, and future. They have the ability to determine who they are and what they achieve through their thoughts and actions each day. And if they don’t administer change in some aspect of their life, then they cannot expect to see change in their life.

If my name was on one of my vocabulary strips of paper, I’m not sure if I could just place it in a single category. Maybe I just wouldn’t put it in any category- who I am as a person should not have any limitations.

I hope my first grade teacher would be okay with that.

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Sorting your way to personal success