Archive for September, 2012

Silent, introverted and still making friends

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

I am pretty much an introverted guy and so a friend of mine once told me that she was concerned that I would have problems to cope with a group of people who don’t know me at all. I deeply appreciated her concern because it is nothing that is unlikely and in my past I experienced it quite often to be “outside” of a group of people.

As an introvert you usually are not that open in talks and discussions and you are more observing/reserved and rather in the position of being asked by someone than asking yourself or introducing yourself. This is the part which makes it usually pretty difficult or at least not easy for introverts to get connections in a group.

But there we have an advantage which extroverts don’t have. They usually expose themselves quite open and without hesitation. The result is pretty clear people decide if they like them or not during the first 10 seconds if not even faster. Good thing about this is that if you have charming character people like you immediately and making friends is not a problem at all. Downside is that if you push the wrong buttons you easily end up being disliked by the majority. And here is the advantage of introverts. Because we usually observe first and are a bit more reserved about what we say and to whom we are in the great position of real friends.

Just a sentence but then a sentence that hits its target. Listen to people and try to get where they are at and what you can say to bring them where they want to be. It is as simple as that and you start making friends right away. People don’t dislike you because you are quiet. They rather appreciate someone being quiet than someone who annoys all the time. The only danger for introverts is: Don’t be too quiet. You must overcome the fear or the hesitation of not-speaking. Choose your words wisely and you impress people with only a couple of sentences. And then you will make much deeper and longer lasting friendships than most extroverts do.

I know that sounds stereotyping and it kind of is but I hope you get my point. Just because you are naturally not the type of person who gets involved in a group quite fast does not mean you can’t make friends. It might take a few hours/days longer but in the end it will last longer. At least from my experience I can say that.

Why heavy metal/music?

Monday, September 24th, 2012

People ask me from time to time why I listen to hard music such as heavy metal, hard rock or metalcore. Well .. I could ask them why they listen to the music they listen to but what they actually mean is more a “why are you different to everyone else?”.

From a psychological perspective people search in music something which gives them comfort in they situation or pushes certain feelings as e.g. joy. Music that fits to peoples circumstances is what they want to listen to. Combined with that there must be a good amount of personality in the music as well. If someone is e.g. sad the music people listen to is different. Some like loud aggressive music others calm and quiet music.

In my case the heavy part in music comes probably from the fact that my personality is pretty self-controled and passionate about certain things. And in my life I experienced a lot of “disappointments” in how to deal with these things. For instance social injustice. How do you deal with it? Being quite and calm is not the solution that has been demonstrated in history at all. People who stand up, shout and make other people aware of things – thats a more working-seeming approach. And guess what, thats exactly what you find in most heavy music! Why? Well, the music is heavy and there is a good reason for that. People realized that a quite and calm way does not always work especially when the thing you fight for is something way bigger than yourself. Hard and aggressive music is not hard and aggressive because people are crazy but rather because people are passionate about something and want to change something.

Okay, admitted, it is also a lot of fun to jump around in a crowd and just screaming out all the crap that happens in life – it is a good way of releasing emotions. ;)

Identity => Integrity => Choices => Safety => Go for the risk!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

While studying the human behavior all my life I realized in the recent years that most people make their decisions based on what they think people around them would expect and/or like about them. Well, I’ve honestly never been that way and I’m not saying that to show off. It was a hard way! Simply because people rarely accept behavior which they would not do themselves.

My entire time in High School I’ve been someone outside of the mainstream. Why? Doesn’t need much for that – dress different to what people want you to and – bang – you’re outside of the “inner circle”. After a certain point in life (I guess I was 17 at the time) I was so out of all mainstream – I officially joined the Pirate Party – that my presence was not only not appreciated but simply hated, for some cases. When I hit that point I started becoming someone else. I didn’t care anymore what people think about me nor what they like about me – there is simply no objective reason behind that thinking. Even though I must admit that it didn’t matter anymore – I had just nothing to loose.

The interesting thing about that is that I was okay with myself. I did not necessarily love myself but I saw just no reason to be upset with myself. At this time I had .. well let’s count .. 1 or maybe even 2 friends left (not my usual ones though). But why am I telling you my story – who cares?

When we realize where our identity comes from we can analyze what makes us struggle in life and how to deal best with it. I my case I left my identity which came from people behind and focused on who I am in whom I’m created. Don’t worry this is not a “I want you to believe in Jesus” article but I need to say that is what gave me identity. Once I figured out where my identity lied I grew in integrity and thats my next point.

Who has integrity and can we measure it somehow? Well I think a short definition of integrity would be that you are mature in what you do and think. How do we get there? When we know what our identity is (and what not?) we can apply this into integrity. Then we don’t need to care anymore about what people think and may or may not like. A solid/mature identity leads to integrity.

And this leads us into the decision making part. If we found our identity and because of that have integrity we can base our decisions only on things that are up to ourselves. I know that sounds quite selfish in some ways and I am not saying that asking friends/family for advice is a bad thing. But an advice never should be our only reason for something we do. If we are not sure about what we should do in a certain situation a wisely considered advice can be a great help.

And now comes the – for me at least – interesting part in this whole thing. We get to points in life where there is no right or wrong. Have to decide and we don’t know nor we can estimate what is better/worse. Examples can be: partnerships, business contracts, buying a car. Sooner or later we get to a point where we need to take a risk. And this risk depending on what’s at stake might hurt us (emotionally/financially). There is no step-by-step instruction manual which anyone (not even me lol) can give you to make the best decision. But let me tell you this: What in life is safe? Can you name me a thing a person or anything that is a 100% sure and safe? We do live in a constant risk and every day which we survive is a gift compared to what happens on other parts of this earth.

I bet that most choice where you struggle because of a risk or a fear are compared to what else is in your life quite irrelevant. How many risky decisions are relevant enough to threat your life (or your family’s)?

I dare you to take a risk – for most cases it’s worth it!

If you found your identity you have integrity and your choices are completely up to you which leads you a point where you can risk something and even if you fail: so what? That’s life – rather failing than not having tried I’d reply to that. ;)

PS: I know that this article is kind of randomly structured but I hope there are a few people who might actually get some help out of this.

Trusting and Praising God during hard times

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Based on a recent experience I’m writing this article. We all know it: Life is not always doing what we want it to do. Especially when it comes to point where we feel we completely loose control we easily fall into the temptation to blame God for that. God has everything in his hand and he could prevent everything from happening. So why does he lead us into situations like that?

I find myself often comparing myself to Job in the bible. Even though what happens to me is kind of like nothing compared to what happened to Job I really see him as someone I want to be in that moment. Someone who praises and worships the lord even in these situations.

God’s will for my life but I have free will?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Don’t you struggle as well with that? I know that at least I did/do struggle with the issue of having free will but also obeying God. When you ask people you often have two extremes: The ones who say that God has a will for every single little action and it is our job to find it. The others say we can do whatever we want unless we keep the 10 commandments. Okay that was a bit very stereotypical but you know what I mean right?

Well to cut to the core we should be aware of a few things:

    • No one has not sinned – so everyone would have left the “one plan” (if there is one)
    • Free will is the main idea of humans. God never limited us without a purpose (see Genesis)
    • God uses mistakes and wrong doings for his glory as well.

Keep that in mind and then ask yourself if a plan for every action of your life makes sense? I spoke to several christians about this issue and the answer that hit me most was this: “Imagine God as the father is leading us as his children. So what does a father expect? That the child asks frequently for the way? Or that it is the fathers responsibility to show the way?” See also in Psalm 32:8. For me it states pretty clear that it is God’s job to show us the way and not our job to search it. Well of course it does not mean that we should blindly just do what we think or feel is right. But it does say that we don’t need to be afraid of going into sin just because we picked the wrong color for our socks.

I think God’s plan for our lives is much more complex than we can imagine. And the free will, his main purpose to create us, is definitely a very big part of it. So when we compare the plan of God for our life with a map for trains we can imagine easily: Whatever we decide – God knows where it leads and he is with us. And he surely will correct us as long as we let him – which is a much bigger challenge than following a list of rules. In my next article I will go into the topic of sin and what it means, this connects to this one because God’s plan and sin are something you cannot separate.