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The Journey to Extroversion: Strengthen Your Social Skills Through Repetition

Your Mind, The Untapped Gym

Much like our bodies, our minds thrive on exercise. Just as consistent physical workouts can transform our bodies, mental repetitions can alter our behavior from introverted to extroverted.  

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


– Aristotele


True words from a wise man.

You see, becoming more extroverted is akin to starting a new sport or fitness regimen. Every professional athlete knows that mastery doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes time, repetition, and patience. The road to the Olympics starts with that first day at the gym, the first lap around the track, the first swing of the racket. Similarly, your journey to extroversion begins with the first step you take to engage with others more actively and assertively.

The crucial thing to remember here is this: The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results. Think of it this way – if you’re training for a marathon, you don’t wait until a week before the race to start practicing. You start months in advance, gradually building up your strength and stamina. The same principle applies to expanding your social skills. Start today, and with every new conversation, every social situation navigated, you’ll be closer to your goal of becoming more extroverted.

So let’s begin this exciting journey right now!

The Power of Practice Over Innate Ability

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, some people are just naturally extroverted. They were born with the ability to effortlessly engage with others and be the life of the party. That’s not me, and it never will be.”

This mindset puts too much weight on inherent abilities and underestimates the power of practice and hard work.

If you’ve ever watched sports, you’ve probably heard of the ‘natural athlete.’ This is the person who picks up a ball for the first time and seems to instantly understand how to maneuver it with grace and precision. While it can be impressive to watch, the myth of the ‘natural’ can be harmful, too, as it suggests that if you’re not instantly good at something, you’ll never be.

But let’s consider the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. MJ wasn’t born with a ball in his hand, sinking shots in the maternity ward. In fact, he was cut from his high school basketball team because he “wasn’t good enough.” Rather than giving up and believing he didn’t have the ‘natural’ talent, Jordan pushed harder. He practiced relentlessly, honing his skills and learning from every missed shot, every defeat. As he famously said, 

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

The same principle applies to social skills. You may not be a ‘natural’ extrovert, but with practice, determination, and a commitment to learning from each interaction, you can develop the skills necessary to be more outgoing and engaging. It’s not about being born with it; it’s about committing to getting better at it, one conversation at a time.

Embrace the Power of Repetition and Be Prepared for Both Success and Failure

You may have heard the phrase, “Repetition is the mother of skill.” This saying holds a profound truth: the more you do something, the better you get at it. It’s a concept deeply rooted in neuroscience. Your brain is a complex organ that continually adapts and changes. When you repeat an action or a thought, your brain begins to create new pathways and strengthens existing ones to support this repetition, known as ‘neural plasticity.‘ In essence, you’re training your brain just like a muscle. You can read more about this in the fascinating article, “The Neuroscience of Repetition: Why Practice Makes Perfect.”

Yet, when it comes to embarking on this journey of self-transformation, one crucial thing to keep in mind is that the path will not be a straight line. It will be fraught with successes and failures, just like in sports or any other field. And that’s not a bad thing!

Success is built on a mountain of failures. But each failure is a lesson, a stepping stone, not a setback. Each failure takes you closer to your goal, teaching you, honing you, and shaping you into a stronger, more resilient person.

So, as you embark on your journey to become more extroverted, remember that you will face difficulties, but these are not signs of your inability. They are simply parts of the process. When you stumble, remind yourself of Michael Jordan’s wisdom: It is through repeated failures and continued practice that you truly succeed.

Stay determined, stay patient, and keep repeating your efforts. Your brain is an incredible machine capable of extraordinary change, and with time, you’ll see the fruits of your labor, one conversation at a time.

Embrace the Roller Coaster Ride

Let’s ponder a bit more on Michael Jordan’s words:

 I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

His candid confession paints a clear picture of the path to success: it’s a roller coaster ride, filled with highs and lows. Many of us imagine success as a straight climb to the top. However, the reality is a series of peaks and valleys, ups and downs, wins and losses.

This is true for anything in life, whether it’s learning a new skill, cultivating new habits, or becoming more extroverted. The journey won’t be a smooth sailing one. There will be times when you’ll struggle to keep a conversation going, times when you might feel anxious or awkward in social situations, or even times when you might want to retreat back into your shell.

And you know what? That’s perfectly okay.

Imagine you’re on a roller coaster ride. When the ride goes up, it’s thrilling. You’re making progress, feeling good about your journey. But then, it plunges down, and your stomach lurches. That’s when you’re facing a setback. But, remember that after every plunge, there is always another climb. Just as a roller coaster ride would be boring without the thrilling drops, your journey would lack growth without these challenges.

So, be prepared to embrace this roller coaster ride. Know that every setback is a set-up for a comeback. Relish the high moments and use them as motivation to carry on. Take the lows as opportunities for learning and growth.

Keep in mind that you’re not alone on this ride. There are many others out there who are also on their own journeys of self-improvement. So, while you’re on this ride, don’t forget to reach out, connect, and learn from others.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that the ride itself is part of the excitement. With each conversation, each social gathering, each interaction, you’re getting one step closer to becoming a more outgoing and confident person. Enjoy the ride and look forward to the view from the top because, my friend, it’s going to be worth every bit of the journey!

Gradual Exposure – From One-On-One to Larger Groups

Stepping out of your comfort zone is an important part of growth, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a giant leap all at once. The key is gradual exposure. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t morph into a social butterfly overnight either. It’s all about small, consistent steps that lead to big changes.

Start Small, Start Safe

Begin with one-on-one interactions. Chat with a friend, a family member, or a co-worker. Remember, these conversations don’t have to be intense or profoundly deep. A casual chat about interests, hobbies, or current events is a good starting point.

During these conversations, focus on asking open-ended questions, showing interest, and actively listening to the other person. These simple actions can make your interactions more engaging and rewarding.

Taking on Small Groups

Once you’re comfortable with one-on-one conversations, it’s time to venture into small group settings. This could be a family dinner, a group project at work, or a small gathering of friends. Engaging with multiple people can seem daunting at first, but remember, you’re well-equipped to handle it.

Take the initiative to introduce yourself, contribute to the conversation when you can, and show genuine interest in others’ thoughts and opinions. Remember, people love to talk about themselves. Asking questions and listening attentively will not only make you appear interested but also take the pressure off you to constantly keep the conversation going.

Venturing Into Larger Groups

As your confidence grows, progressively increase the size of the groups you interact with. Attend social gatherings, participate in public speaking clubs, or even try networking events. Each step will present its unique challenges, but by now, you’ve built a solid foundation of conversational skills that you can rely on.

Extroverts as Allies

Finally, team up with an extroverted friend or acquaintance. They can be your ally in social situations, helping you navigate conversations and introducing you to new people. Their outgoing nature can also serve as an excellent model for you to observe and learn from.

Remember, becoming more extroverted is not about changing who you are at your core. It’s about developing the skills and mindset that will allow you to communicate more effectively and enjoy your social interactions more. Take each step as it comes, celebrate your progress, and most importantly, be patient with yourself. It’s your unique journey, so make the most out of it!

Define Your Own Path

Your path to becoming more extroverted is unique and deeply personal. It requires hard work, resilience, and the ability to handle feedback constructively. Remember, this process is not about changing who you are, but evolving into a more socially comfortable version of yourself. So, brace yourself, pull up your sleeves, and remember: it’s all about repetition, repetition, repetition!