By Justin Graves
Hi. I’ve got two questions for you.
- When you think about your own unique talents, what are some things you think of?
- When you think of what’s important to you in the world, what are some things you think of?
There’s a whole realm of possible answers. Maybe you value the fact that you have a really strong artistic ability. Maybe you’re really passionate about your faith, or about sustainable and green living.
For me, the answer to those two questions are intertwined. For as long as I’ve had legitimate memories, I’ve valued the fact that I’m an extrovert. I write “extrovert” to mean that I get most of my energy from other people. Simply being an extrovert is not a special or unique talent, though. But I do think being able to connect with other people through such a trait is unique.
When I think of what is important in the world, I consider this fact: if you are reading this then you are probably, also, a human being. As human beings we have the wonderful opportunity, numerous times throughout our day, to connect with other people. As an extrovert, I take that responsibility very seriously. I own it, I practice it, I refine it, I learn from it, and I live by it.
I have a goal of meeting 1 new person every single day. This goal relates directly to what I think is unique about me, and what is important to me in the world: human connection.
It hasn’t always been that way, though. I’ve been told stories my whole life about how I was profoundly introverted as a young child. I wouldn’t really stray too far from my parents and older siblings and I always preferred to keep it that way. Even in the grocery store, it was like pulling teeth to get me to make eye contact with the nice person helping us bag our groceries. But that all changed, and apparently it happened on one particular day. It was the day that I gained my physical disability of paralysis.