Why Would an Introvert be a Performer?

Comments: 2

This puzzled me about myself for a long time. Why would somebody who tends to be fairly quiet, who actually loves spending time alone, who tends to listen more than he talks, why would that person become a performer?

When I was young, being an introvert meant you were shy, quiet, antisocial. These were seen as negative qualities, things you should change.

But I don’t see it that way. The description that makes sense to me is that introverts go inward to understand their experiences, say through reflection and contemplation. That’s where they get their energy. Extroverts, on the other hand, go outward, say through conversation.

For me this rings true. I take time alone to think things over, to integrate experiences, etc. I am not antisocial; usually I like people. And I do not want to change these qualities about myself.

Very often, from time alone, I get ideas for what I want to write about. Then, I want to share what I wrote with other people. So, I perform. Writing songs is the best way I know to share what I learn from being alone. Performing is a great way to share my songs.

I think of it as an internal world (maybe we all have one?). It’s where my inner thoughts and feelings exist. It’s like a landscape, or a conversation that I have with myself. I can talk about it, but a much better way for me to share what I find there is through songs. When a song is working, it’s like thinking and feeling at the same time. My goal is to share that inner world in a way that other people might connect to.

Sometimes, after hearing one of my songs, people will come up to me and tell me something about themselves that they were reminded of. I’ve been told some very personal things. The setting – a performance of songs – seems to give us the permission to share very personal things, even though we might be meeting for the first time. This feels like a great honor, that someone will open up to me like that. At those times I think I have done my job well as a songwriter, that I have taken some personal experience, and shared it in a way that someone relates to from their own life. I love that.

In many ways people are different. The things we love, things we don’t love, things we want or don’t want. But even so, we are likely to have things in common, things we share. The hope of a new-day, a sunrise. The sadness of a break-up or a death, the loss of a loved one.  The difficulties of hard times; and the joy of new life, and of loving family.

People know me as a fairly quiet person. I like to listen more than talk; listen twice, speak once. Songs are the best way I have to share, not only my thoughts and feelings, but thoughts and feelings that I hear others talk about. Everybody has something to say and songs are my favorite way of saying it.


  • Anphlo says:

    That’s beautifully said Paul! I love the photo you use. I think I recognize my home town, am I right?

    • Paul Hatem says:

      You are correct Anphlo! That was our AirBNB on Rue Malebranche near the Sorbonne. And thank you!

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