An Introvert vs. The World – How a College Student Found Confidence from a Startup With a Funny Name
If you’re reading this, you are probably an introvert like me. You probably are thinking, “There is so much potential in me that I am too anxious to show the world”. I’m here to say, “Well, there are also places where you can fit in, work on your self-development, and still be yourself. Once you find yourself worth something, you would not believe the things that discovery of self-potential would do to you. Here’s my story on how I discovered this for myself in a very unexpected way.
“Never in a million years I would think of doing something like this,” I thought to myself, while scrolling through definitions of financial trading jargon on Investopedia.com. If you knew me, you would know that I am the person with the least possibility of picking up an accounting book or anything business-related. And you would probably be surprised to know that tomorrow at 4 PM, I will be attending my 4th class on Financial Trading (Eh, it is online but it still counts. #IntrovertProblems).
Just like most of you, I am a college student. It’s great to be educated and stuff, right? But is it really great when you do not enjoy what you’re waking up to at 8 AM every morning? On top of that, include some serious self-esteem issues as the icing on the cake. In fact, you can call me “Officer Timid Mouse”. Oh, the glorious life of an introverted tiny little human in a world that celebrates outspoken and bright people! What am I going to do… (Apart from watching this video).
That was a year ago (Happy anniversary to me!). Now I am a different person thanks in part to the work I have done on MindSumo.
Just to give you a little background on MindSumo, it’s a cool site with a funny name that lets college students like me brainstorm ideas on interesting challenges created by real companies. Not something you would associate with introverts finding themselves but I’ll get to that in a minute.
When I discovered the MindSumo site for the first time, I roamed around the site and thought, “WHAT? You get paid for just ideas? And whoa- ZERO FACE-TO-FACE COMMUNICATION? Sign me up!”. It was an unforgettable, carve-it-on-my-tombstone, moment.
Then came the winning. I remember my first winning submission like it was yesterday. It was 7.30 A.M. in the morning. I checked my e-mail and saw the news sent down from heaven. I read it so fast that I almost choked on my coffee. The amount of cash I won helped me to pay half of my rent that month! And hooray, I don’t really have to think twice about splurging on fast food. Great start!
Over the next few months, my life took a big turn. Atleast 180 degrees, no joke. This may sound strange but I was constantly on edge to come up with new ideas. It was as if my brain had a body of its own and decided to chug all the coffee drinks in the world because it just does not stop thinking. I would be in the shower thinking, “How do we improve this system?”, or “I wish bathtubs can think on their own — wait — maybe we can teach it a thing or two. Anything on MindSumo about bathtubs yet?” I would then go on MindSumo and see new challenges to decide whether I have something to contribute. For some reason most of my brainstorming sessions kept always happening during shower time. Talk about #ShowerThoughts at an obsessive level. Wait, no, talk about #ProductiveShowerThoughts.
I think it is fair to say that MindSumo had successfully unlocked a part of me that was hungry for knowledge. For some reason this desire was kept in a buried chest in the middle of the Carribean Sea thanks to this mundane life I was living before. Suddenly, going to class was not a complete chore anymore.Ok, maybe I still do not enjoy all of my courses, but I’ve been looking at school in a different light. Anything that I was learning about, I find myself saying “This could be useful some day,”. It was “College – 0, Me – 1”.
Winning challenges really opened up some great doors for me. I managed to get an internship with a research facility in Clayton, Australia (Important side note: They invented Wi-Fi. So yes, this was a huge deal for a self-proclaimed nerd like moi). Just recently, a huge oil corporation called me to offer an internship placement with them (Cue me screaming silently).
Although I had to turn them down because of time-constraint issues, I was really happy for the consideration. The challenges that I won got me their attention. Apparently, for big companies, creativity is what they look for! And I proved it by “just thinking a lot” and then typing out my ideas behind a computer screen. No more of this obligatory need to go out, be proactive and sociable in order to prove my self-worth.
So, who do I thank? For this kind of turn in life, I thank MindSumo completely. It came during the right time for me, and I saved a lot of emotional breakdowns because of it.
But there is another person I want to thank, and that is Taylor Swift. Yes, you read it right. I found this platform through a popstar, believe it or not! And it was all because I had this dedicated social media account which was 98% Taylor-related. Long story short, I stumbled upon another girl who was looking for friends to sign up for MindSumo and I helped her out.
In a world that prioritizes the smart lions, MindSumo gave a little bravery to this one timid mouse and told her that she can be great too. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that being sociable is still important as it is, but with a platform like this, it has made the life of this timid mouse easier than before. It gave me the drive to “put myself out there”. It was also a subtle kick-in-the-face for me to realize that I am not that much of a loser and my fears need to take a little vacation. Oh, fun fact: I took the role of Media Director for a student organization because I thought to myself “Forget about being afraid! I can take it!”.
So, that was my incredible journey of self-discovery and personal development as an introvert, thanks to a startup with a funny name. I still get anxious in social situations and probably avoid it whenever I can so I’m still an introvert at heart.
However, I have found peace with is aspect of my personality because I feel that I have something to offer now and it has become less difficult to go out and take on actual new challenges (Unintentional pun) in the real world. I guess I can say World – 0, MindSumo & Officer Timid Mouse – 1.
So what are you waiting for? Go check out MindSumo.com!
Lily is a student at RMIT University (class of 2018) way down under in Australia. She is studying Chemical Engineering and enjoys music, literature, fashion, and coding.