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Don’t be Afraid to be a Walking Contradiction

Kelly SimkinsNote: This is a guest post by Kelly Simkins, she is a writer and traveller who lives in New Zealand. She writes about creative doubt and her leap into becoming self-employed. She is also a member of the Haven, and a very inspiring person! You can follow her creative ventures at and Connect with Kelly on Twitter.


“Be a walking contradiction.” – Judy Ford

I read this line in a random book a few days ago and immediately thought YES! That sums me up completely.

If you are a “walking contradiction” you are a person of inconsistency. You may do things that go against the common grain. You may say one thing and then do another. You may take a leap of faith and end up with your hopes and dreams splattered all over the pavement before you. You may simply change your mind.

However, it recently occurred to me that being contradictory is just about being HUMAN.

The truth is, we are inherently contradictory beings.

I have only just figured this out. Yes, that’s right. Believe it or not I am a human-being. And so are you. We mess up. That’s what we do. In fact, it is our divine right as humans to mess up. If we want to mess up, by golly, we WILL MESS UP. Heck, if we are gonna mess up we may as well do it good, right? We may as well just go all out and truly kick life in the balls. Good and proper – just mess it all up for ourselves.


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Where does Shyness come from?

On 25, Jul 2014 | No Comments | In Creativity, HSP, Introversion | By Andy Mort

Since launching Twisted Sleeve I’ve been surprised by the number of people who think that it applies to them. I had no idea that quite so many people consider themselves shy or lacking in confidence.

Quite a few have told me that they didn’t used to be shy and that they were almost taught that ‘girls should be quiet and reserved’ and so took on a shy identity. I was completely shocked by that because it’s not my personal experience, but it seems quite alarming.

I’d felt like I had always seen myself as this quiet, shy, boring, geeky person who always got the top marks. My teachers always told me that I needed to put my hand up more in class. But about a year ago I had a big realisation when I was having a bit of a crisis about my career. I was going back to basics and thinking everything over again; questioning who I was and other similar things.

Re-Writing My Story

It dawned on me that I wasn’t actually boring. I came to realise all these things that I had done that weren’t boring or fitting with the picture I had of myself. I had lived in four different countries, I had travelled alone to a different country to go to a party, and even without those big things whenever I’m with family or really close friends I will make them laugh. The idea I had of myself in my head was wrong.

I was thinking back to where that came from. I assumed that I had always been shy but I remembered that at primary school I was really into acting. I always wanted to be on stage and considered myself one of the craziest kids in my year (I probably wasn’t), but I was still quiet. Teachers said I needed to talk more, and I spent my weekends reading and writing. I think I wrote my first novel when I was ten. So I WAS an introvert but I wasn’t shy or concerned about stuff like that. I was happy.

Then I went to secondary school where the kids were really different. They weren’t interested in learning. I was the ‘boff’ and it was a horrible school. I stuck my head down and got on with my work. I was ‘the clever one’ in the class with my best friend. My parents got me out and I went to a different school but I always took that label with me and so the quiet, boring person was the identity I had taken on without realising, in response to that situation.

I wonder if similar things happen to other people. I guess school is probably a big part of it and we carry these false stories around with us.

This is taken from an interview I did with Joanna Moore about starting your hunt for the confidence you need to do the things you really want to do in life.

If you’re interested in watching the whole of our conversation then swing by and join us in the Member’s Haven where there is new and exclusive content every week to help inspire, encourage and equip us introverted and highly sensitive people live the life we want to lead.

Inside the Membership Video Promo

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#087: Vulnerability is in the Eye of the Beholder [Podcast]

On 23, Jul 2014 | No Comments | In Creativity | By Andy Mort


I made a big decision a couple of weeks ago.

I changed my Facebook page name from Atlum Schema, which as many of you know is the name under which I made and perform music, to my name name…Andy Mort. It was not an easy decision but definitely makes sense.

Over the past few months a number of people have mentioned to me that they think it would be a good move to make. This year I have put a lot more time and effort into this website and podcast, and as the Member’s Haven begins to take off further too it seems to make more sense to strip away the cloak of my musician pseudonym as I connect with people on social media.

I want to make clear however that this is not an indication that I’m taking my music any less seriously.

Rather it kind of feels like the final stage of a deeper transition. I feel that if I’m going to be authentic and connect with people, I need to make that distinction between me and my projects. 

Connection and Vulnerability

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A Fake, a Fraud, or Who You Really Are?

The online world is full of fakes and frauds.

Through social media and online communities it’s possible to create a whole new identity; to appear stronger than you ‘really are’, more popular than you ‘really are’, more attractive than you ‘really are’, or funnier than you ‘really are’.

This is what we’re told. Maybe you yourself have seen people you know projecting themselves differently from how they ‘really are’.

It’s true, people can alter and to some extent control the way they are perceived in the digital realm, which can be done with the intention of manipulating others.

Who You Really Are

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The Difference Between Shyness and Introversion

On 18, Jul 2014 | 2 Comments | In HSP, Interview, Introversion | By Andy Mort

I use ‘shy’ as an umbrella term for all kinds of things like social anxiety or social discomfort. But I try to make a clear distinction between being shy and being an introvert.

I think it comes down to your motivation:

If you don’t want to go to a party because you’re worried about walking into the room, not knowing who to talk to, what you’re going to say, and feeling very awkward, you are being motivated by fear and anxiety.

You may WANT to go to the party but you allow fear to stop you from doing something you would like to do.

If you don’t want to go to the party because you would rather read a book that you’re into or you’re not particularly bothered about the people who are going and you’d rather have a nice evening in on your own you are being motivated just by being yourself. You should not try to change that.

For me, if it’s holding you back then I think it’s an issue and something to work on. But if it’s just the way you are then go for it. Do not try and change that. I want to make that really clear.

Shyness is stopping you from doing what you want to do, whereas introversion is who you are and your natural preference.

This is taken from an interview I did with Joanna Moore about starting your hunt for the confidence you need to do the things you really want to do in life.

If you’re interested in watching the whole of our conversation then swing by and join us in the Member’s Haven where there is new and exclusive content every week to help inspire, encourage and equip us introverted and highly sensitive people live the life we want to lead.

Inside the Membership Video Promo

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In Podcast

By Andy Mort

#086: Social vs Solitude – What’s the Right Balance?

On 16, Jul 2014 | 2 Comments | In Podcast | By Andy Mort


Introverts get energy from spending time alone. But is there such a thing as ‘too much’ solitude?

“I had told people of my intention to be alone for a time. At once I realized they looked upon this declaration as a rejection of them and their company. I felt apologetic, even ashamed, that I would have wanted such a curious thing as solitude, and then sorry that I had made a point of announcing my desire for it.”

- Doris Grumbach

Do you recognise this feeling of rejection? Is it possible to seek solitude without others feeling like you are rejecting them? Maybe you’ve been on the other end and you feel rejected by an introverted friend who needs time alone.

If someone says ‘I can’t be there tonight because I want to just be alone’, do you worry about that person, or do you accept it as a legitimate and important reason?

How can we get the balance between honouring that need to spend time alone without getting overwhelmed and out of touch?

All of this is discussed in this week’s show.

Solitude and Social


Anthony Storr: Solitude

Brenda Knowles: The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo?

Juha Kaartoluoma: Balancing Social Time and Solitude: Finding Your Golden Ratio



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What Do You Do When the Novelty Wears Off?

Remember how it felt when you first got your mobile phone?

If you’re like me you probably kept pulling it out of your pocket just to feel the smooth contours and to document almost everything you encountered.

But then, as time moved on and you became familiar with the device and its apparent limitations. Eventually it became little more than a part of your everyday scenery.

The novelty and excitement of the early days had worn off.


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In Podcast

By Andy Mort

#085: I Feel Like an Impostor [Podcast]

On 09, Jul 2014 | 6 Comments | In Podcast | By Andy Mort


Do you feel out of your depth; like a fraud, asking ‘who the hell do I think I am trying to be a part of this’?

This week’s show is all about Impostor Syndrome after a recent episode of Podcast Answerman in which Cliff Ravenscraft told anyone who was putting off podcasting because they were suffering from Impostor Syndrome to just crack on and title their first episode, I Feel Like an Impostor. Well this is episode 85 of Sheep Dressed Like Wolves and I still feel like an impostor so I thought I would follow Cliff’s advice and just do it with this one instead.

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt” – Bertrand Russell 

The good news is…if you feel like an impostor then you’re not one.

Impostor Syndrome

What is Impostor Syndrome?

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Superheroes, Energy-Saps, and the Creative Introvert (3 Guest Posts)

On 07, Jul 2014 | No Comments | In Creativity, HSP, Introversion | By Andy Mort

I thought I would save putting a new article out today. Last week I was invited to guest post by three separate websites. It was just coincidence that they all published within a few days of one another, but I wanted to share the posts with you. It is always a great honour to be invited to write for other websites, especially when they are sites that I already love to read.

1. The Superhero Paradox (Sacred Introvert)

Sacred Introvert is a brand new community founded by Lisa Avebury. It’s dedicated to validating and uplifting the introvert profile as well as providing a resource where anyone can come to learn more about individual introvert perspectives. 

I wrote a post (The Superhero Paradox) about the dangers of comparing ourselves to other people in order to define who we are, focussing on the tendency for some people to create an ‘us vs them’ narrative when talking about introversion/extroversion.

Read it here

2. Where’d My Energy Go? 12 Causes of Over-Arousal for the Introvert and/or Highly Sensitive Person (

It was a huge privilege to be given space to talk about these causes of over arousal for introvert and highly sensitive people. Brenda Knowles provides a fantastic resource through Space2Live, sharing her wisdom and encouragement for introverts and highly sensitive people. I was extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to write guest post.

I wrote it a while back when I was first re-framing certain responses I have to my experiences of the world. For many highly sensitive people, especially those who don’t realise they are highly sensitive they may well be subjecting themselves to unnecessarily levels of over-arousal/overwhelm without realising.

Read it here

3. Confessions Of A Highly Creative Introvert (Ending the Grind)

I was invited by Steve at Ending the Grind to share my story about how I started living out my passion.

If I was to sum up the message in one line it would be this: ‘you are not defined by what you do, but rather how you do it and most importantly, why you do it’.

Read it here

I hope you find something interesting there. I will be back to my normal posting schedule next Monday – I just couldn’t waste the opportunity to point you to these other great sites and say thank you to them for inviting me to share my story with them.

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#084: The Social Introvert Problem [Podcast]

On 02, Jul 2014 | No Comments | In Introversion, Podcast | By Andy Mort


This week I share my thoughts on a trend I have noticed a lot recently. It has cropped up in a few discussions on the topic of introversion. There is a tendency to build links between being an introvert, and being sociable/not-sociable.

In this episode I consider how and why we should frame our relationship with introversion outside of these social stories. And that we should take responsibility, choosing not to see ourselves as in some way anti-social or naturally disliking people.

The Social Introvert

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