The beauty of human beings is that there are no absolutes. We are the most wonderfully complex of creatures, and we exist in infinite variety. When we try to describe ourselves, or even understand ourselves better, classifications can be helpful although sometimes limiting. If we draw a line of spectrum about human personality, there will be both introversion and extraversion at the two ends of the spectrum, while at the middle there lies the ambiversion personality. Introversion or extraversion is one of those basic personality traits that we use to explain the similarities and differences of ours. It’s basic because it describes how we perceive and interact with our world. And people at the two ends of the spectrum are very different in this.
None of us are really at one end or the other of the spectrum. We are all unique mixtures of introvert and extravert, and that mixture can change from day to day – or even hour to hour sometimes. Therefore, the labels as such can be misleading. However, many of us lean distinctly towards one side or the other. People who are pretty much in the middle are called ambiverts, and they enjoy the best of both. Depending upon whose numbers people believe, anywhere from 25% to 50% of the population are introverts. And if we look at the gifted population, that number rises to somewhere between 50% and 75%.
Carl Jung, the one originated the human personality scale, described introversion as a mode of psychological orientation where the movement of energy is toward the inner world. And Myers-Briggs, the popular personality typing tool, summarizes the difference like this:
“Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?”
If we look up the definition of introvert, we will often find descriptors like shy, selfcentered, trouble communicating, aloof, or anti-social. Unfortunately, this is how our society, which seems to value extraverts, views those of us who are more introverted. And none of those things are necessarily true. The true definition of introvert is that they are energized from their inner world, in solitude or with a small group of people close to them. They are easily drained of energy when surrounded by large groups of people or a lot of outside stimulation. That basic personality trait leads them to exhibit behaviors that may seem shy or anti-social to extraverts. The truth is that they are not (necessarily) shy or anti-social, although they may also be those things. Introverts aren’t afraid of social interaction – they are just happier alone or in small groups, and with limited exposure to social interactions.
Both extravert and introvert have different ways of thinking. They are almost like water and oil, completely made of different element, and probably not easy to blend at once. For example when an extravert thinks a good manner is to make sure people aren’t left all by themselves and to fill in any silences in a conversation; on the other hand, introverts think of it as not to bother people unless it’s necessary, or they approach you. When it comes to the word friend, for extraverts this means someone who makes sure that you’re never alone; while in introverts’ mind, friends are the ones who understand that you’re not rejecting them when you need to be alone.
If you want to know whether you are an introvert or not, check this out, it problably suits you.
- you prefer to work in a quiet setting
- you prefer to work for a long time without interruptions
- you prefer to work alone and then share with the group
- you like to understand the ideas behind things
- you like to think before acting or speaking
- you enjoy the peace and quiet of alone time
- you prefer to limit loud social gatherings to short periods of time
- you need to re-charge in a quiet setting after socializing with a group
- you don’t enjoy small talk
- you prefer not to repeat what’s already been said
- you often rehearse things before saying them
- you prefer listening to talking
- you don’t like to be interrupted when you are speaking
- you often prefer email to phone calls
- you find ideas much more interesting than the details of daily life
- you prefer to observe a group from the edge rather being in the middle
- you feel overwhelmed in loud and raucous situations
- you are not interested in thrill seeking activities
- you have a small group of friends that you cherish
- you are easily absorbed in your own thoughts
If you relate to most of these statements, then you are an introvert. Now that some of you have found out and might be an introvert, I would like you to change the way see yourselves. As I told you before, the rumors says that introverted people are shy, selfcentered, trouble communicating, aloof, and anti-social. Erase those perceptions from your memory, and start to believe the tremendous ability inside of you. Actually, a lot of research has revealed that most introverted people are basically studious, analytical, creative thinkers, diligent researchers, responsible, independent, flexible, planners, good listeners, keen observers, always think before act, very good at seeing the big picture, concentrating and focusing, finding connections between things, working alone or in one-on-one situations, and mostly, you treasure some chosen people to be your forever friends, as you have the ability to maintain long term relationships. That’s not too shabby a list – and those qualities are of great value to an employer, a friend, and the world.
Now that you have known your true color, let’s just make it brighter. Even if you go with the most conservative numbers, 1 in 4 people is an introvert. That means you can find other introverts almost anywhere you go. Still, those other 3 people are extraverts, and we live in an extravert world. Here are some techniques for making your life happier especially in those inevitable situations you’d really rather avoid.
Decide to enjoy wherever you are. When you know you’re going to be in an extrovert situation, make up your mind in advance that you will enjoy it. It’s amazing how much a strong intention can affect your perception.
Schedule down-time. This is a must for introverts in a busy world. You know that you’ll be more productive if you do. Just put some time every week, or every day if possible, on your schedule. Surely there’s something that can be put off without big consequences. Find some time for you!
Slow down. Resist the temptation to move as fast as the world around you. Find something that you really enjoy doing, and do it slowly.
Find other introverts. Spend time with another introvert. Have one of those delicious long conversations about something intriguing. And enjoy the silence between the sentences.
Prepare for extravert activities. Rest up in advance, and add in some down time afterwards. Then go prepared to enjoy yourself.
Be patient rather than annoyed. Allow yourself to be calm, smile, and realize that someone thought it was important to interrupt you. It’ll be over soon enough.
Be proud to be who you are. Forget the guilt. There’s nothing wrong with opting out. Be glad that you are such good company.
Learn extravert skills without trying to become one. Be sociable, practice your small talk, and think of it as manners. Do what you have to do so that those extraverts around you will feel at ease. And smile to yourself at how well you do it.
Be happy not participating. Think of yourself as the strong, silent type. Put a smile on your face, and create an air of mystery.
Just say No. People who know you should accept a simple, “Thank you, no.” for the others who might have their feelings hurt, make up an excuse. There are lots of other things you could have already committed to. (Even if it’s finishing that book.)
Find someone to talk with. So you came, and you really can’t leave yet. Use your keen powers of observation to find someone who’s standing alone. Strike up a conversation – about something interesting.
It’s not always easy being an introvert, but we all know you can do it and be successful. To tell the fact, there are a lot of cool and promising jobs that introverts can be good at. Jobs such as being an archetypal, artist, writer, sculptor, engineer, composer and inventor are all highly introverted. Besides, many famous and inspiring people around the world are introverted. Warren Buffet, Rosa Parks, Charles Darwin, Al Gore, J. K. Rowling, Albert Einstein, Julia Roberts, Steven Spielberg, Katherine Hepburn, Michael Jordan, and Mahatma Gandhi –introverts all. So there is no point to grief at your being introverted, wake up; rise and shine!
Remember that Gandhi said,
in a gentle way, you can shake the world.
And a bit joke about us 😛 :