Last night I was invited to a potluck dinner for Interesting People. I had been out all afternoon with a friend and this dinner was all the way
across town, so as evening drew near, I really wanted to just stay home and regroup. But, I had planned to ride over with a friend, so I pulled it together and went.
I ended up having fun and talked to a lot of interesting people in a somewhat hectic environment. This had me think about a talk at the World Domination Summit last week, by Susan Cain, who wrote the book, Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She also did this Ted Talk, on the Power of Introverts.
I know that I was able to turn the evening around and enjoy myself in that situation, because I am an extrovert.
Susan’s book and Ted Talk have been well received because they confront a deep bias our culture has towards extroversion. One out of three people fall on the more introverted end of the continuum so it is important for us to understand the power of introverts, how they do their best work and that there is not something wrong with them, they just have a different constitution.
Some people mistake shyness for introversion, but it is not the same. Shyness is a fear of social judgment. Whereas, introversion / extroversion is basically a continuum of how a people seek and respond to stimulation. Introverts do their best thinking and work when it is quiet and they are alone. They enjoy deep, one on one conversations and they like to think things through before speaking. Extroverts seek and do well in stimulating environments, are actually energized by being with groups of people and feel free to speak on the spur of the moment often before they think.
I am definitely an extrovert, but that doesn’t mean I want to be in a three-ring circus all the time. In fact I do my best creative work when it is quiet and I am alone. But, last night was an example of how we extroverts can rally when we are put in a stimulating environment with a noisy roomful of “interesting people”
As a psychologist I think most people are interesting. There is a saying, ” There is no one you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” I know this is also true when we are writing. The more we put ourselves and our stories into our writing, the more people will respond either positively or negatively. Trying to be everything to everyone and watering yourself down is a sure path to being ignored and overlooked whether an introvert or extrovert.
What do you think. Are you an Introvert or Extrovert. You can take the quiz.