One of the most empowering discoveries I made about 22 years ago was that I am an introvert. However, our society prizes extroverts and it is not always easy living as an introvert in an extrovert world.
Evidence shows that introverts are more sensitive than extroverts to different types of stimulus, and that introverts and extroverts often need very different levels of stimulation to function at their best. Introverts and extroverts also draw their energies from different sources – introverts from solitude and extroverts from interacting with others.
In the video below, Susan Cain, the author of ‘Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, speaks about how dramatically our society under values introverts, and how much it loses in doing so. Cain defines introverts as ‘men of contemplation’ who may enjoy the company of others, but are also comfortable with solitude. Introverts are sensitive, contemplative, modest and calm, and spend a lot of time thinking and reflecting. They can enjoy social occasions, but need restorative time alone afterwards.
Are you an introvert in an extrovert world?
Once you understand what your strengths are and where you are on the introversion/extroversion continuum you can consciously situate yourself in environments favourable to your personality.
One of my coaching services is a Jung Typology Test that can assist in exploring your strengths and understanding where you are on the introvert/extrovert continuum. Contact me for more information.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown refers to a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. In it, Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I have spent many years watching school sport and admire the courage that children have to get into the ‘arena’. I have been to very few matches where parents have not yelled from the sidelines – criticizing passes, moaning when players make mistakes, judging the selectors and coaches, and complaining about the incorrect decisions that the referees and umpires always seem to make. Are you one of those parents?
I thank all our children, coaches, selectors, referees and umpires for getting out into the arena and to dare greatly. Without them we would not have had all those enjoyable moments of being next to our friends on the side of a sports field; and without them we would ultimately not have international sport!
Where in your life are you the critic?
Where in your life are you not ‘daring greatly’ and getting into the arena?
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”