Being an Introvert in an Extrovert World

Being shy and introverted are not mutually exclusive like I used to believe. Introversion roughly means a person gets their energy from themselves so they tend to spend more time alone, and an extrovert would get energy from other people. These preferences are used in Jungian personality categories. Shyness is about social judgment and caring what others think of you.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking and a speaker for the TED talk “The Power of Introverts” believes that these two personality types are about stimulation. Introverts prefer low-stimulation situations and extroverts prefer higher-stimulation. Cain explains that society, especially education, caters to extroverts because a classroom setting would be a high-stimulation environment. Therefore, extroverts are more likely to thrive in a classroom than introverts because of this reason, regardless of the intelligence of a child.

Due to this, introverts learn to dislike their introversion and start to desire the personality of extroverts. Throughout life, individuals are told not to be quiet, to involve themselves in group activities and to ignore their preference for a more quiet lifestyle.

Introverts are told countless times they need to change and adapt to a personality that will apparently make their life easier and provide more opportunities. Along with shyness, an introvert will be told that their personality will never get them through life. They will never get a job, a partner or anything that requires some kind of charisma, fake or not.

Even though society seems to favour extroverts it is important to acknowledge introversion as a personality type that has a lot to offer.  Introversion should not be a flaw to be overcome. Instead treat it as a personality type that can offer something to the world that extroversion cannot.

According to the Huffington Post there are plenty of introverts in the world who have fundamentally changed the world or offered something that depended upon their low-stimulation interests. To name a few, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn and even Lady Gaga are all self-proclaimed introverts. Without a willingness to look inside of themselves we probably would not have all the benefits of their accomplishments.

It’s important to remember that we do not have to change our personalities to accommodate a society that prefers outgoing individuals. It is perfectly fine to remain as you are; an extrovert or an introvert, or someone along that spectrum.