This recent TED talk by Susan Cain has gained a following on the internet in the last few days. Her message resonates with many who spend time in solitary pursuits. Writers, artists and creators in all disciplines have a strong introvert streak.
Susan points out that no-one is an absolute on the introvert-extrovert scale. I think it’s all too easy to assume that someone who talks a lot and is outgoing when in company, is an extrovert. This is not always true. We learn to adapt our behaviour to social pressures, and a highly introverted individual can in fact appear to be the life and soul of the party at times. When you hear someone described as an introvert or an extrovert – be wary. They may not be quite what they appear.
The true test of whether where we are on that scale is how we recharge our internal batteries. After taking part in a group activity for a couple of hours, do you just want to curl up quietly with a book, or do you want to get out an party? That should give you a clue. Your learning style is also an indicator of your propensity to introversion. If you are drawn to spending quiet time working things out, and if you learn best by just getting stuck in by yourself – own that introvert label. It’s just the way you are. And you’ll do best by working with the style you feel most drawn to.
I think Susan’s talk is powerful and convincing.