A Changing Perspective

I’ve been vindicated. Being quiet and introverted has finally been recognized as a good thing. “The Upside of Being An Introvert (and Why Extroverts are Overrated)” in the February 6 issue of Time magazine is all about how Introverts are challenged to live in the world of Extroverts.

Bryan Walsh, health editor with Time, provided a balanced look at what it means to be an Introvert in today’s business world. Within the first several paragraphs, he defines being an introvert versus being shy. (For reference, “shy” is a form of anxiety.) He also goes on to talk about how social events such as business dinners or other crowded events tax Introverts but allow Extroverts to thrive. I’d rather have my teeth pulled then to enter a room where I know little to no one and I have to make small talk.

Introverts, like me, are cautious and deliberate, according to Walsh. In fact, we’re also much better listeners and could make better business leaders because we make people feel heard and we empower people.
The research in the book “Quiet” by author Susan Cain is the basis for Walsh’s article. Essentially, Cain is working with the assumption that our society leans toward Extroversion and has a bias against Introversion.

Finally, someone got it.

I honestly always thought there could be something wrong with me because I tend to clam up in the presence of large crowds or because I take time to think through responses. But, apparently now, I am among something like 30 percent of the population.

While it is good to have someone finally state that being an Introvert is not a bad thing. It is still challenging to be an Introvert. I’m in an Extroverted career. I’ve been told to speak up and take initiative and I have been drowned out by colleagues who were louder and bolder. It takes a good leader to realize that sometimes I take a few minutes to get my thoughts together and that I’m not going to always fight to be heard – so just ask me what I’m thinking.

Another interesting part of the Time article was a look at well-known leaders or experts and where they fall on the extrovert/introvert spectrum. Who would have thought of Hillary Clinton as an Introvert? But no one would doubt that her husband was a clear Extrovert.

If you have a few minutes, take a quick read of the Time article. It may just make you think twice (if you’re an Extrovert) and it may just bolster you if you’re an Introvert.

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