Defy Your Introversion/Extroversion
Muhammad Ali. Steve Jobs. Bill Clinton. Despite making massive achievements in different fields, these three men actually have something quite big in common (and it’s not a blindingly fast jab or sweet saxophone skills). They’re all extroverts. Now, take a look at guys like Bill Gates, Joe DiMaggio and Warren Buffett. While they too also made headlines, all three have been deemed introverts by experts. No one would argue – politics and taste withstanding — that all six made a lasting impact on society. Whether you’re a shy guy or put Kanye West to shame, you too can make big things happen, that is, unless you let your introversion/extroversion get in the way.
It’s not hard to figure out whether I’m an introvert or extrovert, considering that I’m writing this article alone in my room on a Saturday night. This is most likely the reason why, upon stopping by my mother’s this week, she handed me a Time magazine with the title “The Power of Shyness” and said “Johnny, you should really read this.” Though I was at first put off by her presumption, I read the feature and was intrigued. Author Bryan Walsh makes a case for introversion in “The Upside Of Being An Introvert (And Why Extroverts Are Overrated).” I won’t go into all of the benefits he lays out for being a wallflower, but let’s just say us meek peeps rule.
My article, on the other hand, isn’t about giving props to all my introverted brothers. No way. I wanted to talk about what’s referred to in the article as Free Trait Theory. Walsh explains it as “the idea that while we have certain fixed bits of personality, we can act out of character in the service of our core personal goals.” If you’re a super introverted dude who’d sooner swallow a sawed-off shotgun than go out to a bar and meet women, it’s possible to step outside of your comfort zone for the overall good, whether it’s a one night stand or lifelong marriage. The same theory pertains to extroverts. Have you wanted to read “Ulysses,” but been unable to finish as much as the first five pages because you’ve been too busy hanging at the bar downing Jagerbombs? If you have what it takes to stay in one night, it’s possible to slowly make your way through behemoth books and accomplish other introverted tasks.
Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in-between (what experts call ambiverts), I suggest taking a cue from Dr. Little and pursuing that whole Free Trait Theory thing. Be yourself, but step out of your box every so often to accomplish your goals. Don’t sell out or act totally out of character, but allow yourself some time out of your comfort zone to accomplish things that would otherwise be impossible. Ease up or step up; just try a new approach every now and then. I mean, Gandhi was an introvert and he kinda sorta made a name for himself, don’t you think?
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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.