A reader recently asked me to shed some light on the negative perception that many extraverts have of introverts, and how we can overcome that. I believe that the following article by Jon Mercer answers those questions quite well.
Depending on which research you look at, somewhere between 30 to 40% of the population are introverts. In the United States alone, these statistics represent 75 to 120 million people. Worldwide, the number is well up into the billions. In other words, there are an awful lot of introverts around.
But unfortunately, many cultures do not appreciate introverts as much as they should. The United States, for example, tends to be a very extrovert-oriented society, and even the word “introvert” has historically had negative connotations, as if being an introvert was inferior.
Society often tells us myths like, “you must be an extravert to succeed in business,” or “introverts do not like people.” Both of these examples are completely false, however. And in fact, per capita, introverts probably contribute more to the world than any other single group. So much for their inferiority…
Here’s a good example: who is the wealthiest person in the United States? Bill Gates, right? Does anyone believe for one second that Bill Gates is an extrovert? I didn’t think so. Okay, how about the second richest person in the United States, Warren Buffett? Anyone who has done the slightest bit of research on Mr. Buffett’s background will be aware that he also tends to be introverted.
Interesting, isn’t it? Conventional wisdom says that in order to succeed you MUST be an extrovert; but the two richest people in the United States are introverts. Something doesn’t add up here…
One of the things I have noticed over the years is how the media, and society in general, like to pigeonhole people. We seem to love sticking people into boxes and putting a label on them. This is definitely the case with introverts. Now I know when you talk about introverts there will be a certain amount of generalisation. You have to generalise if you are talking about a group of people. But not only does society tend to pigeonhole introverts, it also seems to misunderstand them as well.
Being an introvert in an extroverted world is a topic close to my heart as I’m currently doing my Honours Psychology thesis on that subject.
The study aims to assess the association between well-being and extraversion / introversion. Research has shown correlations between extraversion and well-being but these have focused in the main on Subjective Well-Being (SWB) which is concerned with assessments of feeling good and life satisfaction. Psychological Well-Being (PWB) is less researched and focuses more on indicators of self-realisation such as the content of your life, and the processes involved in living well. I aim to compare a SWB and a PWB test for well-being on extraverts and introverts, and hypothesise that well-being increases for introverts more on a PWB test than a SWB test.
The main focus of the study looks at whether mindfulness increases well-being for introverts and extraverts. In particular, whether being mindful helps introverts to act/feel more true to themselves (i.e. be more authentic), leading to increased well-being.
If you are interested in the study then participants are always welcome! My online survey is hosted through the University of New England (in Australia). It takes about 30 minutes (but mostly less than that) for the survey to be done online and it is all completely anonymous.
The survey link is:
Thank you if you do decide to participate! I will also post results on here, probably around November this year.
Photo: © iStockPhoto.com / caracterdesign
Update – August 7, 2012
A huge thank you to everyone who has participated in my survey. The response has been excellent!
I now need to analyse the stats and write up the results so I am closing the survey.
I will come back and post the results later in the year.
The way we introverts manage our time and space has a tremendous impact on our work style.
Introverts typically prefer to work alone. Even when the nature of a particular project dictates working as a group, we would rather have some time alone to formulate our ideas before involving others.
Naturally, this means we appreciate having our own space where we can concentrate and work privately. If it’s not possible for an introvert to have his or her own office, even a cubicle with partitions is much more desirable than working in an open area.
Since becoming involved with the virtual assistant industry, I’ve noticed that a lot of introverts are drawn to this profession because it allows us to work independently in the comfort of our own homes and to communicate mainly through email or online.
Unfortunately, when it comes to networking and promoting our businesses, many introverted VAs run into difficulty. After all, talking about ourselves just isn’t something that comes naturally to us.
That’s why I was really pleased to learn that Donna Gunter (who has been mentioned previously in this blog) is offering a webinar called Get Found Online: Best Strategies Helping Introverted Virtual Assistants (or VAs Who Hate to Market Themselves) Massively Increase Their Visibility Online, Today.
In this free class, Donna is going to talk about:
This learning opportunity is open to new and experienced virtual assistants worldwide and will be delivered via the internet, so you don’t even have to worry about travel or long distance expenses.
To register, visit the Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection and click on Webinars under the Resources tab.
Photo: Mitarart / Photoxpress
Introverts may get mistaken for loners, but they are actually just differently social, says author Susan Cain.
Do you enjoy having time to yourself, but always feel a little guilty about it? Then Susan Cain’s “Quiet : The Power of Introverts” is for you. It’s part book, part manifesto. We live in a nation that values its extroverts – the outgoing, the lovers of crowds – but not the quiet types who change the world.
Oh Kindle, my Kindle! At long last, I own a Kindle. For those of you who are not bookaholics like me, Kindle is an e-reader from Amazon. It can link up with Amazon and sell you books, which appear on your screen in a few seconds. Best-sellers are $9 but old-faithfuls are $1. Collections of five classics cost a buck.
I was like a kid let loose in a candy shop. In my mind, I was running from treasure (Whitman!) to treasure (Wuthering Heights!), picking and choosing and downloading, reading, rejoicing, and going back for more. I felt bright and happy and active.
But what did I look like? I looked like I was sitting in a chair, staring at a tablet, pressing buttons. I’m an introvert, you see. All of this takes place on the inside. People who don’t know me will mistake this as a good time to interrupt, because if they were sitting silently pressing buttons, they would be bored. But I am not bored, I am enthralled and having the time of my life! This is a very Do-Not-Disturb time. After all, I wouldn’t interrupt you when you’re watching the Super Bowl, would I?
It doesn’t last forever, any more than the Super Bowl does. Although that first time with the Kindle, exceptionally, lasted all night.
Are you an extravert? Do you worry about introvert friends or relatives who go inert? Relax. They’re having fun, on the inside.
I recently read an interesting article by Introvert Marketing Coach Donna Gunter, in which she identifies the six best ways for introverts to promote themselves easily. I hadn’t thought about it in quite this way before, but after some reflection, it seems that all of these strategies have worked well for me.
Here are Donna’s recommendations, along with my comments as to how I’ve applied them in my business.
1. Step into the shoes of your ideal client and target market.
When I started my business, I didn’t have an ideal client in mind. Like many new entrepreneurs, I was delighted to work with anyone who was willing to pay me. Gradually I came to recognize that I was happiest and best suited to working with professional organizers. Having been an organizer myself for a few years, I have a good understanding of their needs, so it’s easier for me to tailor my messages to that group.