Introvert vs Extrovert
By Leo Gura - March 5, 2014 | 6 Comments
A deep definition of introverts versus extroverts and how you can change into either type at will.
Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video we’re talking about introverts versus extroverts.
Let’s talk about introverts vs extroverts. What is an introvert really? What is an extrovert really? How does this play into the bigger picture of your life? How is this going to affect the performance of your life, the kind of results you get in your life? How can you start to play with these variables?
I’m not so much interested in just defining introversion and extroversion, which I’m going to do here on a much deeper level than you will get in most other places, but I’m also interested in how to actually take those and start to play with them in your life, and tune them to get the best results that you can possibly get.
In this video, we’re going to talk about some definitions, we’re going to go into a deep understanding of what introversion is versus extroversion. We’re going to talk about some of the origins of these terms. We’re going to talk about the pros and cons. Then we’re going to get into some techniques on how to actually change this stuff. That’s really exciting.
If you’re looking forward to being more extroverted or more introverted, we’ve got you covered here. Let’s get into this, some definitions — or before I even give you some definitions, let’s talk about a little bit of history. Where did these terms even come from? This is something that came from an old-school psychologist in the early nineteen hundreds, Carl Jung.
What he did is started to create personality types. He started to create these archetypes of what psyches fell into. He started looking at people and seeing what are the common strands between people. Some of the archetypes he identified are now used in the Myers-Briggs personality assessment type. You might’ve taken that at work, or in school, in college, someplace else, online.
That is deriving from his work. There, he made the really fundamental distinction in psychology of the introvert and the extrovert. What does this mean? Quite simply, you have a good understanding of it already, but we’re going to go into a deeper understanding of it.
An introvert is someone who is comfortable and really enjoys being by themselves. They are in their head more than they are out in the real world. They like being in their head. They like to be deep thinkers. They like to be by themselves, they’re comfortable being alone. They don’t particularly enjoy being in loud, noisy environments.
Their energy tends to drain when they’re out there interacting and socialising with other people. This is what you might stereotype as the shy person, although that’s really not a good way to think about it. It’s a caricature, and it’s greatly exaggerated.
What’s the extrovert? The extrovert is the opposite of that. The extrovert is the social butterfly. This is the person that loves to go out there and schmooze with people. He likes to gossip, he likes to talk. He’s verbose. She’s really excited by people. She draws her energy from other people from the external environment.
She doesn’t like to be by herself. He doesn’t like to be in his head all the time. He prefers to be out there with people, interacting with the world, groping, feeling, looking, observing, being much more sensory rather than logical and analytical. That is the extrovert.
Those are the two classic definitions. As far as really understanding what this is, this is a really powerful idea that I got from one of Eben Pagan’s seminars about personality types, is they really went into a deep discussion of what introversion versus extroversion is and this really hit me so hard when I saw it. I really understood this with my mind’s eye.
Here’s how it is, here’s what’s really going on, and when people talk about the fact that an introvert, his battery gets drained when he’s out and about, talking with people, and that his battery charges when he’s by himself, and the opposite of that for an extrovert.
Where The World Lies
Here’s why that’s happening: an introvert, on a fundamental level, thinks and believes that his world is in his mind. He lives in a world of ideas. What’s real is not out there, what’s real is in here. What’s literally going on here is that he’s so absorbed in the thoughts and the analysis, and the processing he does on all the stimulation and all the sensory perception he’s getting from the world, that he needs to process that.
For example, an extrovert, when he goes in and he talks to a group of people, he’ll just go in there and immediately, right off the bat, he’ll have something to say, he’s in there, he’s got energy. You ask him a question, he’ll just respond right off the cuff, maybe he’ll even say something he didn’t mean to say, but he’ll just backtrack. Then he’ll say something else, and he’ll just shrug it off. That’s how an extrovert goes.
As an introvert — and this is how I am, I am an introvert, very much so, and if you’re an introvert, you’re going to relate to this — as an introvert, that strikes us as very foreign. That’s not how we process the world.
How we process the world is, we go into that situation, someone asks us a question, and it takes us about a second or two to come up with an answer to it, and then respond. We don’t respond off the cuff. The reason that is is because we are living in our own heads. Our reality is here, it’s not out there.
If our reality is in here, literally what’s happening is that something comes in, it takes me more time and also more energy than an extrovert to process it and give back a response. I’m trying to see in my head whether the response I’m going to give is going to be authentic and accurate.
Just because I give the response does not mean the value is in the response. The value is in how the response then strikes me. I will be more reflective. I’ll say something and then I’ll say “Hm, I wonder what he thought of that? I wonder if that is what I actually meant to say.”
That’s what’s going to go on in a introvert’s mind. For an extrovert, it’s the opposite. What’s real is out there. The real world is out there, it’s in the world, it’s something I can grope. It’s something I can see, something I can smell and taste and hear. Something I can smile at and frown at, and have an emotional interaction with.
My thoughts about it, that’s secondary. It’s not that an extrovert doesn’t have thoughts, sure he does. It’s just that, at a fundamental, baseline level, he sees the reality as being really out there. The thoughts are being a secondary layer added on top of that.
For him, he’s going to go out there and he’s just going to talk. Sometimes, for example, an extrovert will say things he didn’t even mean to say. You’ll notice because an extrovert is really good at backtracking and backpedaling.
He’ll say something, maybe he’ll say something wrong, he’ll have a mispronunciation or whatever, and he’ll immediately just say “Oh, I didn’t mean to say that.” Or “Oh, that’s not what I meant” or whatever. He just glosses over it and he says something new.
For an extrovert, the way it works is literally he has to say it himself before he even recognizes whether it’s real or not for him. He’ll just blurt it out there. He’s not going to say it in his mind first, the way an introvert will. He’ll just blurt it out and then he’ll think about it and say “Hm, I wonder — yep, that’s what I meant to say.” Or “No, that’s not what I meant to say.”
That’s why an extrovert will be more verbose, more talkative. A lot of times they can seem a little bit more shallow because they just throw stuff out there without thinking about it too much. That’s what makes them very spontaneous, engaging and charismatic. That is really the deep difference.
Change At Will
It’s the difference of what is real. You can actually play with this. It’s kind of funny. Sometimes, because I’m very introverted, when I have this idea and I have this deep understanding on the forefront of my mind, and I go out to a club or to some bar, or I’m just walking around in a public place with other people, I can literally — when I’m thinking about this — I can meditate on it and I can flip myself.
I can do that flip where I see I’m walking around and I’m observing people, I’m doing my normal introvert thing. I’m just thinking about “That person this, this is that”, I can feel and then I recognize that I’m in my mind. I can flip that, and I can be preceptory, in the sense that I’m taking in perception and thing are very tacked out for me.
When I make that transition in my mind, there’s a switch that flips, and all of a sudden I can say “Why don’t I be an extrovert right now?”, and I can just literally start taking in whatever there’s tehre, stop thinking about it, just start taking it in.
You start to feel like there’s a very subtle but significant shift when you do that. It’s unnatural for me to be that way, but when I’m doing it consciously, I can shift myself. It’s kind of freaky, kind of cool. I encourage you to try that.
If you’re an introvert, the next time you’re out and about with people, try to flip yourself. If you’re an extrovert do the opposite. Try to get in your head all of a sudden, when you’re out and about. Just see how it feels. Start to get a real, first hand experience of the difference between these two personality types.
For And Against
Let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons of introverts and extroverts. Pretty obvious, some of the stuff here. An introvert is going to be better at introspection. An introvert is going to be better at analytical things, logical things, planning, doing creative things. An extrovert is going to be better at socialising with people and doing things that require cooperation, management, leadership, that kind of stuff.
I’m painting in broad strokes. This does not mean that if you’re an extrovert, you cannot be a really great writer or thinker. Vice versa, if you’re an introvert, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a great manager or leader, or even a great socializer. You can.
That leads me to the next point, and the next point is that there’s this big trap of thinking between should I be an introvert, should I be an extrovert. Getting so caught up in who you really are, like “Oh, I’m a real introvert. I’m a real extrovert. That’s just how I am.”
Getting caught up in that and thinking you have to choose sides — you don’t have to choose sides. In fact, I think that as a full, well rounded, fully self-developed, self-actualized human being, you need to have both. You need to value both. You need to see that both of these, each one of them has its own set of pros and its own set of cons.
If you are extremely introverted, you are not going to have the best kind of life. If you are extremely extroverted, you’re also not going to have the best kind of life. You really want to be able to blend the two, in a way. When you start to blend them, what I notice is that it’s not that case that you start to somehow average out, it’s actually the case that they’re cumulative.
What you’re doing is taking the best of being an introvert, and you’re taking the best of being an extrovert, and you’re making those your strengths. You’re dropping away the cons. Now you just have the strengths, not the weaknesses. You get conscious control over this stuff.
When you need to be extroverted, you can go out there and be extroverted. When you need to be introverted, you go out there and be introverted. This is important. I found that, to get the kind of amazing results I want in my life, for example, certain success in business, or certain success in relationships, I really had to work on my introversion. I really had to get out of it and become more extroverted.
I had to do that work. Otherwise, I saw that my life was just not nearly at the potential it could be. I can imagine the same thing for an extreme extrovert. If they’re always extroverted, and they’re starting a business or they’re doing something like personal development even, then that’s going to hurt them, because they’re not doing enough contemplation, enough introspection. They’re going to want to move themselves here and shift towards introversion, and get some of those strengths up in their repertoire.
I challenge you to not make this an either/or choice, but both. You want both. You want to be a fully well rounded human being. You don’t want to be lopsided here. I think that is really how we were intended to be. That’s how our brains were designed. We want to be incorporating both. You need both to really have a rich, successful life.
The last point I want to get into is actually some practical techniques. We talked a lot about theory. What are the specific ways you can go about starting to shift yourself? At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself “Well, I’m more introverted than I want to be. I’m more extroverted than I want to be. How do I go about making a transition?”
If you don’t know whether you’re introverted or extroverted, then go ahead and take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. You can find the online. You can pay a small price for it, or maybe even find it for free. There’s all sorts of different assessments out there, but the Myers-Briggs is really the best.
Take that test, take that assessment. See where it places out, as an introvert or an extrovert. Once you do find out and you decide you want to make some changes, because you see that being too much of an introvert or too much of an extrovert has been hurting you in some part of your life, then what you want to do is follow some of these techniques.
For my introverts: if you are extremely introverted, and you want to be more extroverted, here is a really good way to do it. Number one is: start going to bars and clubs. Start getting out there and start interacting with people. Get into really social environments where people are free to talk. Actually, bars and clubs are great because people are drinking there, there’s a carefree atmosphere.
That’s really going to challenge you. When you go there, first you’re going to feel extremely uncomfortable. Then you’re going to open up, your shell’s going to open up, you’re going to get more comfortable. That is exactly what you need to break you out of that shell, to challenge you a little bit. Get you talking to people, get you into some highly sociable environments.
When you do that, I would even encourage you to not drink. Do that without drinking and see how that feels. It’s going to feel really challenging and scary at first, but it’s also going to be a lot of growth.
Next is, try to join some groups. Some meetup groups, maybe religious organisations, whatever you’re into, Toastmasters. Just groups of people who are likeminded, like you, and who you can interact with, who you can have a talk with. Maybe you’re going to meet once a week at Starbucks, you can go to Meetups.com and find all sorts of groups there on any kind of hobby that you ahve, or any kind of topic of interest.
Start to form those. I don’t’ mean internet groups, I mean real life groups, person to person, face to face. You’re not going to build you extroversion on an internet chat forum, or over Skype. You’re going to build extroversion in real life, face to face conversations.
The last point, the third one, is going to be talk more. I want you to talk more. Stop being so quiet, stop being so reserved. Be more assertive. Every situation you get, literally. If you are talking to the checkout clerk at Starbucks, chat her up. Talk to her, poke fun at her, talk about the news, talk about something that is on your mind or ask her a question.
If you’re at the gas station, do that with the gas attendant. If you’re at the ATM, and you’re going into the bank, and you’re talking to a live person, talk to the ATM teller there. If you’re at work and you’ve got an opportunity to go to lunch with somebody — go with them and actually talk to them.
Get yourself to talk more. Talk more and be more in those kinds of situations. Try to leverage every single opportunity for talking you have throughout your day, whether it’s with your kids, your spouse. Especially with strangers. I find that’s where your biggest gain is going to be, with strangers.
You do not realise how many strangers you’re interacting with on a daily basis that you could be talking to more, and using this to build your extroversion. Start doing that.
Now for my extroverts. What can you do to become more introverted? The way you could do this is, number one is with meditation. Start meditation practice. Start practicing any kind of activity where you’re unplugged from people. You’ve got to start to get yourself comfortable being alone, by yourself.
If this feels uncomfortable for you right now, don’t worry about it, you’re going to get used to it. Being alone by yourself is a really powerful advantage for your creative thinking skills, for your happiness, for your peace, all sorts of things I can’t even go into right now.
Start a meditation practice, twenty minutes every day at least. Then, I would say, mindfulness. Practice mindfulness throughout your day. What does this mean? Mindfulness simply means that you are always aware of what you’re doing. That means that when you walk out your door, your front door to your house, you walk out and you’re aware of it. You notice it.
When you come back from work, at night, you notice yourself walking in. Start to notice that. You don’t even need to say anything to yourself. You just register it. Yep, I walked through the door. I walked through the door again. Just register that.
How about, every time you sit down to have a meal? I want you to start to be aware of that. Every meal you take from now on for the next week, just be aware of it, that you’re sitting down to have a meal and tell yourself “I’m having a meal.”
Just little things like that. Start to be aware of yourself. Especially when you get caught up emotionally. For example, you get angry, you get frustrated, you want to yell at somebody. You feel really despondent for some reason during your day, you’re very stressed. Have those emotions running through you, but then take a step back and say “OK, I’m feeling very stressed right now. I’m just feeling very stressed.”
Just notice yourself doing that. It’s like a self-awareness, a self-consciousness you’re developing, that’s mindfulness. The third point is: read. I find that is a good way to get into your head. Read a lot. When you read, especially stuff that’s rich and gets you thinking, gets your imagination going, gets you full of new ideas.
A lot of non-fiction books are good for that, like biographies, psychologies and self-help books. They’re amazing for this. Not only will you be getting valuable information, and you’re going to be releasing stress when you read, you’re also going to be starting to think about things. You’re going to start to contemplate naturally. That will get you more introverted.
That’s it, those are the techniques you can use. These are the definitions of introversion and extroversion. I hope you got some good insight from this. Go ahead and share your comments. Tell me what you think, how you’re going to work on your introversion or extroversion. I’d like you to please like this and share this so that other people can see this content.
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