I've mentioned in several columns that I'm an introvert. Yesterday one of my colleagues told me that I shouldn't worry about being introverted because my writing makes me sound extroverted.
In other words, being introverted is something to be ashamed of and covered up if possible. This is a fairly common opinion both inside and outside the business world. As Sophia Dembling points out in The Introvert's Way:
"All our lives, we introverts have bought into the myth that extroversion is better and is the American way. In a nation that holds extroversion in the highest esteem, introverts get pressure every which way to behave differently. Conventional wisdom insists that America is a nation of extroverts-of glad-handers and random smilers, of party on and the more the merrier."
In other words, extroverts are popular winners while introverts are lonely losers. Give me a break. The business world world is full of loser extroverts who never get anything done because they're too busy shooting the bull.
Given the choice, I'd much rather be an introvert, because introverts can do anything that extroverts can do (but not vice versa.)
For example, I've done a lot of public speaking, know how to work a room and how to shine in a business meeting. It's just that, given the choice, I prefer to talk one-on-one and hang out with people who I know really well. Or (gasp!!!) be all by myself!
Extroverts, by contrast, can't do what introverts find easy.
Extroverts can't handle being alone for long periods of time, working on long-term projects that require individual creativity. If they try, they end up at the local coffee shop, chatting up the waitstaff.
Extroverts tend to be all talk and no action, introverts just the opposite: all action and no talk. I don't know about you but, I'd rather be a deep thinker than a big blowhard.
I'm sick of motivational speakers, pop psychologists and management consultants telling me and my fellow introverts that there's something wrong with us. If there's anything broken here, it's that some extroverts can't seem to shut up about it.
Extroverts should stop trying to change us and start appreciating us for who we are. And it's time, and past time, for us introverts-the quiet, creative, thoughtful intellectuals of the world-to stand up and be counted.