“There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum”. – Carl G Jung
My mentoring organization leads business owner round tables. At many of our round table meetings the conversation of one of us being an “Introvert” or an “Extrovert” usually comes up. The general consensus is usually something like this.
- Extroversion relates to how outgoing someone is
- Introversion relates to how shy or quiet someone is.
That was kind of my general belief as well. But after researching the topic of Extrovert or Introvert for this week’s CEOM mastermind my research into Carl Jung who developed the term however found that common belief is really off!
The term introvert and extrovert (originally spelled extravert) were popularized by Carl Jung in the early 20th century. However, their meanings got confused between then and now, and we all started thinking that everyone belongs to one camp or the other. But actually, Carl’s point was that these are the very extremes of a scale. This means that many people fall somewhere in the middle of introvert and extravert. People in the middle of the scale are named Ambiverts.
Recent research has shown that introvert and extrovert actually relate to where we get our energy from. Or in other words, how we recharge our brains batteries
Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.
Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.
In the 60s, psychologist Hans Eysenck proposed that the difference between introverts and extroverts was that they simply had different levels of arousal—meaning the extent to which our minds and bodies are alert and responsive to stimulation.
For introverts, this kind of stimulation can be overwhelming, since their rate of arousal is much higher, so they are stimulated easily. Time alone, one-on-one conversations and predictable situations are more likely to be pleasant for introverts who are more sensitive to external stimulation.
Introverts are tricky to understand, since it’s so easy for us to assume that introversion is the same as being shy, when in fact introverts are simply people who find it tiring to be around other people.For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Introverted people are known for thinking things through before they speak, enjoying small, close groups of friends and one-on-one time, needing time alone to recharge and being upset by unexpected changes or last-minute surprises. Introverts are not necessarily shy, and may not even avoid social situations, but they will definitely need some time alone or just with close friends or family after spending time in a big crowd.
Extroverts: On the opposite side of the coin, people who are Extroverted are energized by people. They usually enjoy spending time with others, as this is how they recharge from time spent alone focusing or working hard. This is for example how an extrovert explains the way they gain energy from being around other people: When I am among people, I make eye contact, smile, and maybe chat if there’s an opportunity (like being stuck in a long grocery store line). As an extrovert, that’s a small ‘ping’ of needed energy, a little positive moment in the day.
Ambiverts – the in-between’s
Since introverts and extroverts are the extremes of the scale, the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle. Many of us lean one way or the other, but there are some who are quite balanced between the two tendencies. These people are named Ambiverts.
For this research and CEOM lesson I took a personality test. As it turns out I fall in the middle of Introvert and Extrovert… I am an Ambivert.
I took the free test 1-3-2014: TEST LINK: http://www.danpink.com/assessment
Here is what my test result said: “You’re an Ambivert. That means you’re neither strongly introverted nor strongly extraverted. Recent research by Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Management has found that Ambiverts make the best salespeople. Ambiverts tend to be adept at the quality of attunement. They know when to push and when to hold back, when to speak up and when to shut up. So don’t fall for the myth of the extraverted sales star. Just keep being your Ambiverted self”.
Additional, Ambiverts exhibit both extroverted and introverted tendencies. This means that they generally enjoy being around people, but after a long time this will start to drain them. I recognize this in myself and even mentioned it I think at our last mastermind. My guess is some of you are Ambiverts as well. Ambiverts enjoy solitude and quiet, but not for too long.
Ambiverts recharge their energy levels with a mixture of social interaction and alone time. For me I can be home two days working and writing, but on day 3 I need to be out meeting face to face with people. If I do not get out with people and have a stimulating conversation I get tired and agitated and become unproductive, as my energy was drained after two days of being an introvert. Being in the middle I need half time as an extrovert and half time as in introvert any given week. I have learned through trial and error that two days inside by myself working and writing and then two days outside meeting with friends and business associates works very well for optimum balanced energy and happiness for my psyche.
Though Ambiverts seem to be the more boring personality type by being in the middle of everyone else, this balance can actually be a good thing. A study by Adam Grant, author of *Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success found that Ambiverts perform much better in sales than either pure introverts or pure extroverts. Ambiverts actually closed 24% more sales.
The commonly held myth that being highly extroverted is important for a salesperson is actually untrue, since extreme extroverts lack the balance of a Ambiverts which helps them to use varied and creative approaches to closing a sale. I call it good cop…bad cop marketing.:]
In closing I suggest you take the Introvert / Extrovert test. It is free….TEST LINK: http://www.danpink.com/assessment
Then knowing where you are on the scale you will better know how to flow your energy and discharge, or recharge your energy level for the week.
Also, remember we live in an ever-changing creative Universe. Nothing is fixed. You can change how you react to life and who you are by your thoughts and repetition. We are masters – not prisoners of our mind and our DNA.
Research: Carl Jung Library, Wikipedia, Belle Beth Cooper