An introvert in a very extroverted world

Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature. – Albert Einstein

INTP. Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. That was the result of a Myers-Briggs Personality test that I took a few years ago, at a time when I felt like my life wasn’t going anywhere. I relied on a test that contained a bunch of “would you rather-”s to tell me who I am. I guess when we’re desperate to find answers we resort to almost anything, even our daily horoscopes to give us some direction.

The test didn’t do me much good. However, one part of the test caught my attention – the “I”. I received a 100 percent score in this area despite my recent, fairly successful, attempts to combat shyness. Again, the test suggested that I do some “back end” work where I limit my contact to people. I’ve heard this so many times that it makes me angry. I like people. I want to be a people’s person. A few years later, I came across a book called “Introversion Advantage.”

I’ve always thought that extroversion leads to happiness and success, especially for a young male venturing out to make a living. I’ve been taught this in Psychology too. This book suggested otherwise. The author argues that most psychologists who do such studies are often extroverts and end up using the wrong factors to measure such indicators. While most of the book was giving obvious facts, there were some eye-opening lessons in there.

Introverts get their energy from solitude. We need our downtime. When we spend a significant amount of time in social situations, we feel exhausted. This reminds me of a moment in Pittsburgh when I would go to my room to just lie down after coming back from a whole day of social interaction. A friend of mine thought I had a special someone to talk to on the phone, who I was hiding from everyone else. The truth is I just wanted to be alone.

Here are some other eye-openers:

  • During the IDC at Harvard, I had interacted with so many people in such a small span of time that I could hardly breathe (i’m not exaggerating!). Furthermore, I could barely find a spot where I could be alone. The anxiety was building up until it was too much to handle. I decided to give myself a break – I walked out of the building towards my hotel. I went into my room, took 5 minutes to recharge, and was back to socialize again.
  • Now I’m sure you’ve seen this. During University hours, I get so exhausted that social interaction becomes impossible. That is when my iPod comes in handy. I just pop in my headphones and exclude myself from the world. I was surprised to know that some people actually call me “the iPod guy.”

The fact is that we live in a time where extroversion is celebrated. “Go-getters” and outgoing people are considered smarter and more ambitious. Introverts have their advantage. We are intuitive people who make great listeners. We tend to be more perceptive and are able internalize our judgments. Just because we don’t talk as much or socialize as much as others does not mean that we are not engaged members of society .

Introverts make up 25% of the world’s population. However, many people who thought they were extroverts might be introverts or vice versa. Perhaps a lot of you can relate to what I’ve said above and realize that you might be an introvert as well. Think about what gives you your boost – you might be surprised.

Famous Introverts — Actors

Clint Eastwood, actor/director

Harrison Ford, actor

Tom Hanks, actor

Sir Alfred Hitchcock, film director

Jack Lemmon, late actor

Bill Macy, actor

Steve Martin, all around talented guy

Noah Wiley, actor

Other Famous Introverts

Johnny Carson, former Tonight Show host

Jane Clayson, host of CBS Morning Show

Matt Lauer, co-host on the Today Show

David Letterman, host of the David Letterman Show

Diane Sawyer, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America

Barbara Walters, host of 20/20

source of famous introverts: