If understanding yourself is the key to understanding how you experience the world, then how do you understand yourself?
From the time that I was able to think about the ideas of extraversion and introversion, I instantly knew I was an extravert. I loved people, felt social, was comfortable in a large crowd, and had no problem talking to strangers. I even enjoyed concerts and public speaking!
But then I started to think a little deeper about my personality and began to question the single personality trait which I thought I knew for sure about myself. I do feel recharged when I spend time alone, thinking or writing or just being by myself, I thought. Am I some sort of social introvert? Or a contemplative extravert?
Personality tests always came to the same conclusion about me: Extravert. No doubt.
This got me thinking. Does it matter? Do I need to label myself in one of these two categories?
According to Myers & Briggs, a person with a higher level of extraversion likes to “spend time in the outer world of people and things,” while those with a higher level of introversion like to spend time in their “inner world of ideas and images.” And if you like to do both? Well, most everyone does. There’s a continuum between extraversion and introversion, and you fall somewhere along that scale.
So why does it matter?
Think about this: If you can figure out where you prefer to spend your time, energy, and attention (internally or externally), you can figure out how to leverage this natural quality in your life.
If you are highly introverted and you’re feeling stressed, some inner reflection and journaling might be more helpful than heading to a party to calm that stress.
On the other hand, if you’re highly extraverted, it might be more effective to calm inner turmoil by reaching out to someone to chat than it would be to do some therapeutic coloring.
This can also be helpful in setting up your days. If you know you’re more extraverted, an entire day of solitary thinking tasks might not be an efficient use of your time; instead, plan to grab lunch with a friend or do something social on these kinds of work days. If you’re more introverted, planning a career in sales may not bring you as much fulfillment as something that would highlight your reflective nature.
Ultimately, extraversion and introversion are just categories made up by people to make sense of people. Whatever you call it, taking a look at your natural tendencies can give you a big advantage when planning your day and your life.
Are you more introverted or extraverted? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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