One of the biggest arguments against introversion is that you can choose to be introverted or extroverted.
I hate this argument because it paints the wrong picture of what being introverted actually means.
You can’t just wake up one day and choose how your brain works. If that were the case, we’d all be making millions of dollars and saving the world.
But unfortunately, we can’t.
We can’t just turn a switch on and consciously choose to become an extrovert or introvert.
It’s a brain setting that’s instilled in us from a very young age and influenced as we grow up.
Susan Cain delves into the science of introversion to show that there is a high correlation of your behavior as a child to how you’ll act later in life.
Correlation does not equal causation — there are so many factors in determining how you act, but the book reveals that there is some type of genetic factor involved in your behavior.
Lucky for us, we’re humans. We have the ability to adapt and learn from our mistakes, making us smarter and more efficient as we grow up.
We have the ability to change our thoughts, habits, and actions.
And over time, this is seen as a behavioral change.
We can’t necessarily ‘choose’ to be an introvert or extrovert overnight, but we can consciously choose to work on our part of the brain where we want to improve.
It’s the same as lifting weights. You can lift and lift and put on more muscle, but you can only go so far until you’ll tap out your genetic potential.
In terms of introversion and extroversion, this means that you can work out your extroverted side of your brain to its maximum potential.
For some people, this will mean they can sustain being around large groups for a couple minutes, while others will be able to sustain energy for days or weeks.
What does this mean for you?
You aren’t 100% an introvert or an extrovert. You’re a mix of both.
If you’re leaning more on the introverted side, you can learn to appreciate the extroverted side even more.
You can try out different techniques to handle social situations and find ones that work for you.
I’ve found that by consciously choosing that I want to be more social and approaching socializing in a different way, I’ve begun to increase my extroverted tendencies over time.
I’ve actually begun to gain energy from socializing, instead of draining it.
It wasn’t an on/off switch, but a skill that’s been more developed.
I still have a preference for introversion, but I’ve noticed that I can sustain going out for longer, and more importantly, I can appreciate people more-so who have more extroverted tendencies.
It wasn’t always easy for me to connect with people that communicate in an opposite way, but by learning how extroverts work and by approaching socializing a little differently, it’s started to become a part of me.
With a decision to become better at handling social situations, you’ll not only become a better social introvert, but you’ll also start to develop an extroverted side to you.
You’ll start to see that certain interactions, even at large parties, will get you energized.
Specifically, I saw this change significantly when I eliminated small talk. It isn’t a clear cut answer of choosing your brain preference, but a muscle that you can develop over time.
Don’t use introversion as an excuse to not go out and socialize — that’ll only hold you back from your goals. Instead, use it a reference tool for how you learn and think.
Use it to become more balanced until down the road where you might learn differently.
You’ll still want to be alone to recharge your energy, but over time and with a conscious decision, you’ll realize that you’ll need less time to recharge and that you’ll grow your extroverted side even bigger.
At this point, you are becoming more balanced.
Please share in the comments how you’re behavior has affected your energy levels because we’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Image by: MAMJODH
January 7th, 2013 | Max Nachamkin | 3 Comments |
About The Author
My name is Max Nachamkin. My mission is to help you master the core three aspects of your life: your career, your health, and your relationships. I want you to conquer your own world and become the leader of your life.
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