And yes, we are not perpetuating yet another victim-cult mentality, only raising awareness to help the vast majority of people who struggle to blend in. Yes, you can make up your mind without being pointed at, as a weirdo. And Why? Despite the false information swarming the media that introverts are the minority in Western countries, Laurie managed to unearth the real story. According to a lot of research and statistics, introverts make up more than half of the population, and they are most-definitely misrepresented.
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Introverts gain energy and power through reflection and solitude. Our culture, however, is geared toward the extrovert.
The pressure to get out there and get happier can lead people to think that an inward orientation is a problem instead of an opportunity. Helgoe shows that the exact opposite is true: introverts can capitalize on this inner source of power. No kidding. The party always ends, after all. Being alone is unavoidable. Laurie fans the embers of wisdom in each of us to honor yearnings that serve as both compass and anchor.
I owe it to her. Dismiss what insults your soul. A mob is crowded together, body to body, dancing and slamming into each other, usually at a live music club or concert. Security guards keep watch in case such a thing happens, but any mosher will tell you that the pit is dangerous. I was number nine of ten creative, mostly LOUD kids competing for airspace. My dad, a pastor who built pipe organs as a hobby, had wall-sized speakers in the living room that blared out classical music.
Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe PDF But instead of ripping paper and shouting, I sat in my corner with my pile of gifts and handled each as a treasure, slowly and carefully opening them, preserving the paper and lingering in the delight of discovery.
I was meditating in the mosh pit. However, when there were no gifts to open and everyone was competing for airtime, I felt invisible and became over-stimulated and anxious. My anxiety was not about the pressure to socialize; there were more than enough bodies to take care of that. My solution was to retreat to my room and write. In my solitude I could regain contact with myself and become solid again. I had a vivid imagination; I wrote science fiction and developed secret codes with my little sister and a neighbor girl.
Though the mosh pit was stressful, I knew that retreating was an option. I lost this freedom when I entered school. In first grade, I got scolded for hiding out in the bathroom with a couple of girls during recess.
I adapted. This was the first time I had acknowledged the simple truth: I am an introvert. My confession of introversion allowed me to rediscover the treasured self I had buried when I first stepped on the school bus.
My analysis provided me the time and space I had craved, and I entered a personal renaissance. I began an active period of writing, learned to craft candles, discovered poetry, and, for the first time, saw a world beyond the constrictions of my profession. What if I relinquished my hard-earned career to sell candles on the art fair circuit? What kind of crazy ideas was I getting from my analyst? It hurts when the self you most value becomes a source of worry.
What kept me going was the energy I discovered. For the first time since my carefree childhood days, I experienced flow. When I took my solitary walks, I felt I could walk forever, basking in the ample space for thought and imagination. I discovered the sky and drew on its vastness as a source of comfort. The world opened to me during these walks, and I began to envision new possibilities for my life.
The sky reminded me that there was so much more than the limited corner of the world I had come to know. I was filled with desire, and that desire led me to new notes and new places. I had befriended my introversion and was transported by its power. Introversion, when embraced, is a wellspring of riches. It took me years to acknowledge this simple reality, to claim my home, and to value all it offers. Perhaps you also feel most at home within.
Even if you only enjoy an occasional visit inside yourself, you may struggle to justify such an indulgence. Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe PDF Because extroversion lines up so well with American values, we introverts often deprive ourselves of what we most enjoy and thrive on.
So, for all of you who draw energy from inside, behind, underneath, or away from it all, welcome home. In fact, the introverts were probably the first to feel crowded in England and to daydream about all the space they would find in the New World. The squeaky wheels get greased, the ones who snooze lose, the best team wins, and the winner takes all.
In this culture of competition, it is no wonder that those of us who prefer introversion feel anxious. We feel split: one part on watch, the other back at headquarters an apt name, if you think about it. If communications between headquarters and the field break down, we lose access to ourselves. From this defensive position, we may feel that our only options are to practice extroversion, go underground, or go crazy.
Perhaps we could draw on our personal and communal strengths to assert introversion in our culture. Sound like a paradox? Defining Our Terms Introversion is an inward orientation to life, and extroversion spelled extraversion in clinical and academic literature is an outward orientation. Introverts prefer introversion; we tend to gain energy by reflecting and expend energy when interacting. Extroverts have the opposite preference; they tend to gain energy by interacting and expend energy while reflecting.
Jung, introversion and extroversion are two opposing forces, or attitude-types, within an individual. The Big Five personality system, which came into prominence in the s, put a slightly different spin on introversion and extroversion. Rather than seeing individuals as possessing both attitudes and preferring one to the other, the Big Five sees individuals as having more or less of a single trait called extroversion.
Each of us falls somewhere along a continuum between the least extroverted and the most extroverted. Introversion is no longer in the vocabulary. In this single-trait model, terms describing extroversion are simply reversed to measure introversion. This simplicity is attractive, measurement is easy, and the model has generated a wealth of important research.
But something essential has been lost. Rather, he saw that people generally preferred to act in the way that came most naturally, just as someone who is right-handed prefers to use her right hand. But whether you prefer I, or you identify most with E, every one of us uses and relies on both approaches. Specialization works well until later life, when the individual gets bored, wants to expand his or her range, and, perhaps with the help of a midlife crisis, begins to explore the shadow side of his or her personality.
Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe PDF The extrovert finds himself mapping a solo pilgrimage, while the introvert gathers friends together for a weekend trip. Type theory assumes that, although preferences remain constant across the lifespan, early specialization gives people the strength and confidence to branch out later in life. But what happens when the young introvert is discouraged or, worse, prohibited from practicing her specialty?
The introvert may adapt and act extroverted, but she walks around with a nagging sense of homelessness. Besides, finding balance assumes that we have been allowed to be fully introverted. This book is about embracing the power of introversion.
Ironically, balance will only come to us if we forget about extroversion for a while, and balance will only come to our society when we see and respect the introversion in all of us. We have personality tests to measure introversion and extroversion. Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe PDF Popular literature has emerged to explain how each of us can understand our personality preferences and use them to our advantage. But lies about introversion are so imbedded in the fabric of our culture that even the literature geared toward correcting misconceptions inadvertently promotes them.
Any introvert who has done a quick web search, attempting to find some company, has probably run across and even quoted these figures. But not only are these figures floating around the Web, they are also repeatedly quoted in self-help books many of us use as resources. When I started my research for this book, I wanted to know where these estimates came from. I wanted to find the research the books were quoting.
Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe PDF And though Big Five personality measures are generating additional data, these instruments do not provide cut-offs to distinguish introverts from extroverts.
I thought those oft-referenced minority estimates would pop right up. But what I found was quite different. The Manual reported the results of the first large-scale U. The results? Introverts comprised This study, the largest to date, was published in Studies on either side show similar ratios. It took me much longer to find the source of claims that introverts make up only a fourth or third of the population.
How can we be so far off? As much as research shows the contrary, the belief that introverts are in the minority has stuck. After all, in America, extroversion is what we value. And we see what we value. So we see extroverts everywhere, and we no longer notice the introverts everywhere.
Sometimes we even miss the one looking back at us in the mirror. We might tell ourselves that introverts are naturally less visible than extroverts.
This lie is as insidious and damaging as the lie about our numbers.
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