“We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.”
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
In America, we live in an extroverted world. If you doubt that, just go into a restaurant in any U.S. city. Folks may start out in quiet conversation, but as the restaurant fills, they get louder and louder so that their own precious words can be heard above the hub-bub. By the end of the evening, the volume is quite literally deafening. For extroverts, this is hardly noticeable; for introverts, it is painful.
This difference is not because extroverts are loud-mouths, and introverts are socially awkward, as it is that one thinks out loud, and the other thinks internally. One does more listening than talking, and one does more talking than listening. A true test of introversion vs. extroversion is the great American cocktail party. An extrovert is in his element, often called, “the life of the party.” And, in the words of Criss Jami, (Killosophy) “Telling an introvert to go to a party is like telling a saint to go to Hell.” Introverts are not masters of small talk--and they don't want to be.
But, here's the thing—we need both types in this world. There is power in being able to stand out in a crowd, being able create ideas with words and actions, and being able to present those ideas articulately. There is also value in being thoughtful and deliberative, being able to think things though and weigh all the options before diving into action. Extroverts talk their ideas into being, discover what they think while they're talking, and introverts think their ideas into being, and then present them. Extroverts work best in teams where ideas can be tossed around and expanded by the group. Introverts work best alone or in concert with one or two others. They express themselves better in writing than in speaking.
Whichever type you are, know that your gifts are valuable. One is not superior to the other. Being the best you, bringing what you have to offer to the world in a manner that is authentically yourself, is what truly matters.
In the Spirit,