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I am often asked if a person can change from an introvert to an extrovert. Strengths and personality types are consistent over time. So while you can’t change your personality type, you can change in significant ways by understanding your personality type.  What about nature and nurture? How can understanding what is natural about you versus environmental factors help you learn and grow?  How can you help your children and others in your life embrace their gifts whether they are introverts or extroverts? You don’t change from being an introvert to an extrovert, but understanding and embracing who you are can lead to great success and happiness.

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child

Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths

Embracing Your Introverted Strengths: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Parenting

Hello, and a very warm welcome to all the introverts out there seeking a deeper understanding of their strengths and the unique qualities that make us who we are. I’m David Hall, host of The Quiet and Strong Podcast and the creator of quietandstrong.com. Our mission is to dive into the rich inner world of introverts, celebrating our natural preferences and discussing how we navigate a world that often seems tailored to our more extroverted counterparts.

The Myth of Changing Personalities

One of the most intriguing conversations I’ve had since starting this podcast revolves around the concept of introversion and extroversion as changeable traits. Many people have confessed to me that they believe their personalities have shifted over time, from extroverted to introverted tendencies or vice versa. This brings us to an essential understanding of personality types—you don’t switch from one to another but rather learn to adapt and embrace the person you always were.

A Misunderstood Trait: Introversion

Unfortunately, introversion often carries a negative connotation, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Being an introvert doesn’t equate to being shy, timid, or insecure. Instead, it’s about where you focus your attention and draw your energy. An introvert finds solace and strength in the inner world, processing thoughts and ideas internally, while an extrovert might seek external stimuli for recharging.

Social Needs and Preferences

Despite what some might think, introverts do value relationships—they simply have different social and relational needs. Finding the right balance between socializing and solitary time is key for introverts to thrive. We are not anti-social; our ideal social environments just look different from those of extroverts.

The Stability of Our Introverted Core

Even as we become more socially adept, the core traits of introversion remain unaltered. For myself, this means being a deep thinker and dreamer, often lost in a sea of ideas that doesn’t have an off-button. These are not things that change with our social behavior; they are innate characteristics of being introverted.

Parenting and Understanding Introversion

As a parent of both introverted and extroverted children, I’ve learned the importance of nurturing each personality type differently. The same environment can foster different temperaments, which brings us to the ongoing debate between nature versus nurture. I’ve seen firsthand that while nature provides us with certain innate strengths, nurture plays a significant role in how we develop and how we can change.

The Role of Nature and Nurture in Development

Our experiences, upbringing, and culture shape our personality, impacting our behaviors and actions. Still, certain innate qualities and strengths provided by our nature remain constant. By understanding both the unchangeable and malleable aspects of our character, we can learn to grow in ways that are aligned with our true nature.

Practical Tips for Introverted Parenting

Parenting as an introvert and parenting an introverted child can be uniquely challenging. It’s about respecting your child’s need for solitude and understanding his natural disposition while still encouraging social interaction for a well-rounded development—balancing the innate qualities with nurturing growth.

Fostering Strengths and Confidence in Children

The goal of any parent, regardless of personality type, should be to help their children understand and appreciate their unique strengths. This understanding is crucial, not just for navigating their current environment, but also for future relationships and personal growth.

Conclusion: The Unchanging Nature of Our Introverted Strengths

Personality types, such as introversion or extroversion, are stable over time. We can mature and refine our social skills, but our inherent preferences and inclinations remain constant. By understanding and embracing your introversion, you unlock the potential to live a fulfilling life that is true to you.

Thank you for joining me on this journey into the heart of introversion. Continue exploring your strengths, dare to own your introverted nature, and keep striving for greatness. I encourage you to reach out through quietandstrong.com and share your own experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Remember, there is immeasurable strength in quietness.

Key Takeaways

Introversion and Extroversion as Types: Personality types, particularly introversion and extroversion, are stable over time. While people can develop and grow, their fundamental preferences remain consistent.

Misconceptions about Introversion: Introversion is often wrongly associated with negative traits like shyness or insecurity, but in reality, it refers to a preference for the inner world of ideas and thoughts.

The Role of Nature vs. Nurture: There’s an ongoing debate about whether personality traits like introversion are determined by genetic factors (nature) or by environmental influences (nurture). David Hall suggests both play a role and emphasizes the value of understanding one’s nature to leverage personal strengths.

Parenting and Temperament: Understanding a child’s temperament, whether introverted or extroverted, is crucial for nurturing their innate strengths and supporting their personal development.

Life Change vs. Type Change: While individuals can change and grow in many ways, this doesn’t mean a change in their fundamental personality type. Growth comes from self-understanding and leveraging innate strengths, not from converting from introversion to extroversion or vice versa.

Importance of Embracing Introversion: Recognizing and valuing the gifts of introversion can lead to success and happiness. Introverts need to find a balance between social interaction and alone time based on their preferences.

Focus on Strengths: Encouraging introverts, including children, to focus on their strengths rather than fixating on perceived weaknesses can lead to greater self-confidence and fulfillment.

Make Changes Now

1. Self-Assessment: Spend some time reflecting or journaling to better understand your natural preferences and personality type. Assess whether you align more with introversion or extroversion and how that manifests in your daily life. You can also take a free personality assessment quiz here.

2. Strengths Focus: Make a list of your strengths and consider ways you can apply them more fully in your personal and professional life. Emphasize using these strengths to bring out the best in yourself instead of focusing on weaknesses.

3. Personal Recharge Plan: Create a personal plan that balances social interaction with the alone time you need to recharge. Determine what activities energize you and what drains you, and plan your week accordingly.

4. Education on Temperament: If you have children or significant others, engage in conversations about temperament. Share insights about where you each get your energy from and how you focus your attention, and discuss how you can support each other’s different social needs.

5. Embrace and Share: Work on embracing your introversion as a strength and not as a societal deficit. Consider sharing your insights with friends or family members to help dispel misconceptions about introversion and to foster a greater understanding of personality types.

Ensure to connect these actions to your daily habits and interactions to maximize the benefits of the insights from “The Quiet And Strong Podcast.”

Timestamped Overview

00:00 Introversion not shy; focus on inner world.

06:15 Embracing introversion, yet comfortable in social settings.

11:09 Nature vs nurture in shaping personality and development.

14:00 Self-discovery, nature vs. nurture, supporting others.

18:51 Focusing on strengths and needs benefits relationships.

19:56 Parenting: Embrace differences, and build on strengths.

23:02 Introversion is not about shyness or socializing.

Podcast Transcript

David Hall [00:00:10]:
Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall and the creator of quietandstrong.com. This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced. Normally, we air each episode on Monday mornings, So be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. So last week, we talked about personality assessment and understanding strengths. And soon after I recorded that podcast, I was having a meeting with someone, you know, someone that’s I’m just starting to get to know. I don’t know very well.

David Hall [00:00:53]:
And, in our conversation, personality came up, and we started talking about the Myers Briggs type indicator. Yes. That can come up for me in conversation, the Myers Briggs. And this person said that His personality, you know, introversion, extroversion, for him, it changed over time. He had been more of a extrovert, and now he’s more of a introvert. And so we talked about that for a few minutes And how personality is really stable over time when it comes to type like introversion, extroversion. But why the assessment results might change? Of course, that’s not what we are meeting about, so we just talked for a few minutes. I definitely didn’t get to finish up the conversation, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had these conversations where people are insistent that that personality types change over time.

David Hall [00:02:01]:
I’ve heard people say, oh, yeah. I used to be an introvert, but now I’m an extrovert. You know, they’ve learned to be more social, and now they’re they’re cured of their introversion. Or maybe it’s the other way around. They used to be more extroverted, And now they’re more introverted since they like to spend more time alone at whatever point they are in life now. You know, it sounds like being cured of being an introvert means that they’re more outgoing than they used to be. And that doesn’t make them more of an extrovert but rather now they’re outgoing introvert which is which is great. And I do get tired of the word introversion being used with a negative connotation that some people don’t wanna be associated with.

David Hall [00:02:54]:
After all as we have talked about before introversion does not mean shy, timid, fearful, or insecure. These terms can apply to either introvert or an extrovert. And either introvert or extrovert can overcome things such as shyness. An introvert turns to the inner world of ideas more than turning outward, And an extrovert has more of a focus on the outside world. Of course, everyone thinks, And everyone pays attention to what’s going on around them to varying degrees. You can’t just measure introversion or extroversion solely on the basis of how outwardly social someone appears, but you need to know or they need to know What’s happening on the inside and what’s their preference? So again, You can be as social as you want to be by understanding your natural preferences and what you need. So if you are social as you want to be, why does understanding about your introversion matter? If you claim to be an extrovert but truly have introverted preferences, you’re really not understanding your gifts. In my case, I’m a deep thinker, a dreamer, and I can get lost in thought.

David Hall [00:04:26]:
I’ve always spent more time in my head, and, you know, that’s not gonna change for me. I have constant ideas, and it’s not something I choose. And there’s not an off switch for my ideas either. I can’t just decide, okay, I don’t want to have as many ideas. I spend a lot of time in my head and the ideas are very natural. But I’ve learned to appreciate who I am and the gifts I have, And I wouldn’t change it even if I could. And even becoming more social, It hasn’t changed these introverted traits. Like I said, I naturally spend more time in my inner world of ideas.

David Hall [00:05:16]:
I think before I speak as an introvert. Often, I prefer to communicate in writing rather than speaking, And I may be drained by some social interaction but energized by deep thought. So those things aren’t gonna change for me. No matter how social I am or I want to be, those things are still at the core of my Introversion. In introverts deeply value relationships with others, but an introvert social and relationships needs may be different than the needs of Vert. As an introvert, I definitely need some time alone to think or time to recharge after certain activities. For me, it’s about finding the right balance between social interaction and alone time, and it’s different for every introvert. The key is to figure out what your ideal balance is and work towards that.

David Hall [00:06:15]:
I can be very social and very outspoken sometimes, But at my core, I am and will always be an introvert, and learning to understand myself and embrace my gifts has made me better. So these are the kinds of things I think about when people tell me, I used to be an introvert or I used to be an extrovert. It’s like, no. You’ve just really learned to embrace who you are and get what you want out of life by learning who you are, but You naturally, have a preference for introversion or extroversion. And as an introvert, you can be as social as you want. But what do you want? That’s the key. Maybe Friday, you wanna go out to a loud party, and then Saturday, you wanna binge on Netflix. You know what’s fun to you and what’s not.

David Hall [00:07:09]:
And just because introverts have certain social expectations and needs, that doesn’t mean that introvert would have the same needs or expectations. What is fun? Keep in mind that an extrovert needs people to recharge. Their social needs are greater. They need social interaction after time spent alone, or they may begin to feel very isolated. On the flip side, an introvert can be perfectly comfortable and successful in social settings But need social interaction a little less. And as I mentioned, they may need time alone to recharge after Some types of social interaction. The key in all this is to understand yourself, your strengths, and what you need. Remember, it’s not good or bad to be an introvert or extrovert, but it’s important to be aware of what makes you happy.

David Hall [00:08:10]:
So what about the assessment that my friend took? Did he change over time? Keep in mind that you are self reporting and you can be in a particular situation where you think that there’s some right answers. You know, maybe you’re doing some type of preemployment screening or even just an assessment at work, and you you think there’s some answers you’re supposed to give, and you’re not really being true for yourself. You know, you might think I’m supposed to be like this in a particular situation, And so that can definitely play into it. Also, you know, our personality types are on a spectrum. And in some of our types, we might be really close. And so, again, just answering it a different way on one day Could flip flop a a close score, but, again, no matter what your score is, Your preference comes very natural to you and is stable over time. But can you change? Absolutely. That’s what this podcast is all about.

David Hall [00:09:22]:
I am not saying you can’t change. I’m just saying that you don’t change from being an introvert to an extrovert, but I believe you can find great success and great happiness by understanding yourself and your gifts. You can learn, mature, grow. Over time, your values and interests are gonna change. You can learn how to be the best version of yourself, and your self confidence can skyrocket. So does your type change? I say no. But understanding your type, you can change into the person you want to be. So Definitely, you can change.

David Hall [00:10:03]:
That’s what it’s all about. You can be successful. You can be happy, But that comes from knowing yourself and knowing your type. Keep in mind, you don’t choose introversion or extroversion Just like you don’t choose being right or left handed, and introversion and extroversion are not good or bad. So very related to this, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to be a good parent, Especially when it comes to parenting an introverted child and extroverted children. You know, we’ve been spending a lot of time together this past year with my wife and 3 kids, all of us being at home most of the time. So I was listening to a podcast on introversion, and the subject came up with nature versus nurture. 2 psychologists were discussing this, and neither seemed to be sure if introversion was caused by nature or nurture.

David Hall [00:11:09]:
And if you haven’t heard of this before, nature is is referring to what we inherit from our genes and the factors that influence who we are, our personality characteristics, and our physical appearance. Nurture is about those environmental factors that impact who we are such as how we are raised, our culture, In our social relationships. Ever since my days as a young psychology undergraduate, I’ve considered this debate and how it applies to me personally, and I’ve come to realize that my nature Helps me know who I am, where I am strong, and where my talents are. Understanding how I developed Or how I didn’t develop due to nurture helps me realize how I can change. I didn’t know what an introvert was when I was younger. It was definitely not nurtured to embrace these natural gifts. And I often wonder what life would have been like if this was understood by me, my family, society. I am trying to be a good and nurturing parent and understand my children’s unique strengths.

David Hall [00:12:28]:
I have 3 kids, And they were raised in the same environment, you know, by 2 introverted parents, and we have an introvert and 2 extroverts. 1 child’s definitely all about being social in the outer world. Another child is more like me and drawn to the inner world of ideas. And the 3rd child seems to have a balance between the inner and outer worlds. Again, none of this is good or bad. All my kids are brilliant, and they have great gifts. They’re just different. Same parents, same environment, but different personalities ever since the beginning.

David Hall [00:13:14]:
You know as an introvert, I don’t need as much social interaction as my extroverted child. Social interaction is very important to me. I just don’t need as much. And social interaction is a good example for me when it comes to the nature versus nurture argument. In the early part of my life, I had some issues being as social as I wanted to be. The lack of understanding of my introversion along with my doubts, Fears and anxiety, I’ll play a part of this. However, I learned that I could become better at social interaction and enjoy The level of interaction that I wanted. Improving my social skills is something I could change by adjusting my thoughts Developing new habits and skills.

David Hall [00:14:00]:
I’ve come so far, but I think we’re all a work in progress. I’m still learning and growing, and I’m still in the phase of self discovery. I know that discovering which parts of me are natural, Those qualities I was born with that cannot be changed, and what parts or nurture, Those perceptions and habits from my upbringing that can be addressed. This helps me learn and grow in ways I did not imagine earlier in life. Where are your natural gifts? What do you want, and where do you wanna change? How can you support a child in understanding themselves or another significant person in your life? As you begin to understand the roles that nature and nurture play in your introversion, you can begin your journey in becoming the person You wanna be and help others succeed by doing the same. Susan Cain, the famous author of Quiet, I wrote an article called the 10 tips for parenting an introverted child. Kane says, Don’t just accept your child for who she is. Treasure her for who she is.

David Hall [00:15:22]:
Each child comes with gifts, and we should measure them. Cain goes on to say that we should figure out their passions and help them develop them. It is possible they may be different from the traditional childhood activities. Fitting in can be difficult for an introverted child. Now that I’m a parent, I look at my introverted child and seek to understand him and how I can best encourage him. Although my son can be very much like me, he is so much better adjusted than I was at his age. I think this is in large part due to the fact that we as his parents have a better understanding of introversion. We certainly had issues to work through, but I’ve learned how to help him through many pitfalls of introversion.

David Hall [00:16:12]:
I don’t push him too hard when it comes to new things or new people, but at the same time, I don’t let him opt out. Also, When he spends time in his room alone, I don’t worry too much. And as parents of an introvert child, we have many opportunities to help him gain understanding and learn what is wonderful about himself. Remember, embrace the introvert, Especially if he or she is your child. I was listening to the radio, and the guest was speaking about parenting. She said something to the effect that parenting was one of the toughest yet most rewarding thing anyone can do. I’ve often thought this since becoming a parent. Parenting can also be difficult in the context of introversion and extroversion.

David Hall [00:17:06]:
And no kids are the same, and they definitely don’t come with owner’s manuals. How about 2 introverts Parenting extroverts. As I mentioned, my wife and I are both introverts, and we have 2 extroverted children. These different dynamics can be challenging. For example, sometimes I can’t keep up with the amount of talking my extroverts might need, Or I might be concerned I’m not speaking enough with any of my children. You may have different dynamics in your family. 1 introverted and 1 extroverted parent or 2 extroverted parents and so on. In the hidden gifts of the introverted child, Marty Olsen Laney writes, speak with your children about temperament.

David Hall [00:17:57]:
Even very young children can understand that people are born with unique personalities. Explain that part of temperament is about where someone gets his energy and where he focuses his attention. Inside himself or outside himself. Understanding the idea of temperament will help your child whether any perceived criticism of his introverted nature. This way he knows there’s a reason for his responses and needs, And he won’t take things as personally. Give him the tools he needs to gauge other people’s temperaments. Accepting that others are different in their own way will enhance his people skills and tolerance. Since I started blogging, I’ve had more conversations with my kids about their temperaments.

David Hall [00:18:51]:
And it’s not about labels, but rather about their strengths and needs. And, definitely, in the beginning, I talked with them about their strengths and needs. For example, I might talk with my introvert about his great thinking ability, Sometimes how he might need to ask for time to think about something before responding. Or I may tell my Extrovert that I need 15 minutes to unwind, and then I can come watch that play she’s putting on. I also encourage her to put on that play or that puppet show and use those great gifts that she has. I’m not saying to them you are a introvert and you are extrovert, but rather talking to them about what’s happening, what they’re experiencing. I’m finding that not only will this improve our relationships now, but will also help them in future relationships. And most of all, it will help them better understand and use their strengths to be happy and successful.

David Hall [00:19:56]:
I did have to laugh when my Daughter was younger and she often listened to my wife and I discuss my blog. Then I heard her say to her brother, I’m an extrovert, and I need people. At that point, we had not told her she was an extrovert, but it was true. And as introverted parents, we have to be aware of her social needs even though they’re different from our social needs. At the same time, we need to respect the need for alone time in our introverted children But encourage balance and exploring and interacting with others. I am definitely not a perfect father, But I am really trying to help my kids have confidence in who they are and help them see the wonder of their own unique gifts. As parents, helping your children understand who they are and how they work best will go so much farther than trying to change their nature. When you work with your child’s strengths instead of against them, You will help them be strong.

David Hall [00:21:11]:
So whether you’re working on yourself or trying to be a good parent, Like I said, I don’t see our personality type is changing, but you can learn to embrace it. One of my favorite books by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, Now Discover Your Strengths. This book isn’t about type but it’s about strengths But the concept is the same in embracing who you are and helping others do the same, and I really love this quote. To excel in your chosen field and find lasting satisfaction in doing so. You will need to understand your unique patterns. You will need to become an expert in finding and describing and applying and practicing and refining your strengths. And the concept is giving the majority of our focus to our strengths will produce far more success and happiness than if you choose to focus on your weakness. Of course, we do need to deal with our weaknesses, but the focus should always be on our strengths.

David Hall [00:22:17]:
So Focus on your strengths. Help your children focus on their strengths. Help the significant others in your life focus on your strengths. And, you know, as we talk about these things, another funny story. A relative of my wife read a article where I talked about her my wife as being an introvert and my extroverted daughter. After reading it, the relative texted my wife, I always thought you were extrovert, Not that there’s anything wrong with being an introvert. And I think this is a good example. The introversion continues to be misunderstood.

David Hall [00:23:02]:
If someone thinks the definition of introvert is based on how social someone appears, being confident versus being shy and awkward, Then my wife would probably be guest to be an extrovert. However, that’s not the definition. And like we we’ve been saying throughout the episode, introversion is not a measure of shyness or social skills. And as I was struggling to embrace my own introversion, it was helpful to realize my wife was a fellow introvert, We’re very happy with who she is. She’s very confident, doesn’t have issues socializing. Although she doesn’t always necessarily enjoy it, And she’s a very deep and highly creative thinker. While she’s full fully capable of social interaction, She definitely prefers a small gathering of close friends and family to a wild and crazy party with strangers. She also needs some quiet time to think and recharge from time to time.

David Hall [00:24:05]:
Give her some time to think, and she comes up with some very creative ideas And is an amazing problem solver. And if you’re introvert, I know you have some amazing talents to share as well. What is right with you? What is the unique contribution you bring? So Like my wife was told, not that there’s anything wrong with that about being an introvert. I wanna shout no. Being an introvert is awesome. We need to move past these false definitions of introversion as shy, awkward, strange, etcetera, and rather see the great gifts of the individual. Let’s proudly claim the title introvert and use it to identify with the extraordinary abilities we each have Rather as a label to describe what we perceive as lacking. By utilizing our unique strengths and abilities while recognizing our distinct needs.

David Hall [00:25:04]:
Rather than comparing ourselves with those who have different gifts, we can attain the greatness That is exclusively ours. So, again, do strengths change? Do personality types change? I say no. I say we can change by understanding our strengths and personality types. And by doing that, we can really excel. Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at quietandstrong.com. Email me at david@quietandstrong.com.

David Hall [00:25:41]:
I will add social media channels to the show notes. Please Comment on social media posts related to the podcast. Send me topics or questions, and we can address those on the show. So many great things about being an introvert, and we need those to be understood. Let’s keep the conversation going, Get to know your introverted strengths and needs, and be strong.

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