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Do you feel like you are alone in being an introvert?

In this episode, David dispels the myth that introverts are a small minority of the population, and gives insight into what being an introvert truly means. If you’re an introvert, you’re in good company, with most estimates putting over half the population as introverts. Introversion doesn’t mean shyness or a lack of confidence or social ability, but rather where your natural focus is more on your inner world of thoughts and ideas instead of focused outward.

Let’s learn to immerse “ourselves in the joy, the genius, and the power of who we naturally are” by embracing the strength that comes with introversion. 


Books mentioned in this podcast:
Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe

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David Hall
Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
quietandstrong.com
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david@quietandstrong.com

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Podcast Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong Podcast, Especially for introverts.  I am your host, David Hall and 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 will air each episode on Mondays.  Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform, leave a review, tell a friend, help get the word out there.

It is estimated that 50% of the population are introverts.  To many, this comes as a surprise. Does this surprise you? 

I have had people argue with me about this.  If it is a surprise it probably means that the person doesn’t really understand what introversion is and isn’t. So we need to continue to bust these myths for greater understanding. I have a few examples of some misunderstandings.

I remember when I attended a retirement celebration for a psychologist friend of mine. She spoke of how she used to be an introvert, but she could not remain as an introvert for long in the organization she worked for.

Soon after, I was listening to a radio psychologist who said that he was an introvert, but people that he shared this with act surprised saying something like “you don’t act like an introvert” since he is on the radio, does public speaking, and appears generally friendly and outgoing. 

I heard someone ask the question of somebody “Were you an introvert in high school?”  And it was asked in a derogatory way, as if there was something wrong with that. 

In these cases the word “introvert” is being used synonymously with “shy” and about “outward behavior” rather than its true meaning.

Do you hear people think that introversion can be overcome or have you tried to overcome introversion? 

Maybe you are an outgoing introvert?  Do you relate to the psychologist that people are surprised to hear he is an introvert or don’t believe him? Do you think your behavior determines whether you are an introvert or not?

Do you hear many confuse introversion and shyness?  Have you confused these terms?

These examples lack understanding of what introversion is and implies that something is wrong with it and it is something that can be changed.  Again, introversion does not mean being shy.  Both introverts and extroverts can be shy. Also, introversion and extroversion are traits we are born with, not something we can choose or change.  If these traits are not understood, they can cause problems.  For example, if you are an introvert who usually thinks before speaking and you are conversing with someone who is talking non-stop because they are speaking in order to think, you may have a conflict.  In this example, you do not choose to not think before speaking; it is part of how you are made. But understanding how each of us is wired allows us to find and focus on our strengths.  I am an introvert and I think deeply.  With this deep thinking, one of my strengths is to be able to analyze what is going on around me, see connections, and come up with ideas on how to make things better. Our individual strengths are also hard-wired within each of us, so it’s difficult to try to excel at a strength we do not have to be something we are not. But as we focus on our own unique talents – the strengths we DO have, we can learn to use our gifts and become strong in our own way. What makes you strong as an introvert?

Laurie Helgoe in Introvert Power also tells a similar story as a psychologist.  After about ten years as a success psychologist she said that she admitted to herself and her analyst that she found the “social exchange” taxing and acknowledged that she was an introvert.  With this acknowledgement she felt like she came alive, found moments of flow, and a new found energy.

From “Introvert Power”: 

“For the many frustrated introverts out there, what is needed is not a move towards extraversion, but as a friend of mine put it, an opportunity to melt into introversion. This book is not about finding balance – we are really tired of doing that! Besides, finding balance assumes that we’ve been allowed to be fully introverted. We have not. This book is about embracing the power of introversion. It’s about indulging, melting into, drinking in, immersing ourselves in the joy, the genius, and the power of who we naturally are – and not just on the occasional retreat. But in the living of our lives. Ironically balance will only come to us if we forget about extraversion for a while and balance will only come to our society when we see and respect the introversion in all of us.” 

Have you melted into introversion?

Have you lived allowing yourself to be fully introverted?

I resonate so much with this story.  For so long I tried to be something I wasn’t. Embracing my introverted strengths and honoring my needs has given me a whole new level of energy, happiness, success, and peace.  I have also found many more moments of flow.

So are there less introverts than extroverts?  This was another big eye opener in Laurie Helgoe’s book that she calls the Biggest Lie.

“The biggest lie is that introverts are in the minority, making up 1/4 or 1/3 of the population, depending on what you’ve read. 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’re also repeatedly quoted in self-help books many of us use as resources.”

She claims that it is more of a 50/50 split, maybe even more introverts, and sites capt.org Center for Applications of Psychological Type

 I decided to check out this site today and look at the current figures. I will add this link to the show notes. This site contains the Estimated Frequencies of the Types in the United States Population.  This is based on the Myers-Briggs personality types. You can see this broken down by introversion/extroversion or the other letters or you can see the percentage of your 4 letter code is represented in the population.  So extroverts are

E

45-53%

And introverts are

I

47-55%

So it is about a 50/50 split leaning slightly higher towards introverts. Again, introversion is a natural way of being.  We turn inward more off than not.  While we do need some alone time we also need and value our connections with others.  Introversion is something to understand and be proud of.

I have had conversations where people were confiding in me that they were an introvert.  In a workshop I was conducting, I had someone that I knew quite well tell me, you may not know this, but I am an introvert.  I had a little laugh inside and thought to myself I knew this already.  She said I can be social.  I said of course, we all need to be social, but you get drained from time to time and need a break, she agreed.  I have watched her make decisions at a high level and tell people she needed some time to think.  I told her that her brilliance and success came from her strengths as an introvert.

I know a very outspoken introvert.  He “admitted” to me that he was an introvert when we were talking about my book.  Again, very confident and outspoken, but a gifted and deep thinker.

You can’t always guess whether a person is an introvert or extrovert.  Of course there are clues from the outside looking in.  Our type is our orientation or preference towards the inner world of ideas, but is not behavior.  Behavior does give some clues, but only the person knows whether they are naturally inwardly or outwardly focused and what they enjoy doing, what strengthens them, where they feel confident, and what drains them.

I am troubled that introversion is still so misunderstood, even by some psychologists. As I have studied introversion extensively over the years, both in myself and others, here’s my take on introversion:

I am naturally drawn to the inner world of ideas and have a great imagination.

I spend more time in thought than I do focusing on the world around me.

I think before I speak.

I do better when I prepare in advance for meetings, presentations, and speeches.

Sometimes I need some time alone to think and recharge. I have learned what triggers my need for some solitude.

Often I need time to process answers to questions, especially complex ones.

I prefer deep conversations to small talk.

I also prefer having a few deep relationships to many casual acquaintances.

Coming to understand these ideas has made all of the difference in the world for me. I used to have difficulty in some social situations, because I didn’t understand myself and somehow felt that I was “less-than”… But understanding who I am and how I naturally function frees me to be who I want to be. But my point is that no matter how comfortable I am in social situations and regardless of whether I am “quiet” in some settings, the things that make me an introvert will not change. What is at the core of my introversion is who I am. Understanding these things about my personality allows me to make changes in how I do things, and how I approach situations. By learning who I am I can learn the very best way to accomplish my goals. There are great gifts that come from introversion. What are your gifts? Let people know.

None of us are exactly alike.  Personalities are unique for each individual, and there are as many different personalities as there are people.  While our personalities are multifaceted, I do feel there are some commonalities that can come to understand and appreciate from all sides of the introversion/extroversion spectrum.

Again it is a 50/50 split, so either you are an introvert or you know someone who is.  Quiet and Strong is dedicated to helping you embrace your introversion or to bring understanding about someone in your life – whether that be a spouse, child, brother, sister, student, co-worker, employee, boss, customer, or stranger.  The goal is to help all introverts embrace their natural strengths and bring a great understanding to all about introversion and extroversion.

If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there is now a Free Typefinder Personality Assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you the 4-letter Myers-Briggs code and you can purchase an extended report if you’d like to learn more. I will add a link in the show notes.

Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out at david@quietandstrong.com. Or check out the quietandstrong.com website. I will add social media channels to the show notes. Please comment on the social media posts related to this podcast.  Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. So many great things about being an introvert and so we need those to be understood.  Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be Strong!

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