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Scott McBeth

Introversion and Extroversion

Introversion and Extroversion

Written by Scott McBeth - Chief Development Officer, Affective Consulting

I stumbled on to a Ted Talk the other day, and I'd like to tell you about it. I have watched it a number of times to date, and I am so moved and inspired by it, that I feel compelled to share it with you.

In Susan Cain's talk entitled, "The Power of Introverts," she talks about the manner in which we celebrate and even favour the extrovert, in Western culture. She talks about how our schools and workplaces are largely designed around the idea that we should all strive to work in ways and environments where significant group work and high levels of stimulation dominate; environments where extroverts typically thrive. Introverts,  not so much. Extroverts are often favoured, or rewarded with leadership positions over introverts, even though there is no reason to believe that they are better positioned for success in these roles, based on their extroversion alone. What happens to our introverts?

In a lot of ways I feel like Susan Cain could have been speaking directly to me. I have felt like I have been misunderstood, in this way, for much of my life. This talk really explains a lot of what I have encountered and struggled with internally, through my years. Her insight validates me. It makes me feel like I can just be me.....but where do we go from here?

Each of us is capable of creative thought, innovation, or meaningful contribution, but the way that we get there can be very different.  I believe that we need to get better at honouring and valuing the diversity in the creative process, and how we get there. We need to allow people the opportunity to work in alignment with their natural strengths and instincts. When we begin to move to a more balanced representation of this thought, and to a more introspective thought process, we will start to harness the power of diversity in thought, and diversity in people. I find that thought very inspiring.