Introvert or Extrovert ?

The world over, everyone seems to love the extrovert. Extroverts are outgoing, they bring a party to life and are “supposedly” successful. Introverts are thought of as happy-with-themselves kind, shy and retiring. Most managers in nearly all industries always want their team members to be assertive and outgoing. Imagine a world full of assertive and outgoing people… it would be a bigger madhouse than what it is today. Thank God for the introverts.

Am reading this delightful book titled “Quiet” by Susan Cain. I am discovering amazing things about introverts and how they contribute to the world.

Introvert Extrovert

Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert ?

Most people will peg me as an extrovert. In reality though I fall in the middle – am an Ambivert. That’s a legit word and it perfectly describes me. I enjoy meeting people, but am equally comfortable sitting in a corner with my book oblivious to the world. I enjoy giving gyan or making speeches, but am equally happy to stay silently for hours or days. 🙂

An interesting excerpt from the book –

“Introverts are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling, said Jung, extroverts to the external life of people and activities. Introverts focus on the meaning they make of events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves.” Well, as an Ambivert, I like all of the above!!

Dale Carnegie and How Extroversion became a Cultural Ideal

This is again an excerpt from the book that talks of the rise of Dale Carnegie and how suddenly extroverts became the norm and extroversion became prized.

“………The Chautauqua movement, born in 1873 and based in upstate New York, sends gifted speakers across the country to lecture on literature, science, and religion. Rural Americans prize these presenters for the whiff of glamour they bring from the outside world—and their power to mesmerize an audience. This particular speaker captivates the young Dale with his own rags-to-riches tale: once he’d been a lowly farm boy with a bleak future, but he developed a charismatic speaking style and took the stage at Chautauqua.

Dale hangs on his every word. A few years later, Dale is again impressed by the value of public speaking. His family moves to a farm three miles outside of Warrensburg, Missouri, so he can attend college there without paying room and board. Dale observes that the students who win campus speaking contests are seen as leaders, and he resolves to be one of them. He signs up for every contest and rushes home at night to practice. Again and again he loses; Dale is dogged, but not much of an orator. Eventually, though, his efforts begin to pay off. He transforms himself into a speaking champion and campus hero. Other students turn to him for speech lessons; he trains them and they start winning, too.

Dale’s last name is Carnegie (Carnagey, actually; he changes the spelling later, likely to evoke Andrew, the great industrialist). After a few grueling years selling beef for Armour and Company, he sets up shop as a public-speaking teacher. Carnegie holds his first class at a YMCA night school on 125th Street in New York City.”

Culture of Personality Vs Culture of Character

“…..Carnegie’s metamorphosis from farmboy to salesman to public-speaking icon is also the story of the rise of the Extrovert Ideal. Carnegie’s journey reflected a cultural evolution that reached a tipping point around the turn of the twentieth century, changing forever who we are and whom we admire, how we act at job interviews and what we look for in an employee, how we court our mates and raise our children. America had shifted from what the influential cultural historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality—and opened up a Pandora’s Box of personal anxieties from which we would never quite recover.”

As I read the above paragraphs I understood why I have never read Dale Carnegie’s magnum opus, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. I read a few pages and it didn’t work for me. Then Krishnan and I discovered Stephen R Covey and his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” remains a huge favourite to this day.

Obviously the Character Ethic resonates with me more than the Personality Ethic. More on this book as I read it further.

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