Introversion is not the opposite of extroversion, part 2

November 21, 2013 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Fitness, Freedom, Nature

Yesterday I showed two models for introversion and extraversion. The model you believe filters how you see the world, which will influence your feelings and behavior. I found the following test to see if you’re introverted “or” extraverted from a book. You can see it’s based on an Or model, I believe designed to show empathy for people who consider themselves introverted.

From the And model it’s almost painful to read in how it reinforces weakness and constraint. I’ll translate it in two ways to reveal other ways of looking at it I suspect you’ll find empowering or that undercut this one. First the base test.

(By the way, I’ll be happy to reject the And model if anyone shows me a reason to that works. So far no one has shown me evidence that the Or model of introversion and extraversion has any greater validity than the And model. They just keep talking about how they get tired at parties, as if extraverted people didn’t.)

An introversion test, from the Or model of introversion and extraversion perspective

I didn’t make this up.

I once would have found its perspective soothing, so I could feel like my limitations resulted from poor luck or genetics and that there would be no point in trying to do anything about them. I now find it repellent, promoting complacency, as if 99% of people without extraversion skills helplessly couldn’t learn them to the point they felt as natural as any others.

I’ve coached too many people to great progress to accept it anymore.

Anyway, after you read it, look at my two other takes on it.

  1. I like to have long, uninterrupted periods to work on projects, rather than small chunks.
  2. I sometimes rehearse things before speaking, occasionally writing notes to myself.
  3. I like to listen more than talk.
  4. People sometimes think I’m quiet, mysterious, aloof or calm.
  5. I usually need to think before I respond or speak.
  6. I like to share special occasions with just one or two people, rather than have a big celebration.
  7. I tend to notice details many people don’t see.
  8. If two people have just had an argument, I feel the tension in the air.
  9. If I say I’ll do something, I almost always do it.
  10. I feel anxious if I have a deadline or pressure.
  11. I can zone out if too much is going on.
  12. I like to watch an activity for awhile before joining in.
  13. I form lasting relationships.
  14. I don’t like to interrupt others; I don’t like to be interrupted.
  15. When I take in lots of information, it takes me awhile to sort it out.
  16. I don’t like overstimulating environments.
  17. I sometimes have strong reactions to smells, tastes, foods, weather, and noise.
  18. I am creative and/or imaginative.
  19. I feel drained after social situations, even when I enjoy myself.
  20. I prefer to be introduced rather than having to introduce others.
  21. I often feel uncomfortable in new surroundings.
  22. I can become grouchy if I’m around people or activities for too long.
  23. I often dread returning phone calls.
  24. I like people to come to my home, but I don’t like them to stay a long time.
  25. I find my mind sometimes goes blank when I meet people or when I am asked to speak unexpectedly.
  26. I talk slowly or have gaps in my words, especially if I’m tired or if I’m trying to think and speak at once.
  27. I don’t think of acquaintances as close friends.
  28. I feel as if I can’t show other people my ideas until they’re fully formulated.
  29. Other people may surprise me by thinking I’m smarter than I am.

The same test, from the And model of introversion and extraversion perspective

I rewrote the quiz. Instead of testing if you’re introverted or extroverted, it tests if you’ve developed your introversion and extraversion skills, taking for granted you can develop both.

  1. I like to have long, uninterrupted periods to work on projects or small chunks, whichever helps me solve the problem best.
  2. I sometimes rehearse things before speaking, occasionally writing notes to myself, but if the situation calls for me to speak extemporaneously, I’ll do that too.
  3. I have great listening and talking skills. I like using and improving both.
  4. People sometimes think I’m quiet, mysterious, aloof or calm when I behave that way. They see me as outgoing and gregarious when I act that way.
  5. I need to think before I respond or speak no more or less than anyone else.
  6. I like to share special occasions with just one or two people. Sometimes I like a big celebration too.
  7. I tend to notice details many people don’t see.
  8. If two people have just had an argument, I feel the tension in the air. I’ve developed social skills to handle such situations.
  9. If I say I’ll do something, I almost always do it.
  10. I feel anxious if I have a deadline or pressure.
  11. I can zone out if too much is going on. I can also focus. It depends on what I think the situation calls for.
  12. I like to watch an activity for awhile before joining in. Sometimes I like to jump in too. It depends on what I think the situation calls for.
  13. I form lasting relationships. I also make short-term relationships.
  14. I don’t like to interrupt others; I don’t like to be interrupted. If it happens it’s not that big a deal. It used to be, but I learned to handle it to keep conversations productive.
  15. When I take in lots of information, it takes me awhile to sort it out.
  16. I don’t like overstimulating environments, but I do like stimulating environments.
  17. I sometimes have strong reactions to smells, tastes, foods, weather, and noise.
  18. I am creative and/or imaginative. I’m also active and participative.
  19. I feel drained after some social situations, even when I enjoy myself. I can also feel invigorated.
  20. I like to be introduced and I like introducing myself. I also like introducing others. It all depends on the relationships.
  21. I feel uncomfortable in new surroundings, but enjoy familiarizing myself and then I don’t feel uncomfortable anymore.
  22. I can become grouchy if I’m around people or activities for too long, so I learned the skills to manage my emotions and enjoy such situations.
  23. I used to dread returning phone calls until after returning enough of them I learned to enjoy it.
  24. I like people to come to my home, but I don’t like them to overstay their welcome, same as anyone.
  25. I used to find my mind sometimes went blank when I met people or when asked to speak unexpectedly, but with experience and practice it went away. I found most people went through a similar transition even though I thought it was just something you were born with.
  26. I talk slowly or have gaps in my words when the situation calls for me to think and speak at once. When it doesn’t I speak appropriate to what that situation calls for.
  27. I like to make acquaintances friends. I start by meeting them and seeing how well we match. It used to take a long time, but now I get to know people quickly.
  28. I felt as if I couldn’t show other people my ideas until they were fully formulated until I learned to depersonalize them so I could share even ideas I knew were stupid but could possibly have a germ of utility the team could somehow use.
  29. Other people may surprise me by thinking I’m smarter than I am.

The same test, from the Or model of fitness and intelligence perspective

I rewrote the quiz again, this time adopting the belief that fitness and intelligence excluded each other, like people think introversion and extraversion exclude each other. I hope it seems as laughable to you as it does to me. And I hope it helps you reject the Or model of introversion and extraversion too.

  1. I like to have long, uninterrupted periods to study, when my muscles atrophy and my body emaciates.
  2. I sometimes study nutrition before eating.
  3. I like to learn more than compete.
  4. People sometimes think I’m studious, bookish, and inactive.
  5. I usually need to think before I eat.
  6. I like to enjoy special occasions with cookies and cake, rather than discipline.
  7. I tend to read books other people don’t.
  8. If someone just worked out, I smell the sweat in the air.
  9. If I say I’ll read something, I almost always read it.
  10. I feel anxious if I have to walk too far.
  11. I can zone out if I’m bored watching sports on TV.
  12. I like to study an activity for awhile before trying it.
  13. I learn a lot.
  14. I don’t like to intimidate others; I don’t like to be intimidated.
  15. When I study a lot, it takes me awhile to sort it out.
  16. I don’t like sporting environments.
  17. I sometimes have strong reactions to health food.
  18. I am intelligent and thoughtful.
  19. I feel drained after exercising, even when I enjoy myself.
  20. I prefer solo activities rather than having to compete.
  21. I often feel uncomfortable when everyone around me is a jock.
  22. I can become grouchy if I have to walk too far to the library.
  23. I often dread gym class.
  24. I like people to be fit, but I don’t like them to show it off.
  25. I find my body sometimes gets tired when I have to lift things.
  26. I walk and climb stairs slowly or take breaks, especially if I’m thinking about my studies.
  27. I don’t think of jocks as study partners.
  28. I feel as if I can’t go to the gym until I first get in shape, so I study instead of going to the gym.
  29. Other people may surprise me by thinking I’m more well-read than I am.

Conclusion: constricting beliefs constrict your thoughts and behavior

Those constrictions become obvious when you apply them to situations you know they don’t apply.

Drop those beliefs and you’ll release yourself from the mental prisons they create. Your life will improve.

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7 responses on “Introversion is not the opposite of extroversion, part 2

  1. I think this second part of the article detracts a bit from the points you made in the first part. While I agree with the “and” model and believe that anyone can learn the skills they need to be more extroverted or introverted should they want to, the quiz you showed in the beginning here is only speaking to the fact that people may have a preference one way or the other. While they may be learned preferences based on input they’ve received from previous behaviors, they are still a preference and not necessarily wrong to have. I got the feeling from your additions to the quiz that people *should* have or want to have qualities of both introversion and extroversion, but that just might not be true for a lot of people. I personally do have qualities from both modalities and sometimes have tendencies or desires one way or the other, and know that there’s a lot I can learn and practice to be more extroverted when I want to since the conditions in my life as of late have pushed me more toward introversion. I don’t believe however that that needs to be the case for everyone. Some people have just learned to like what they see as their “introversion” and are happy to live their lives that way. No reason to force anything on them unless its somehow detrimental to their health and well-being, which it may very well not be if they still take proper care of themselves.

    • Thank you for your comments and clarification.

      I didn’t mean to imply people should have or want any qualities. What I find useful or valuable in my life isn’t necessarily what others will in theirs and vice versa.

      I just don’t want people feeling stuck one way because one model prevents them from thinking otherwise.

  2. The fun thing is that what you call the “OR” model is actually a “XOR” (exclusive OR) and what you call the “AND” model is actually “OR” which is the combination of “XOR” and “AND”.

    XOR: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Venn0110.svg
    AND: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Venn0001.svg
    OR: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Venn0111.svg

    • I love the extra precision and stand corrected, though in my defense, having found several dictionary definitions of or that were xor, I believe the everyday use of or can mean xor.

  3. I forgot to mention in my previous comment that your proposed fit/intelligent model seems incomplete as it leaves out the option to not be fit and intelligent at the same time though it is indeed possible to be fat and dumb.

    • I’m not sure I understand. I wasn’t proposing a model for fitness and intelligence, just using it for comparison. Even so, the And model of fitness and intelligence allows for any value of fitness at the same time as any value of intelligence.

      Did I miss something?

  4. Pingback: Introversion is not the opposite of extroversion, part 1 | Joshua Spodek

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