Success and 5 things you don’t know about Introverts

“While I am very proud of Introvert Camp and like when people know it came from my heart, IC is not about me. It is a camp of service, actually closer to a staff camp than a theme camp.

I don’t feel a desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extraversion and introversion because I want my camp to be successful.

I feel the desire to facilitate the education of our entire society on the wonders, realities and myths of extraversion and introversion because I want my society to be successful.”

I wrote that a few months back. Today I am thinking about Success, what that means, to whom.

As I get older, my ideas around success have definitely changed. I will have to work a long time, I think, before I can retire. And I imagine doing work that I find important and invigorating and that is what I am working towards now, in my late 30s.  I know I am working towards the life I want. That seems successful to me.

Having and creating strong love in my life and being open to the love flowing all around me, and you; That is success to me.

Success is that magical moment we aim for, when we know we are safe, when we feel we have enough and have done enough.  In what ways does Introversion influence success for the individual or the society at large?

1. We don’t want to overthrow Extroverts.

In terms of understanding introversion, success does not necessarily mean overthrowing the extrovert laws of leadership and communication and installing Introversion everywhere, forever! It does not mean all shamans and no warriors, to be extremely stereotypical in my example, one without the other would be boring.

2. Introverts and Extroverts are like Opposite Twins.

Extroverts and Introverts are like Ebony and Ivory, biscuits and gravy, Frog and Toad, Bert and Ernie; We are intrinsically drawn towards one another and can play well together, with the right awareness. But ignoring our differences is folly, our differences are the strengths we bring to the table. Our differences can lead us to our own definitions of success and what it means to share it.

3. Introvert awareness is not a special right.

Success means removing the stigma from needing time to process before speaking, asking questions when others demand fast action,  acknowledging that a subtler, less showy or totally weird plan can often accomplish the directive just as well, and sometimes better, than a more direct, aggressive or competitive response. It means societal understanding of a quieter way. Success means no longer taking introverted children to the psychologist to push them to be more extroverted. It means everyone in the classroom getting a chance to speak. It means no more job advertisements that tell Introverts not to bother applying. It means accepting group work and independent thought as equally valid techniques in effectiveness and importance in our workplaces and in our relationships.

4. Introversion is far more than social stamina, disdain for group think or avoiding parties we feel obligated to attend.introversion_is_more_than-667113

When I make observations about what behavior is extroverted or introverted or talk about different ways of seeing things, I often accidentally offend extroverts and the intros who don’t believe in introversion. And the Asperger’s contingent throws all theory for a loop: My friends and acquaintances, when I say something too general about extroverts, say things like, “no, I also think out loud” or “well, I  cannot shut up sometimes, it may be about missing social cues more than being about extraversion”.

Acknowledging intro and extraversion doesn’t mean I think it’s all that simple. In the Nature Vs Nurture argument, Introversion is both biology and environment. If you consider ADHD, PTSD, attachment mechanisms, social anxiety, the autism spectrum, sexuality, sensitivity, gender roles, hormone dominance, confidence, context, ethnicity and depressive diseases, you can see how complicated and fascinating  the study of introversion and extraversion can be.

5. Understanding Introversion is really a way to understand and include half of our society.

Our success in working with one another relies on understanding why one person may need to brainstorm, out loud and off the cuff to generate ideas while another may need 10 minutes of quiet time, with no distractions. Achievement and innovation come from fostering environments where both are possible. As individuals and as a society, we cannot reach our highest aspirations if we are busy fighting for our basic needs to be met.