Are You an Introvert or an Extravert? Are You Sure?
Most everyone seems to have an idea of what the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extravert’ mean, and most of us probably put ourselves in one of the two categories. But do we really know the difference? Most people actually don’t.
I’ve met a lot of introverts who thought they were extraverts and vice versa. The perception seems to be that social = extravert and shy = introvert. But it’s actually more complex and interesting than that.
There are 8 ‘cognitive functions’ that the brain uses. We each have 4 of those 8 that make up our personality and that we’re wired to use in a specific hierarchy.
One of those is dominant and is the root of our greatest potential. That process is the one that’s most capable of putting us into a flow state and the one we can use the most efficiently. What makes us an introvert or an extravert is whether that dominant process is oriented to the inner world or the outer world.
What most people don’t realize is that there are actually 4 flavors of introversion and 4 flavors of extraversion. Some extravert types are more social than others, and the same goes for introverts.
If a person’s primary process is extraverted thinking, for example (Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs, Mitt Romney), they may not be especially social, though they’re still extraverts. When a person’s primary process is extraverted sensing, however (David Lee Roth, Brittany Spears), they will likely appear to be obvious extraverts.
One of the true differences between introverts and extraverts lies in how they manage their energy. Extraverts charge themselves by a process of interacting with the outside world. So when they’re using their dominant way of interacting with the outside world they’re actually charging their energy.
An introvert, by contrast, will charge using one of 4 different processes that interacts with the inner world. Being that this is the case, when they interact with the outside world they’re actually expending energy from an internal ‘energy bank’.
This can be detected in things like vocal projection. With some practice you can actually detect, in many cases, whether or not someone is an introvert or extravert just by listening to their voice.
I’ll use a couple extreme examples to illustrate the point. Listen to how Michael is much more reserved in how he expends his energy through his voice. David projects his voice openly, as he charges his energy by interacting with the external sensory world:
(ISFP – his dominant process was introverted feeling)
David Lee Roth
(ESTP – his dominant process is extraverted sensing)
So are you an introvert or an extravert? Which flavor of introvert or extravert are you? This is just one of many interesting things we’ll establish and discuss in a live profiling session.