Introverts and extroverts
As Susan Cain (2012) said in her TEDTalk, titled: “The power of introverts”: “We should work really hard to be outgoing.” Her statement was employed from a childhood experience where she was asked to be “rowdie.”
Susan’s camp story surprised me. I have a camp story but contrary to her my preparation for that exciting experience was completely different. My older brother had been to summer camps before and I, needless to say, felt jealous listening to his colourful stories after coming home from those great adventures. But the day came when it was my turn to live the life. I was daydreaming for weeks ahead. I imagined how I would feel and what I would do. I imagined the warmth of the sunshine on my skin, and how happily we would play in the pool, the cozy campfires, and adventure hikes in the forest. I do not recall our camp leader’s exact welcome words. She could have misspelt rowdy, or any other words for that matter, I was taken by her charisma. I was ready to be a part of a rowdy but good-natured crowd.
As I was watching the video, I found Susan’s personality to be easygoing, open, and care-free. It is possible that she falls in the category of “outgoing introvert” which is an oxymoron but for people who fall into this category, life can be an unusual mix of traits and tendencies that the whole world can appreciate. The quest to educate the rest of us about introverts provides fuel to perform the very task which is opposite to her disposition. Introverts will devote their energy to a small group of people they care about the most, socialize with a close friend to a party full of strangers. Standing in front of hundreds, possibly thousand, of people talking about her most inner feelings is anything but that. I admire her strength. I have also learned that introverts think before they speak, have a more deliberate approach to risk, and enjoy solitude and often creative pursuits. They feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity they are really curious about. When they are in overly stimulating environments they tend to feel overwhelmed. They seek out environments of peace, sanctuary, and beauty. Their active inner lives are at their best when they tap into its wealth. I never thought about introverts this way before. I misconstrued their quiet disposition as shyness. But Susan helped me to understand that many introverts socialize easily they just strongly prefer not to. Two thirds of my immediate family are introverts so now I feel propelled to understand them at a deeper level. In order to do that it was time to study my own disposition a little bit closer. As an extrovert I relish social life and am energized by interacting with friends and strangers alike. I am assertive, a go-getter, and able to seize the day. Given the choice, I prefer more stimulating environments that give me frequent opportunities to see and speak with others. When I am in quiet environments I am prone to feel bored and restless. I am actively engaged in the world around me and at my best when I tap into its energy. I am relatively comfortable with conflicts and it is easy for me to think on my feet. There are many instances where my quick suggestions, for example: we should go out to dine instead of staying in as it was planned originally, created a big discussion in my family. However over time I learned different strategies with how to cope with my lovely introverts. For example, I try to provide them with some introduction before I launch my crazy ideas. And my family also learned not to use the default answer, which is “NO”, when I blurt out my next mighty idea without introduction. On a good day they ask me more questions which guides me back to the start where I should have set out from on the first place.
Research has shown that extroverts and introverts process information differently using different parts of the brain. ”The extrovert draws upon small amounts of information in his short term memory in developing his thoughts, while the introvert recalls thoughts stored in his long term memory to build more complex associations. The introvert needs more time, therefore, to develop his ideas and express them.” (Isaacs, 2009, “Introverted Students in the Classroom”) I understand, this is a spectrum and most of us lie anywhere along that spectrum. Allowing students to prepare questions at home by assigning the material for the next class discussion in advance can help. It is possible that the flipped classroom method may be the ultimate way of learning for the introvert. Another fantastic way to help introverts in the classroom is to encourage them to explain some material to others who recognizes the intelligence in them. As a future Nursing Unit Assistant Instructor now I can armour myself with awareness about extroversion and introversion. I will be able to help my students to their highest potential by applying this newly learned knowledge by creating a student centred classroom.