Just finished the best selling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. The book gave some really good insights into introverts; many of which you probably already know but some new ones that gives introverts a little bit more respect.
The author says one third to one half of us are introverts. The first chapter begins with the story of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus. All she said was “no”. That helped changed the world. Other introverts are Bill Gates, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Warren Buffet. In Asian cultures introversion is not looked down on, it is accepted and even highly respected and admired.
Americans hold up the ideal to be extroverts. People who used to work in the fields in agriculture and did not talk unless they had something to say; but starting with the movement to cities and factory jobs people had to work closely to other people and to be sociable. . Becoming an extrovert escalated as the ideal with office jobs and then professionals selling themselves as well as their products. Extroverts are the business model ideal. Dale Carnegie taught us how to influence others with our talk and we all became salesmen.
Whatever you start out as, introvert or extrovert, you usually maintain your whole life as your natural state. However many people do become extroverts in their jobs because they have to. For short times in social situations introverts can rise to the occasion to become extroverts and fool everyone. However then they need their down time to repair and restore their energy.
The author says introverts are just as creative, just as smart maybe smarter, just as motivated and just as accomplished as extroverts. But many times introverts do not get the credit for their accomplishments; they do not like to blow their own horns so to speak and do not like attention on them. Introverts are more sensitive and are more observant than others. They can see things others cannot.
It is pointed out that we should not try to change kids who are introverts; but respect them for who they are and provide an environment where they can excel in their own way.
In retirement many natural introverts who spent much of their time as extroverts at their jobs, may revert back to their nature state as introverts. It is still important to socialize they tell us but we can do that in our own way (finally!).