My wife asked me to read a book about people’s personalities–something about being an introvert vs. an extrovert, and on and on. Basically all I heard was, “Hey, why don’t you read this non-fiction book that is not written by one of your favorite authors.” I dismissed Casey’s recommendation and I kept reading my average book about an average fictional story.
Anyway, Casey finished the book, called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, and she fell in love with the book. I still haven’t read the book, but I plan on reading it pretty soon. Casey has told me quite a bit about what she learned on the differences between introverts and extroverts. She was also able to determine what personality, if that’s even the right way to describe it, she is.
Me? She knew what I was before she ever began the book. I am as introverted as a person can get and that’s not a shock to anyone who has met me. When I applied for a job as a telemarketer, my mom said, “Are you sure you can be a telemarketer, because you don’t talk to people you don’t know.” The same concerns were raised when I applied for a sales job at RadioShack, and my wife had the same concerns about my ability to be a trial attorney—you know, the type of attorney who has to get up in front of a judge and lots of people and argue and talk.
Surprisingly, whenever I’m in an environment where I have to be more open and outgoing and it is work related, the introvert inside me takes a little break and the extrovert comes out. All fears that I have of being in public places or meeting new people disappear. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years wondering why I can walk into a courtroom filled with people and high tension and be perfectly fine, but when it comes to my wife having a few of her friends over to the house I will hide in our bedroom for up to 12 hours. Anything more than 12 hours and I’ll find a way to sneak out of the window so I can leave.
I recently read an article from Yahoo! Finance that talks about how introverts are generally happier when they act like extroverts. The article explains that acting like an extrovert allows people to have that positive reinforcement that can come from interacting socially like an extrovert. Meaning, acting like an extrovert can make introverts be happier.
What I read made perfect sense, but for me I think it’s slightly different. I think I’ve always enjoyed the rush that comes with stepping out of my comfort zone when I know I have to for my job. The exhilaration that comes afterwards, well, feels pretty good. That rush and the satisfaction of knowing I handled an uncomfortable situation comfortably is the positive reinforcement I have learned to crave, and as a result it has made me happier.
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