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Nancy Okerlund
Volume 2, Issue 19, 12/11/08

"This is the Time for Introverts!"

A couple weeks ago I got an email from an Introvert Energizer subscriber who said, "I think now is the time for introverts…. Now that we have an introvert for a president-elect, I'm eager to see how he taps into his inner resources to steer our nation in the best direction that he knows to be true.

"I'm willing to bet he'll go against popular grain more than once, because he's listened to and acted upon his inner convictions. He also is a fan of Lincoln, one of the most famous introverts…."

I haven't heard that President-elect Obama identifies himself as an introvert, but he certainly seems to fit the profile.

Here's a quote from an interview he did with the Chicago Sun Times in 2004: "The biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me is audible, is active. It tells me where I think I'm on track and where I'm off track." Here's my current list of key strengths of introverts:

  • Strong ability to focus and concentrate deeply;
  • Good observers, good listeners, good planners;
  • Tendency to be very responsible;
  • Tendency to be independent, have the strength to make unpopular decisions;
  • Tendency to be studious, smart, creative, flexible;
  • Recognize the complexity and vastness of a subject, able to understand how change will impact everyone involved;
  • Tendency to be cooperative;
  • Especially effective one to one;
  • Know how to set a slower pace.

From what I can tell, I'd say he qualifies.

Five years ago, when my fascination with temperament started, it wasn't long before I developed a conviction about introverts and the world. It was that our extroverted culture is longing for more "introvert energy" – more quiet, more reflection, a slower pace. And because the US of A has been such a noticeable extrovert in the world, that if we created a dynamic introvert/ extrovert balance in our national character, the whole world would benefit. (See my website – introverts wow! - for a bit of visioning about an introvert-friendly world.)

So I'm looking forward to our new (introvert) president's term with curiosity. If we're talking change, I'm guessing the introverts of the world would get behind better introvert/extrovert balance in a heartbeat. (It might happen without legislation :-)

And if President-elect Obama is, indeed, an introvert, I wish him an unlimited supply of presidential down time.

End of food for thought – on to some practical ideas:

A Practical Idea for Introverts

Look at that list of key strengths of introverts (above). Pick three to appreciate about yourself and be that way even more.

A Practical Idea for Extroverts

Look at the list of key strengths of introverts and choose three you'd like to see more of in the world. Cultivate them in yourself and appreciate them in others.

P.S. In the spirit of adequate down time in the busy holiday season, this is the last issue of The Introvert Energizer for 2008. Happy Holidays – and see you in the new year!

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