Volume 3, Issue 8, 07/07/09
Six Years of Introvert Bliss
A few days ago I realized The Introvert Energizer is two years
old this month. That got me looking back on the past six years
of my (happy) preoccupation with being an introvert.
Six years ago I found out about the hardwiring of introverts
(and extroverts.) It made a big impact on me. I went from
oblivious about being an introvert to fascinated. But more
important, I got a remarkable sense of relief. It came on fast
and hasn't gone away.
I'm not disinterested in biology but it's not one of my favorite
subjects – I was a little surprised that the neurobiological
research on temperament was so compelling.
But as I began to understand how the introvert/extrovert
differences in brain blood pathways and neurotransmitters and
autonomic nervous systems, etc. make such a difference in daily
life, I wasn't bored.
And as those of you who've been reading this ezine for some time
have probably noticed, what started as relief soon translated into
I was relieved to find such good, concrete reasons for my
lifelong experience of so often seeming to be going "up the
down staircase" – in our extroverted culture.
I think my happiness comes from understanding there was nothing
wrong with me after all. But also from getting to know what a
fine model of human being the introvert species is. And from
life getting more satisfying as I've turned myself into what I
call a conscious introvert.
In my armchair analysis of the world, it wasn't long before I
was theorizing that life would be better for everybody if there
were more recognition of these concrete (and complex)
differences between introverts and extroverts. And not only
I became interested in the possibility of things changing - the
world working in a way that, overall, suits introverts better.
That won't be a small change – who knows what it'll take :-).
Six years ago Marti Olsen Laney's book on the physiology of
introversion (The Introvert Advantage – How to Thrive in an
Extrovert World) seemed about the only resource focused
exclusively on introversion. Since then she's written two more
(one on introverts and extroverts).
I'm currently reading another guide for introverts, published
last year, called Introvert Power – Why Your Inner Life is Your
Hidden Strength, by Laurie Helgoe. And I notice a book called
The Introverted Leader, by Jennifer Kahnweiler, is just out.
Looks like awareness is growing.
Six years into my own conscious introversion, it seems more
natural than ever to me. And I watch my clients being more at
ease, more skillful in negotiating their way in an extroverted
In the two years of writing this ezine, I've received messages
from many places in the world, mostly about how challenging –
even painful – it is to be an introvert. It makes me wonder if
the whole planet is due for a shift.
When I boil it down, what I see as the introvert contribution
is a slower pace, a quieter way and more thoughtfulness. I
don't think Planet Earth would mind :-).
These days there's less clarity about how many introverts there
are. The Introvert Advantage proposes the ratio of three
extroverts to every introvert, a statistic that's been used for
some time. But two recent MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
population studies put introverts in the majority! Helgoe's
book is based on that assumption.
I remain curious. In my reading of Laney's work it's not clear
whether her numbers come only from MBTI sources or also from
the brain research. And if more introverts are being born,
what does that say? If the numbers were never accurate and
there have always been more introverts than extroverts, what
does that say?!
In the meantime, I love being a conscious introvert.
As for The Introvert Energizer, I notice over the past year it's
come out monthly more often than twice a month, my stated
commitment. It's time to make that official.
Thanks for your introvert (or extrovert :-) energy! See you in
End of food for thought – on to some practical ideas:
A Practical Idea for Introverts
Name three things that make you happy to be an introvert.
A Practical Idea for Extroverts
Ask an introvert in your life what he or she likes about being an