I liked the idea of Free Trait times. It means that you hang true to introversion most of the time, but then there are certain times where you act extraverted. These are times that are special to you.
- The example given in the book was the introverted professor who made amazing lectures, because it was important to him. For those lectures he was an extrovert, but he gave himself lots of time to recover between the lectures.
- Another example was the guy who organised a lot of stuff at his house. When he was invited places as a guest, he felt the pressure to provide anecdotes and to be a good guest. He rehearsed and practiced beforehand to make sure that it would go smoothly. But when he was hosting things, he could just be himself and conversations would naturally flow around him.
Another interesting thing was the difference in arousal between extroverts and introverts. It’s easy for introverts to be overwhelmed by new situations while extroverts are more excited by them. Introverts react more than extroverts do. The lemon juice test – where introverts salivate more than extroverts – is one example. Introverts also sweat more than extroverts do.
The two types complement each other. You really need both of them to do well. Extroverts are happy to do the talking and are looking for an ear to listen to. Introverts can listen well. But they shouldn’t be run over with words; there’s a difference.
The section on introverted kids was interesting. I think a lot of parenting advice is directed at extroverts. Perhaps introverts are more accepting of their kid being quiet because they are quiet themselves. The whole topic is very interesting.
Introverts being conflict avoidant was another little tidbit which I quite liked. It’s hard to get the balance between being too conflict avoidant and going off at someone. That’s where social skills and social savvy comes in. Jordan Peterson has some strong views on conflict avoidance.
The Asian ideal of introversion was quite eye opening. It wasn’t unexpected, but I didn’t know quite how much emphasis was placed on introversion or how non-confrontational a lot of the culture is.
The main message of the book, I felt, was to accept your introversion and look to nurture the strengths. At the same time, don’t be restricted by it. You may have to force yourself to go to social events sometimes. You may have to have an extroverted persona that you use in some situations. But overall, seek to build a life around your natural talents, and not around something else that you wish you’d been born with. Maybe you’d make a great wizard, but a shitty warrior. And someone else would make a great warrior, and a shitty wizard. It’s about doing the best you can with the cards you’ve been dealt. And that sounds a bit like a cliché, but clichés have a tendency of being true.
There was a lot of preamble in the book about the culture of extroversion. I didn’t think the book really needed that to be successful. I skim read through most of it.
An actionable insight here was about the best way to brainstorm. It shouldn’t be a group activity, but rather something that everyone does independently first, then at the end the ideas are collated. I like that approach and I’ll try to present it next time I have to do something like that.
There is zero correlation between the people who speak up and the people who have the best ideas. None at all. Your ideas are just as good as everyone elses. If people speak with certainty, and you feel unsure, it’s EXTREMELY LIKELY that they are talking with unjustified certainty. It’s an extrovert thing. It’s great to be unsure. It’s great to be uncertain. Don’t be bullied into certainty by others who use it inappropriately.
Don’t be afraid to make things. That’s your personality, after all.