Introduction | Prelude
Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking says, “We can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point”. As I pondered over this statement, one of the thought that kept circulating in my head was, we cannot act or express other than what we feel. To be precise with the words we cannot be someone else rather than being ourselves. If I were to break down this statement without stretching it far beyond one’s reach, I’ll simply state, one cannot act like an extrovert if he or she is an introvert by nature. I came across these terms when I was sophomoric. I never came across these terms in my school or even in the first year of my undergrad days. But even before I knew these terminologies, I struggled with a mental discomfort called as “cognitive dissonance”. It was a couple of days before that I was keenly reading a book, Beyond Opinion: Living the faith we defend, when I came across one of the chapters where the author has beautifully described the reason why cognitive dissonance plays a vital role in our lack constant trust in the divine. I scanned more than a couple of pages within 10 mins because the topic was too catchy and related everything with the logic. Also, after which I was in a conversation with a PhD student and asked her the same question in hope that she would answer something beyond the book. I asked, “Have ever come across a term called cognitive dissonance?”. She replied, “Wait…. does that mean less focused or something?”. I stooped down for a couple of seconds in order to relate it with what I read in the book. Now since what she said was a simplified version of what I’d read, I nodded in the agreement, she was right. The reason I’m describing this terminology in order to describe the introverts is that, it will help the readers to grasp the differences among these two categories easily.
Cognitive dissonance is a mental disorder that instigates plethora of thoughts before one is about to do something or one who has already done something.
It not only affects our mental process (where thoughts are built) but can even act as a catalyst in the times of emotional struggles too, where the concerned person goes through an ambivalent phase.
Introverts | How does it affect them? | Is there a solution?
I can write para after para simply because I relate myself to the introverts. There’s nothing to boast about nor anything to hide. This is not a disease that holds a person from doing the right thing, rather, there are times when a lot of malignities come to a halt just because the person took much time thinking about the consequence of his action. I remember it was in my last semester that I took an elective, Science of Happiness and Well Being. I took this subject because the rest were cumbersome for me to carry through the semester. But the opposite happened, I was laid horizontal under a big lump of wood!. One of the lectures was taken by a pass out from IIT Delhi. I can never forget her, she took only 4 lectures and taught with such exuberance, being risible through her lectures. She divided the whole class into 2 groups; one group for those who considered themselves an introvert and one for those who thought of themselves as an extrovert. I remember that I was the only one in my class group who was on the introvert side. All others (albeit I knew some others to be introverts too) took the opposite side because they were either scared or wanted to dodge the questions they would be asked. She then described the introverts and the extroverts separately. Introverts are quiet people because unlike extroverts they absorb energy from within. They don’t love to jibber-jabber, either they are hanging out with their friends or spend time with a small group. Others may often take this attitude of theirs as being arrogant, but to keep it simple, they don’t like sharing all of their secrets and talking about it time to time with the others. Introverts likewise, take time to trust other people. The best thing one can do is to ask an introvert to go join a huge party and you’ll see how much they hesitate. Introverts go through a lot of thought process before taking any sort of action. The problems related to the introverts cannot be dealt with in public. Their close ones have to spend time alone with them in order to know their problems and struggles. For example, if they are asked to give a speech, or talk on a subject, their facial expressions will prove that they are too shy to commit such a crime (paradoxically correct). Introverts can work on a computer for hours together than an extrovert can. An introvert is not in need of any company to facilitate the work he’s doing. But, there is also a flip side to their nature. Introverts do hide a lot of problems without even giving an expression of it. No one can be a better stoic than these people are. This can often lead to deception or delusion in their belief system as they lack consultancy with the elders. It can also happen because they keep suppressing a particular feeling without openly talking about it. Some of the introverts that I gave a read changed the face of the Earth. Albert Einstein (all the theories about relativity were born in his head in solitude), Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Warren Buffett. The best thing about them is that the changes in these introverts were not sudden but they grew over time and learnt some of the lessons the hardest way.
Extroverts | Are they really cool? | Or do they pretend to be?
I don’t have much to say about the extroverts. All I know is that I have been blessed many times by the life of many extroverts. One such person was with me during my undergrad days (whose name I shall conceal). I often looked up to him as being the most extroverted person of our battalion. He spoke in front of hundreds of people whenever he was asked to speak on a subject. I remember comparing myself to him all the time. I used to think to myself, “Doesn’t this person goes through a lot of questions before giving a speech or talking to the girls?” I even asked him the same question once in which he implied, “It’s not like that bro! Even I go through tremendous amounts of questions in my head but nevertheless, I get the courage to speak and to talk to a large crowd”. “Courage?! From where?”, I inquired, to which he replied,”God gives me the courage to do so.” I was flabbergasted with such a reply. Unlike Introverts, extroverts get their energy from the crowd. They love to share things with the people around them. For example, you ask an extrovert to sit in a group discussion (for placements and all), you’ll notice that some of the creative ideas come from them. They may touch on some of the intricate details of the picture shown to them in a GD or can go beyond certain depths in their ideas. Most of the introverts fail at this point. Such people can discuss their problems in a group without hesitating a bit. Some of the extroverts that were an inspired history and even do today are Martin Luther (I have a dream), Aristotle (Science and Philosophy), Muhammad Ali (Activist, boxer).
As I sketch the summary in a few words, let me relate the roles of introverts and extroverts in a society. There is no evil without good. It Implies that since it is good there has to be evil as well. The balance between both of these entities is found in the universe. Not just in the case of good with evil. The law of non-contradiction states: If not A then, non-A, so are the introverts and extroverts in a society. God created us individually for a special purpose to achieve. Not all of us can be introverts & vice-versa.
There has to be a distinction between the categories. In simple words, Introverts cannot be extroverts and extrovert cannot be an introvert. There is a possibility that these people may change over time but, but these two entities are unique and independent of each other, one can never play the role of the other.
Nitin is pursing his Master’s degree from IIT Kharagpur, where he is also a project assistant. He looks upto Ravi Zacharias and is an ardent fan of his books. An intellect by being and a child when it comes to asking question, He will not rest until he finds his answers. He is a contributing author in Sowers. You can contact him through our site.