Cultural bias towards extroversion- Today’s world is predominantly extroverted. Whether in school, college, or business life, extroverts seem to dominate and outstand in our society. So how do we stand out in a culturally biased world where extroversion is preferred over other personality traits? Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking states that our society’s DNA mostly consists of extroversion (Tucker, 2012). She notes that people who are outgoing, good communicators and socially active are considered to be high performers by western society based on Greco-Roman ideal (Tucker, 2012). The value system of our society is fabricated with the idea that creativity and productivity comes out of extroversion. It favors action over contemplation a common trait of introversion (Tucker, 2012). Our culture fails to comprehend that “solitude is equally a crucial ingredient of creativity” observes Cain (Tucker, 2012).
Individuals who are introverts are often advised to speak up, be socially engaged and work in a group setting. This pattern is seen in schools as well as in the work place (Barford, 2012). The reason why such advice emerges for introverts is because of the fact that society perceives extroverts as the best achievers in life (Barford, 2012).
According to Cain, introverts may not immediately stand out as extroverts but they are nevertheless high achievers. Some of the examples of outstanding introverts are Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling and Steve Wozniak (Barford, 2012). Introverts are perceived as shy or unsocial as they prefer to spend time in solitude and reflection. They are often misunderstood or undervalued since they do not fit the societal expectations of high achievers who are generally outgoing, talkative and action-people (Barford, 2012).
So how can introverts stand out in culturally biased extrovert world? Though introverts get their creativity and ideas from solitude and quiet reflection, they at times face situations that elicit them to speak up to be recognized. Judith Warner, an introvert author argues that a ‘more quiet argument’ made by an introvert makes is much more effective (Barford, 2012). This claim comes from the fact that introverts at times push themselves to act and behave like extroverts as demanded by their environment or situation. But they often find themselves unable carry on with the extrovert trait for a lengthy period of time (Barford, 2012).
However, Lees (2016) observes that introverts need to work on self-projection and self-assertion strategies to get recognized in the extrovert world. Self-projection is not the same as self-promotion which is more about promoting or publicizing about oneself or their activities to others. It is more like imposing oneself on others (Lees, 2016). Self-projection is like your image on a résumé. Lees (2016) defines self-projection as helping others understand and remember important things about you. On the other hand, self-assertion is about vocalizing one’s rights, claims and opinions in a positive sense (Lees, 2016). By using self-assertion and self-projection techniques, introverts can stand out and even outperform in a culturally biased extrovert world.
Barford, V. (2012). Do we really give introverts a hard time? BBC News Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17510163
Lees, J. (2016). The Success Code: How to Stand Out and Get Noticed. UK: Hachette
Tucker, I. (2012). Susan Cain: ‘Society has a Cultural Bias towards Extroverts’. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/01/susan-cain-extrovert-introvert-interview