The Upper Hand of Introverts*
By Gregg Prescott
I took an informal poll on personality types by asking spiritual people to participate in taking the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, which is a series of questions that tells you your personality type. As it turned out, over 90% of the participants are introverts, which makes sense, because introverts tend to look within for answers.
For the record, my personality type in an INFP. (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feelings, Perception) Post your results and comments below!
Society tends to mislabel introverts as being antisocial or reclusive, but this isn’t true. As introverts, we tend to speak with like-minded people versus anyone or everyone. Sometimes, we choose not to speak at all. That doesn’t mean we are not interested in what is being said… it means that we would much rather listen than talk.
According to Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology,
“…introverts have been found to constitute 60% of highly gifted individuals. Einstein was an extreme introvert. In fact, in elementary school he was so quiet and withdrawn that he was actually thought to be ‘dull-witted.’ “
Often, an extrovert will ask an introvert, “You’re so quiet, what’s wrong with you?” There’s nothing wrong with us! It is difficult for the introvert to understand why everyone isn’t like he or she.
One of the most famous introverts was Gandhi. I seriously doubt if anyone asked him, “What’s wrong with you?” Despite his introvertedness, he was socially available for interviews and public appearances.
The extrovert tends to be more interested in his or her environment and in socializing with other people while the introvert is more interested in his or her thoughts and feelings. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the introvert cannot have extroverted tendencies or vice-versa. It simply means that there are general tendencies that seem to be consistent with both the introvert and the extrovert.
If given the choice, the introvert will prefer to work alone or in small groups than with a large group of people. The ideal profession for the introvert does not involve being around a lot of people and may include careers in writing, computer programming, webmasters and graphic design. In the end, the introvert could do virtually any job that an extrovert can do but ultimately, introverts need to find their own space at the end of the day.
By internalizing their feelings, the introverts are susceptible to anxiety related issues such as migraines and panic attacks but they are also more apt to find natural solutions on their own before consulting others for their advice.
Because the introvert tends to look within for answers, he or she will find it easier to meditate and to quiet the mind. The extrovert’s mind tends to remain overactive as he or she will often have difficulty quieting the mind while focusing within.
Another common spiritual activity for the introvert is yoga, which integrates the body and mind while the extrovert is more apt to play team sports. In yoga, one uses their body as a vehicle for consciousness while in most sports, the body is used as a vehicle for aggression. Once again, this does not mean that the introvert will not participate in team sports, nor does it mean that the extrovert will not practice yoga. These are general tendencies that introverts and extroverts exhibit in everyday life.
Many introverts are avid readers and are constantly studying and researching various topics of interest, including spirituality and metaphysics. Reading may come in various forms such as books, e-books or internet articles.
The introvert tends to be guided by his or her higher self in what areas to pursue when researching spiritual and metaphysical topics, almost as if the higher self is guiding the introvert (which it is!).
The introvert may have a stronger bond with nature as nature may not provide enough stimulation for the extrovert. You will generally find that people who enjoy hiking are predominantly introverts, as they appreciate the solitude and oneness they receive from being outdoors in whatever particular element of nature that they enjoy.
Stargazing is another popular activity for the introvert for the same reason, as extroverts will become quickly bored with staring at the sky and may not understand how the stars are connected to our bodies and everything that is happening on our planet.
While 75% of the population are extroverts, the introvert needs to remain true to his or herself, despite peer pressure to conform to society. Despite not wanting the acknowledgement or recognition, the spiritualists within this genre are the leaders of tomorrow’s world as we enter a new stage of consciousness and spiritual awareness.