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An edited and revised book on public speaking for introverts based on the articles from this site

The Extravert Mind

I have already discussed how introverts have something akin to a buzzer in their head that rings at the slightest sense of danger.  Not a buzzer that they hear, but a buzzer which their brain expends energy to suppress.

To understand the extravert, first consider, that if they have a buzzer that rings somewhere deep in their brain when there is a new and potentially dangerous situation, it doesn’t sound as loudly as it does in the introvert’s.  As such, the extravert spends less energy suppressing its sound.

So the extravert has more energy to do more things, and fewer warning signs stopping him.

Whereas the introvert toddler might worry about venturing forth into a noisy playgroup full of unfamiliar children dashing about, screaming, and clattering their strange, alien toys, the extrovert simply walks into the middle of the chaos, grabs something that looks appealing (or perhaps later on in life, in a noisy nightclub, grabs someone who looks appealing) and begins to play, a big smile beaming on his face.

Sometimes the extravert gets in trouble – but without the warning sign to create a commonality, there is less chance of a pattern.  Sure, the extravert might realise not to touch the hot stove, having done it once, but this doesn’t apply to not reaching out to grab a biscuit later on.  The extravert learns from the results of his actions – not from calculating what responses those actions are going to have.

The extravert has far less motivation to learn to play with ideas before trying them out.  While the introvert lives in the world of his ideas, occasionally putting the best into practice in the real world, the extravert has no patience with this.  He wants things to happen now, and quickly, as much and as often as possible, to fulfil his need for more stimulation.  So the extravert sets out to try often, and to fail often.  The extravert learns, not through planning, but through watching the results of his actions, and repeating those that work.

This is true in social situations – while the introvert is trying to figure out the best idea in order to say it, and be right, the extravert says the first thing that comes to his mind, and then, by watching the responses of the crowd modifies his responses until he finds something which sounds right both to him and to the outside world.

When the introvert thinks, he has many ideas, constantly refining and rejecting them until he has crafted the perfect diamond.  The one true real idea.  the idea that is worthy of being spoken.  When the extravet thinks, his ideas are not realised until they have been shared – until he knows not only what he thinks of it, but also what the world thinks.

I once (rather uncharitably – but nevertheless with a modicum of truth) put it “The introvert finishes thinking before he talks.  The extravert talks before he finishes thinking”

If the curse of the introvert is overstimulation, the curse of the extravert is understimulation – and of loneliness.  Introverts know that – despite everything – they require some stimulation – it is quite possible for an introvert to back of from society too fully and be left craving some quantity of attention.  Now consider the extravert – someone who is stimulated far less by the ordinary world.  Someone who needs people to fully enjoy the fruits of their own mind.  for an extravert solitude isn’t a break – its a prison sentence.

And so, the extravert – being the more active and more risk taking type of person – not to mention the majority – has built a world which provides the stimulation they need.  It isn’t a deliberate attack on the introvert – its a genuine desire to create a world where people are stimulated, able to think, talk and enjoy life.

Just as extraverts need to understand that introverts need their time and space to function, introverts need to understand that the world, as it is, extroverted and a little too loud, suits the minds of the majority perfectly.  For all its flaws, the majority are unaware there is even a problem, because for them, there is no problem at all.