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Archive for May 17th, 2011

Before reading my analysis of the sales blurb on this website, how many glaring booboos can YOU spot?

http://www.extrovertme.com/extrovert/letter.aspx

The most glaring mistake is that the author perpetuates the common (mis)assumption that shyness is the same as introversion. The two traits are NOT the same thing. Shyness is a psychological state that causes the person to be anxious in social settings, especially when it is pronounced enough to interfere with his or her enjoyment of social gatherings or cause him or her to avoid them where possible.

Carl Gustav Jung, who coined the terms introversion and extroversion, did not equate introversion to shyness, nor did he regard one trait as more desirable than the other. Rather, the two traits formed a continuum along which everyone could be placed somewhere or another. It all depended on how much of your personal energy you felt comfortable flowing outward or inward. Hence it is perfectly possible to be an extreme extrovert, yet be painfully shy.

Second, the author equates introversion with being anti-social. Some introverts might be anti-social, but so could a lot of extroverts. Anti-social behaviour could be having wild parties and playing the stereo very loudly in the middle of the night, ensuring the whole street gets no sleep. No prizes for guessing which type of personality is more likely to be doing that.

I’m certain you’ve been at a social event when ‘The Life of the Party’ walks in.

Everyone admires this person. They put everybody at ease. They quickly strike up engaging conversations. Their manners are impeccable. They talk about their recent promotion or successful business venture. They tell a funny tale about their latest exotic trip.

They’re immensely popular – and seem to just have everything under control.

They’re an Extrovert – confident, warm, fun and lively.

I’m sure I can’t be the only person to find all sorts of things wrong with the above claims. Yes, I’ve been at social events when the “Life of the Party” walks in. Typically, he/she is a showoff who can’t bear not to be the focus of attention. Other people listen, because no one else can get a word in edgeways. The fact that he/she is dominating the conversation of the gathering is understandably mistaken for popularity. The only thing they have under control is other people’s ears.

There’s No Doubt About It:
Extroverts Get the MOST Out of Life!

For a moment, think about the Extroverts you know and the amazing lives they lead

  • They make people laugh
  • Career-wise, they are the most successful
  • Members of the opposite sex find them extremely attractive
  • They are the first to help others in need
  • Their ‘total charisma’ is magnetic
  • They are friendly and a ‘friend to the friendless’
  • They appear to complete difficult tasks easily
  • They have a special ‘glow’ and radiance
  • They seem to be constantly ‘in the zone’

Vibrant…fun…outgoing…exciting…lively…worldly…affectionate…warm…open.

These are just a few of the words we associate with an Extrovert.

Extroverts get the most out of life? I must know personally just about all the happy, fulfilled introverts that exist, then.

They make people laugh…out of embarrassment. Career-wise, they are the most likely to bully their way into places ahead of quieter, but more deserving candidates. The opposite sex find them attractive, until their constant need for attention starts to get highly irritating. They help others in need when it will suit their public image. Their “magnetic total charisma” appears that way, until it is exposed for the superficial set of social mechanisms that they are unconsciously holding out in front of them. They are friendly towards others who follow the crowd – the friendless will more than likely be picked on by them. They can “PR” (public relations) their way through tasks and projects, giving glowing reports to the boss while their less vocal but more diligent colleagues do all the work. They “glow” and “radiate” all right – hot air. The only “zone” they’re always in is the one in their minds where they’re always the star of their own show.

Garrulous, clingy, needy, overbearing, tiresome, superficial, touchy, capricious. These are some of the words I can also think of that I would associate with an extrovert.

There follows a whole list of specious arguments regarding career success: the site even claims that by being an extrovert, you will end up being located where you want and work the hours you desire!  How about this:

Research shows that Extroverts move ahead in the professional world. Introverts shift toward staying rooted in a dead-end job.

And the studies to back this up are where exactly?

You’ll quickly begin to enjoy life 20 times more.

Again, where is the proof? As for “Get invited to more parties” – and that is a good and desirable use of my time how exactly?

And unsurprisingly, studies have shown that Extroverts are THE BEST when it comes to ‘selling’ anything.

On the contrary, introvert salespeople often have that extra factor of customer empathy, because they are less interested in “making an impression” and more interested in actually listening to what the customer needs and wants.  I bet we would have a very different country if the majority of politicians in Parliament were introverts.

Apparently, the basis of the program is NLP. NLP can be useful for changing the way a person behaves in certain situations, and anyone can learn to do that, for sure. If a person wants to be a better public speaker, or whatever, there’s nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong is using a set of misconceptions in order to sell a pop psychology CD and workbook.

I would never want to be an extrovert in a zillion years. People who are desperate to be popular never made any breakthroughs worth making.

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