How Has Your Introversion Affected Your Life?
Your Innate Personality Type Impacts Your Life at Every Level
Even If You Realize It or Not!
Introversion has been in the spotlight a lot recently. Mostly, the books, the blog posts, the websites, and such have been about how you too can succeed as an introvert! While that message is great (and completely true) it strikes me funny that it seems to miss the point. Why do introverts need to be told they’re good enough to do anything they want to do in life?
The Extrovert Bias
The introduction of Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking is all about how her life and the lives of other introverts she’s come across over the years have been molded and impacted by our society’s inherent extrovert bias. It’s something that we’ve all internalized as a result of overt and subconscious exposure over the course of our lives—starting at a very young age.
This extrovert bias essentially boils down to the idea that extroverts are basically better at more important things in the real world—leading companies, making money, managing people, running households, being role models, and so much more.
Cain points out not-so-subtle brainwashing that occurs even in children’s cartoons that lead us all to buy into this fallacy and (as introverts) subjugate ourselves automatically to the extroverts that run the world.
The Extrovert Bias Impacts Our Ideas About Success
Cain traces the birth of the extrovert bias to sometime around the Industrial Revolution and its infancy stretched into the 1920s and 30s. When our world’s societies changed from agrarian lifestyles of subsistence to industry-driven lives of relative luxury, we also elevated a certain type of person above all others. We’re talking about Men of Industry! Explorers! Radio and Movies Stars! Inventors (and people, like Edison, who stole from them)! Robber barons! Industrialists! The World’s First Millionaires!
These individuals (both men and women) had big personalities, took bold risks, made big moves. They invented new things. They changed cultural norms. They created new habits, hairstyles, and fashion. And how could they not? Our collective consciousness was obsessed with them. They were plastered all over newspapers. Everything they did made it into radio broadcasts. They were the Reality Entertainment Stars of their generations.
The names that stick out to me are big ones in history:
- Charles Lindberg
- Teddy Roosevelt
- Thomas Edison
- J.P. Morgan
- John Jacob Astor
- Henry Ford
- Douglas Fairbanks
- Bonnie and Clyde
Because so much attention was focused on these audacious people, Western Society began to associate with their success (real or perceived) with their personality rather than their actions. This divorcing of success from action makes no logical sense as those successful people still had to put in hard work to get where they were. However, in our collective Zeitgeist, these individuals became celebrities. Hence, we have the first real modern rise of The Cult of Personality.
This is the point in history which created our modern views about how personality integrates with admirable traits like:
And, unfortunately, these connections persist today and impact us all in very real, very measurable ways.
“The Extrovert Ideal has been documented in many studies, though this research has never been grouped under a single name. Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better-looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocity of speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast talkers as more competent and likeable than slow ones.”
The Extrovert Bias Impacts How People See Us
Because of this inherent bias in how people perceive introversion and those of us who were born with these types of personalities, we’re often categorized as lesser citizens. Consciously or not, people will rate introverts as:
- Less intelligent
- Less successful
- Less attractive
- Less interesting
- Less desirable as friends
This skewed perception of introverted people has been spotted in anecdotal studies but also confirmed with experimentation. Researchers have devised ways of removing this bias or skewing people’s perception by priming their mental pumps in such a way that the end up rating introverts higher on these subjective scales of success.
Usually, such experiments involve showing participants photographs of an individual and creating descriptions of them with deliberately chosen words which subtly paint the individual as either introverted or extroverted. Participants are then asked to rate the individual based solely on the photo and the description they’ve been given. The ratings vary greatly depending on the description associated with the photo.
This clearly singles out the participants’ own preconceptions about introverts and extroverts as the deciding factors for the ratings they give.
The Extrovert Bias Impacts How We See Ourselves
Sadly, the extrovert bias present in our modern society doesn’t just impact how people see us introverts, it impacts how we see ourselves as well.
Cain points to a study conducted by psychologist Laurie Helgoe in which people who had been classified as introverts via standardized and accepted methods were asked to describe themselves. These individuals used objective identifiers (like “green-blue eyes” and “high cheekbones”), pointing to specific, verifiable physical attributes.
On the other hand, when those same people were asked to describe a “generic” introvert, they used negative, almost derogatory terms like “ungainly” and “skin problems.” There’s no possibility that those same introverts don’t internalize at least some of those negative impressions!
This stigmatization of the word introvert has impacts that reach far beyond our own emotional happiness. In fact, this negative bias can literally change our lives!
The Financial Impact of the Extrovert Bias
This bias against introversion can limit a person’s professional growth, colors their professional relationships, and even cuts into their paychecks.
For example, one study found that extroverts fill an estimated 88% of all roles at the supervisor level or higher across various industries nationwide. That’s even more shocking when you realize that only 50%-66% of the population are extroverts. Why is there such a disparity? Several management studies have found that introverts are much less likely to be groomed for promotion that extroverts. Companies and leaders are engaging in this biased behavior even when it doesn’t make good business sense. Indeed, a study conducted at Wharton found that introverts are objectively better managers and outperform their extrovert counterparts on multiple measurable level of success.
So, there are far fewer introverts in leadership positions than there should be. That means that we’re also making much less than we should be. Indeed, a study conducted by The Ascent found that the average annual salary of an introvert is $12,600 less per year than that of an extrovert! That means an introvert will make, on average, one-half million dollars less over the course of their career than an extrovert does.
But what does this really mean for you and your family? Well, what could you do with 23% more money in your paycheck every week?
What Can You Do Crush the Stigma of Introversion and Take Back Your World?
You can get those promotions you’ve been passed over for. You can get the job of your dreams. You can make people look up to and respect you. You can make more money than you ever thought possible.
All these things are within your power even if you’re an introvert.
The first step is changing how you view your personality type. You need to shed those outdated ideas and attitudes about introversion that you’ve adopted, inherited, accepted, and internalized. Learn to recognize the power in your introverted personality traits and those habits that set you apart from friends, family, coworkers, and even your boss.
That’s what An Introvert’s Guide to Wealth is all about. Unlock the power of your personality and embrace a new life.