Extroverted Thinking

Note: Yes, I know there is a thing called extraverted thinking, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

From Gini Dietrich:

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you are shy or have no social skills. It means you get your energy from being alone while extroverts get their energy from being around people. Lots of people.

Gini’s thoughts on collaborating with introverts got me thinking about my own extroversion. I know, I know, you’re shocked to find out that I, one of the loudest humans on the planet, am a diehard extrovert. Shock aside, Gini’s thoughts on giving introverts both space and privacy to do their work got me thinking about some of my own comments surrounding the idea of a quiet mind or “boredom.”

None of my best work comes from quiet. If given space to roam freely, my brain tends towards nonsense. Sure, from time to time, I’ll have a shower revelation or use that time to plan my day, but for the most part, my brain does not spend idle time well. It doesn’t seek out those problems hiding just beneath the surface of my consciousness. It doesn’t organize my week on its own. For me, getting things done, making things and being mindful are all an active process.

At our core, we extroverts pull our energy from being around you. While this certainly extends to my face-to-face interactions, I’m also discovering that it holds true for a decent amount of my better thinking. My best ideas almost always come from you. It isn’t that I’m stealing (per se), but I get a feeling that sounds similar to the natural problem solving that I hear people speak about when they allow themselves to become bored. It happens when I engage with a book, a blog or a podcast. It often happens when I’m having a conversation with someone, which is not often ideal. My brain just revs in the background and kicks into a higher gear, especially when I’m around someone who is interesting or challenging me.

What I end up creating is only somewhat related to what the person was initially saying, but it is clearly fueled by their energy. Gini’s passion for the subject and examination of her own introversion sent me down the rabbit hole of my extroversion. I would never have come to the conclusion of why so much of the talk surrounding quiet or “boredom” rings false for me. You’ll read her post and it won’t be immediately clear how 1+1=2, but had this problem in the back of my mind never collided with her work, I wouldn’t be writing these words right now.

Rather than thinking people are full of crap when they extol the benefits of quieting their minds (I’m sorry, but for the longest time I really did think you were full of it), I think I’ve just realized that I get to the same destination by taking a very different road. I’m sure that there is a pretty good chance that I need to get better at being alone with my thoughts. It’s likely that I need to cultivate a better relationship with my own mind, but for the minute, surrounding myself with all of your ideas seems to be doing the trick.

So fellow extroverts, am I alone? Or is there something to this idea of extroverted thinking? Not finding the benefits of “boredom” or quiet? Give this a shot and let me know what you think. Find something inspiring and see if it inspires you to make something of your own.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    It’s funny because Mr. D is like you – gregarious, loud, fun to be around…and ALWAYS around other people. I once heard a speaker say that extroverts will answer their phone before anything else because they are excited someone else wants to talk to them. Mr. D is totally that way. We go head-to-head sometimes because I like to spend my weekends thinking and reflecting and riding and he wants to spend his going out with friends and whooping it out. We both have to make sacrifices for the other. We always just assumed something was wrong with me until I began to read more about introverts. Now we know we just have different personality types. It makes life a lot easier to understand that about one another.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      My wife is very much like you in that way, funny how we all find our imago…

      Oddly enough, I’m an extrovert who hates the phone. I prefer digital or face-to-face. That’s why a big part of my own extroversion is all about content. It allows me to be alone, but not alone at the same time (if that makes any sense). It’s more a matter of getting more from an active mind than a passive one for me.

      I see what you mean about sacrifices, but I’ve also found that what I consider to be a sacrifice in the sense of my marriage has often helped me to grow. To a certain extent, my wife helps me keep a foot planted on the ground and I help ensure she gets out every now and again :)

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