What Kind of Introvert Are You?

Are you an introvert? It depends on which book you read. Here’s a sampling of the various conceptualizations of introversion in pop culture [1]: Preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments: Quiet by Susan Cain Preference for concentration and solitude: The Introvert’s Way by Sophia Dembling Rechargeable battery: The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney Thoughtful-introspective

Are you an introvert? It depends on which book you read.

Here’s a sampling of the various conceptualizations of introversion in pop culture [1]:

Historically, there has been just as much confusion in the psychological literature. Carl Jung originally defined introversion as a focus on one’s “inwardly directed psychic energy”. However, in the 30s, the psychologist J.P. Guilford showed that various attempts to measure Jung’s conceptualization of introversion resulted in multiple, distinct factors. In other words, there didn’t appear to be a single dimension of personality that captured all of introversion.

In the 60s Patricia Carrigan echoed this point, arguing that introversion was not effectively captured by a single scale. She cautioned that if the phrase introversion is to continue to be used, “care must be taken to specify its conceptual and operational referent. What appear to be minor distinctions between the various conceptions may in fact be crucial ones.” In the 70s, the heated debate continued, with a much older Guilford arguing with H.J. Eysenck over whether introversion can possibly, or even should, be captured by a single scale.

All seemed to be settled in the 90s with the emergence of the “Big Five” framework of personality. The five main factors of personality– extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and intellect/imagination– were empirically derived based on what patterns of behavior tend to go together within individuals. Under this framework, introversion is merely defined as the opposite of extraversion.

In the Big Five framework, extraversion comprises two main aspectsenthusiasm (reflecting sociability, positive emotions, and warmth) and assertiveness (reflecting the tendency to take charge, become a leader, and captivate attention). The common factor seems to be high sensitivity to rewards in the environment— which due to the highly social nature of humans throughout the course of human evolution, most prominently consists of rewards associated with social attention.

Therefore, under the dominant personality framework in modern psychology, if you score low in enthusiasm and assertiveness, you’re an introvert

Here’s the problem: the Big Five framework forces a definition of introversion onto people, many of whom do not conceptualize introversion in the same way. For instance, one study did a comparison of common-sense/everyday notions of introversion and ‘scientific’ conceptions of introversion. They found that the most prototypical characteristic of introversion, as identified by the general public, was the following item:

Clearly, many people equate introversion with introspection. In the Big Five framework, however, this item is classified as part of the intellect/imagination domain of personality, not the introversion domain. So there’s a serious mismatch between folk definitions of introversion and scientific definitions. People who view themselves as introverted because they are highly introspective are being told by scientists: “You aren’t really introverted based on patterns of covariation among the general population.” To which everyday people rightfully respond: “WTF?” [3]

As noted personality psychologist Jonathan Cheek told me, “by invalidating the ordinary language meaning of introversion by defining it solely as the opposite of Big Five Extraversion, the Big Five researchers are guilty of Psychological Imperialism [4].” Influenced by the seminal work of Jung, Guilford, and Carrigan, Cheek and his colleagues have decided to take a different approach, by focusing on the phenomenon of introversion on its own, free from having to be force-fit into one scheme or another.

As Carl Jung said, each individual is ultimately a unique crystal, but type theories can be helpful for navigating social life. Embracing this Jungian philosophy, Cheek and his colleagues argue that when people use the term “introversion”, they should never just use it by itself. Instead, they argue that researchers should put a specific modifier in front of the term. What modifiers could be used?

In her masters thesis (written under the advisement of Cheek), Jennifer Odessa Grimes defined four meanings of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained (which happens to form the positive acronym STAR). It’s possible to score high or low on either of these flavors of introversion. For instance, you could be low in social introversion by preference but not be particularly anxious in the presence of people. Or you could suffer from crippling social anxiety, but still have the desire to be highly social. Or any other combination of these four meanings of introversion.

By this point you’re probably wondering what kind of introvert you are. Well, you’re in luck. There’s a new test for that.

Good and Bad effects of competition in Life

Winner Winner Confidence booster!

Get set go!! What do you make of that? If you think its competition, you are absolutely right! In Today’s fast moving life,this phrase makes sense most of the time in every field. Yes, competition,the act of trying tobwin or gain something by defeating others, is the policy we bear in mind in completing any task how much ever minute it may be.

One of the main advantages of competition is, it provides purpose and firmness to the mind. It gives us an impetus to pursue our goal, despite the difficulties that comes along the way. Here, ego also plays a major part as losing means one is inferior to the other. This might help in increasing confidence level. If its a challenge, why not gain the pleasure by surmounting it?

Even for a trifle task, one thinks that he must be the first one to finish it, thereby forcing each one to give their level best into it, yielding a better result altogether. This trait can be observed in children too. They try to compete in any task given to them and feel very good about themselves once they finish it. This simple instance shows the infuence of competition.

Now-a-days, children are very witty, which increases the level of competition.With numerous opportunities and resources come greater competition. This can be observed in various competitive exams. The cut off marks are such that, by a point difference people lose.This induces more stress in people which might be positive or negative, depending on each individual and circumtances.

Competition provides the opportunity to select the best among the bests. It is the best way to analyze ourselves and keep a track of where we stand among our peers. It also gives us chance to improve ourselves and achieve better when the next opportunity knocks our doors.

The monthly or annual exams students face is a trailor to the future competitions we might encounter. Many children as well as adults bear the opinion that exams are unnecessary and irrelevant. On the contrary, without a definite reason, it is highly unlikely that people learn what is to be learnt.

The importance of competition is such that we must always engage in improving ourselves to be on par with the bustling world. Only when we compare and compete with people, our areas of strength and weakness is revealed to us. This is help in finding direction to move forward in life.

Coming to the disadvantages, it depends on one’s mentality and view point. If one is pessimistic, the idea of competition might be discouraging to him. Whereas, if he is optimistic and ready to take on challenges, it might actually help in pushing oneself to improvise on all levels. The reality stands that competition is everywhere. One can either moan about or make the best out of it.

In conclusion, one musy always try to have healty competition in mind. Especially in this competitive world, competition is a must and the one conpeting with full determination will be the winner of the competition called life.

A Poem in Appreciation of Defeat.

Failures and defeats are what everyone of us meets throughout life. But how we react to them is that which decides how successful we can be. Kahlil Gibran’s poem ‘Defeat’ gives a lesson on learning from our failures and appreciating them.

The poet calls defeat his solitude and aloofness. As said in one of the previous posts, we need to differentiate solitude from loneliness. Solitude is our time and it helps us reflect on yourselves. When defeat gives us our solitude, we reflect on what went wrong and what needs to be done to improve ourselves. This, we cannot get from success. So, failure is dearer than all the victories and sweeter to the heart than all the fame and respect which success gives.

Also, the poet calls defeat his self-knowledge and defiance. Through defeat, we learn that we are still young and prone to mistakes. Through it, we know that we have a long way to go and that we shouldn’t be trapped by the fleeting fame. When we fail, we receive criticisms and are censured. Some of these criticisms help us to grow and through defeat only, we learn more about ourselves and become strong.

Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,

Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot

And not to be trapped by withering laurels.

In the third stanza, the poet calls defeat his ‘shining sword and shield’ because it protects him from falling prey to ignorance and false knowledge. Through it, the poet learnt that to succeed and labelled as a winner is to be enslaved. This is because when we succeed in something, we think we have mastered that thing and think no more. To think that we have understood everything is to level down ourselves and to be grasped by the ecstatic emotions caused by success is to be in an illusion. Hence, through defeat we learn about our weaknesses and though we fall, we are to cherish the defeat just like how a fallen ripe fruit is relished.

That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
And to be understood is to be leveled down,
And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness
And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.

Now, the poet calls defeat his companion with whom he can be himself.  When alone with defeat, he can talk openly about his worries and hardships. People console us when we fail but there is no greater consolation than defeat itself. Only defeat can truly tell us about what we need to work on, how to overcome hardships and challenges and how hard we should work to reach the goal. Only defeat can break into our insecurities and soul and show a way out. 

And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Lastly, the poet calls defeat his ‘deathless courage’. He imagines himself laughing with defeat when undergoing challenges and together digging graves for everything that they shall leave behind. Finally, both the poet and defeat will see the sun and stand victoriously for all the dark times are gone. And this will be dangerous because there is no one more powerful than a person who has learnt to embrace his defeat.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.

When we rightly learn to appreciate our defeat, there can be no greater strength than our defeat itself. Defeat shapes us stronger and wiser and brings us close to fullness. To succeed, we should befriend defeat and it shall be our greatest motivation.