Your personality type is a vast topic, due to the numerous traits out there. There are endless quizzes out there to reveal which personality trait you are.
Do you prefer to work alone? Are you inclined towards one-on-one conversations or solo activities? If you opt for these answers, chances are you’re an introvert. But, have you ever pondered on the science behind introversion?
Definition of Introvert
The definition of an introvert is someone who enjoys a quiet, minimally stimulating atmosphere. Introverts feel exhausted after socializing and restore their vitality by spending time alone. This is primarily because the brains of introverts respond differently to dopamine than the brains of extroverts. In short, if you’re an introvert, you’re probably born that way.
One main contrast in the brains of introverts and extroverts is how we respond to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a brain-released chemical that creates the desire to pursue external incentives, such as gaining cash, ascending the social ladder, finding a partner, or being chosen at work for a job. When dopamine floods the introvert brain, introverts experience a sense of joy, but it is followed by a feeling of being exhausted.
Instead of dopamine, introverts are more reliant on a particular neurotransmitter type, acetylcholine. Acetylcholine, like dopamine, is a form of reward; acetylcholine, however, is more like an intrinsic reward. It makes a person feel “relaxed, alert, and content”; it also makes a person willing for a long period of time to concentrate on one task.
In a relaxed environment, the reward of acetylcholine is easier to acquire. Therefore, introverts tend to be by themselves so that they can enjoy this reward. If you’re planning to bail on a plan, you can blame it on acetylcholine.
It is easy to paint a picture from the points above that introverts are not destined to become leaders. However, introverts, despite their affinity towards solitude, are capable of doing what extroverts do, sometimes even better.
The only difference is their approach, here are 4 famous people who you never knew were introverts:
As a leader of the India Independence Movement, Gandhi was always known for his simplicity and nonviolent nature. In his Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth he said, “I used to be very shy and avoided company. My books and lessons were my sole companions. I was at school at the stroke of the hour and to run back home as soon as the school closed. That was my daily habit. I literally ran back, because I could not bear to talk to anybody.”
Known for her popular series Harry Potter, the author owes her success to her shyness. She said, “I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me.”
The third-richest person and founder of Microsoft is also an introvert. Gates took full advantage of his introversion and created an empire out of it. Gates once said, “Well, I think introverts can do quite well. If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.”
Last but certainly not least, is Susan Cain the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, changed the perspective of introversions.
In her book, she spoke on the cultural bias in society on how schools and firms are designed for extroverts. Cain’s message is straightforward, but yet extremely profound. All personality traits have their good side and their bad side. But for a long time, we’ve seen introversion only through its negative side and extroversion mostly through its positive side.
Embrace your introversion. After all, society needs thoughtfulness, calmness, and someone who listens. As the adage goes, the person who says the least is also the wisest.