Have you ever thought to yourself when observing someone’s behavior or response to a situation, ‘What WERE they thinking?’ Well, truth be told, most all of us have had this thought from time to time. We further wonder to ourselves if it is just us that wonders about their mindset or do others share the concern. In reality, we process information in a way that is unique to ourselves and yet surprising similar when looked at it from a wider perspective. Since getting to the heart of understanding involves much more depth and time than one blog will allow, for the next few postings I will attempt to explain the layers of differences inherent in our mental processing and hopefully allow us to more fully engage in the critical aspect of communicating and understanding others who just seem…different…as compared to our own mindset.
To begin, each of us fall into a category of being either an extrovert or introvert. Simply put, an extrovert gets energy from people and involvement in external events while an introvert gets energy from learning, observing and thinking. The difference
is significant. For instance, when an extrovert attends a gathering they learn through communicating with others and love the experience of mingling with others. They become more energized and full of thoughts and ideas. They enjoy the interactions and actually collect information that excites and motivates them. They can leave a gathering with more information about individuals and their circumstances that one would ever imagine. In contrast, the introvert not only begrudges going to the gathering but is absolutely exhausted after it is over. Why the difference? Simply put, it is all about energy. The introvert receives energy from their inner world of thoughts and ideas. Basically, they prefer to observe and if they must be involved at all they prefer to listen rather than personally interact. They are the people who are usually picking up during the party or standing closer to the sidelines of a gathering rather than gregariously sharing stories within the group. They too, gather a great deal of information…just through a different orientation. Introverts prefer internal processing and observation rather than engaging in a full social interaction approach. One on one, or small group communication is more comfortable. The idea of ‘The more the merrier’ just doesn’t float their boat.
To understand this further, Jung, a notable expert in the field explains the difference by saying that although we are trained to use both our left and right hands, we do, inherently have a preference for being either right or left handed.
His description makes sense to me. When you are used to eating or writing with your right hand it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to use the left hand for the task but it is much harder, taking more concentration and energy to accomplish the task. Is one better than the other …No… but the difference is important to recognize. It helps us become a bit gentler on ourselves and others. When others do things that seem, at first blush, out of our comfort zone it is important to remember they to have their own lessons and communication preferences.
Once we have determined if we are an introvert or extrovert, the important thing to do is to APPLY this understanding to others. Take the time to observe others and practice seeing the differences in an extrovert and introvert. You will be able to decide, for yourself, whether their preferred style of communicating and understanding is alike or different than your own. Recognizing the difference is both amazing and significant and helps us better communicate with others.
Practice seeing the difference in an extrovert and introvert over the next few days and on my next blog we will drill down even further to discuss the next level of differences in thinking…how we prefer to receive and determine the validity of information obtained from others. We are going further down the rabbit hole…stay tuned!
Have a great few days!