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Fran Ontanaya

Editor - Multilingual Publishing, Freelance


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Introversion: is it regarded as normal in your country/culture?

History offers a rather positive view of introverts: the lone explorers, the poets, the genius scientists, the artists, the philosophers, are often portraited as powered by the particular qualities of introspection. But the day to day social reality within their local tribe may be rather different. Introverts may be admired from afar, but depending on the culture, not so much in their neighborhood.

This is not a big deal except when new generations are raised with only one role model in mind, and this role being a good marketer or short term social achiever, while the value of reflection and self examination is underestimated --note: not of 'thinking' per se, as that's not equivalent to 'introversion'.

My question is, does your country and culture have a model of introverted behaviour that is perceived as a normal social identity? If that's the case, what do you think that differentiates how young people is raised in your country/culture, as opposed to those in which introversion is not considered a normal behaviour? And the most important question, what parts of that education and enviroment do you think that could be exported elsewhere?


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    Jan 8 2013: Fran, I'm still not convinced that a large number of major creative achievers are introverts. You've named a few people below that you think are introverts, but even if they are, they are a tiny percentage of the large number of major creative achievers who have existed and worked.

    I don't see how Bill Gates, who you name below, could be very introverted. After all, for years he headed a corporation of 20,000 people. That sounds very sociable to me.

    You say above that introversion is not equivalent to thinking. How are they different? How is introversion different from being anti-social?

    Even when someone seems to be isolated, it may be that they are not so isolated. Even if Emily Dickinson didn't emerge from the house, she may have had people within the house, or who came to visit her in the house, who helped stimulate her creativity.

    I would tend to think that being creative is generally a pretty sociable enterprise. It's hard to generate new thoughts, and to keep developing thoughts, without having a conversation with somebody. All alone, your mind gets blocked, and stale. Two heads are better than one, we say in the United States.
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      Jan 8 2013: Oh, I'm not arguing that there's a large number (albeit MBTI surveys put the number of introverts at a few points over 50%), but that for the achievers that are, their introversion is portraited positively after it led them to success in tasks that require a lot of reflection. My question is if that quality (or at least, the possibility of having a kind of introversion that leads to achievements) is recognized and valued in people, at least in an equal level with extroversion, when they are still everywomen and everymen.

      Gates' success was established early as a garage entrepeneur, the larger the company became the more executive staff he had for Human Resource management. His position was to give direction and vision to the company, and there's only so many key people he would have needed to actively address for that. Plus, email doesn't require that much interaction.

      There's introverted thinking, but also introverted feeling, introverted sensing, introverted judgement... the key meaning of introversion is a person that doesn't become tired of being inside their own head. Introverted people can be perfectly sociable, except it's an activity that fatigues them more than usual. Same way that for certain social feats an individual has to be able to endure a lot of interaction, for certain creative feats an individual has to be able to endure a lot of deep introspection.

      As someone that has taken part in brainstormings for screenwriting, I can assure you, it's one thing to read other people's thoughts and add them to one's reflection, and a very different one to sit half a dozen people around a table and ask them to create a superior product by comitee. That belief that two heads are always better than one could very well exemplify what I was wondering about, that in some cultures (not necessarily country-wide, it could be for example a certain corporate culture), achievements may be always expected to be done by comitee, even while individual feats are admired.

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