Jake LaCaze


Nature vs. nurture—which is more important? Where does one end and the other begin?

Will we ever answer these questions? Likely not in a way that can withstand even an ounce of scrutiny.

These questions—and others like them—are in my head as I read through Quiet by Susan Cain

The last decade or so I've spent fighting against my introverted nature. I couldn't help viewing my introversion as a defect or hindrance. The voices of others labeling me “antisocial” or focusing on all the things I'd likely never do, such as become the type of person capable of selling ice to an Eskimo, echoed in my head as I stretched to make myself something other than a wallflower.

The good news is I succeeded. To some degree.

I am now someone much more comfortable meeting new people and smiling through small talk.

The bad news is I can do so only in controlled doses.

But there's another piece of good news: I recognize and acknowledge these limitations.

As I get older, I am constantly reminded I have only so much energy for so many things. And I've reached the stage where my energy is best spent not on playing an extrovert, but on leaning into the strengths of introversion:


The ability to see angles and possibilities others may miss.

Hesitation to sip the Kool-Aid.

These days I'm asking what parts of myself are worth the effort to improve, and what parts are better to accept. What parts of my nature should I lean into?

The message that people can change is powerful and inspiring. So merely accepting part of yourself as you are may seem defeatist.

But the effort required to change is best spent on things worth changing. And I'm not convinced compensating for introversion is worth the effort.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The introverts are all right.


Why does it sometimes feel as if the world is made for extroverts? Is it because they are more likely to assert their visions due to their nature?

At times it feels as if introversion is a defect.

Who are these people who need time alone to regroup or process the world around them?

And then there are the fallacies mass culture perpetuates.

Like the idea that introverts have horrible social skills. Or that they're antisocial. Or that they can't lead others.

This last fallacy may be the most damaging because it hurts not only introverts but also those who may benefit from their leadership.

Introverts have potential to be thoughtful leaders. Their reflective tendencies help them step away and process situations with the benefit of time and distance.

It would be unfair to spread the fallacy that extroverts can't do the same. Lead Yourself First gives examples of how Dwight Eisenhower, a definite extrovert, relied on solitude to make some of his toughest decisions as a general in World War II.

Solitude is not exclusive to introverts, though it tends to come more naturally to introverts. The correlation is the same with extroverts and social qualities. Social skills are not exclusive to extroverts, though extroverts are more likely to have developed such skills as they tend to get more practice.

The traits of introversion and extroversion are not indicators of where a person will end up. The traits are more like indicators of the path a person will take to get there.

#perspective #psychology #introversion