Personality, or Mindset? What drives success?
Ever notice how people can be introverted when they talk about themselves but glowing extroverts when the topic is about something they are passionate about? I have noticed this about writers. They do not define themselves as writers, until someone asks a question about their book, and then they never shut up. This paradox has always made me laugh.
Recently, I listened to a TED talk by Susan Cain, an author who published a bestselling book in 2014 called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I was surprised to discover that to a psychologist an introvert is not a reserved person. Introverts are not shy people who are afraid of public speaking–they do all those things very well. Introversion is not about timid behavior but a cognitive expression of how information is processed. Introverts spend hours pondering the inner world; their focus is on concepts and ideas. An extrovert is more interested in people and the things that make up the outer world. The differences show up in the way these two groups of people approach life. Introverts work in an internally focused manner, they prefer to prepare and practice before revealing their thoughts. Extroverts, on the other hand, get their energy by interacting with others and are willing to talk extemporaneously, even on topics they know little about. They can be charming, and often annoying, all at the same time.
Our culture applauds the extrovert and scolds the introvert by encouraging them to “speak up.” Childhood must seem tedious, rushed and pushy, for the young introvert. However, once we claim our identities, through work and daily routines, I don’t think that being an introvert or extrovert matters much. There’s hundreds of successful writers and engineers to fit both categories. I have found people evolve into hybrids, or even jump into the opposite category, as best suits them.
Repeating myself from my last blog, it is not what you are, but how you respond to the world and information. That’s the most intriguing measure of an intelligent nature. I find that performance, endurance, and success is in the mindset, not because of a personality type. Some people respond to new things with a growth mindset, seeking new directions and ideas. Others worry about themselves and their aspirations, until they reach a point when they become defensive and discouraged. They have developed a “fixed mindset” about their ability to learn, persuade and succeed.
I enjoy anyone with enough discernment to integrate their world. Writers fall in this category, they have an over-developed “growth mindset” and are curious about ideas, people, concepts and the world around them.