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David Baxter

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QUIZ: Are You an Introvert or an Extravert? (And Why It Matters)
by Susan Cain, Psychology Today
March 9, 2011

The north and south of temperament.

Take this quiz to find out where you fall on the introvert-extravert spectrum.

Answer each question True or False, choosing the answer that applies to you more often than not.

  1. I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
  2. I often prefer to express myself in writing.
  3. I enjoy solitude.
  4. I seem to care about wealth, fame, and status less than my peers.
  5. I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in-depth about topics that matter to me.
  6. People tell me that I'm a good listener.
  7. I'm not a big risk-taker.
  8. I enjoy work that allows me to "dive in" with few interruptions.
  9. I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
  10. People describe me as "soft-spoken" or "mellow."
  11. I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.
  12. I dislike conflict.
  13. I do my best work on my own.
  14. I tend to think before I speak.
  15. I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.
  16. I often let calls go through to voice-mail.
  17. If I had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
  18. I don't enjoy multi-tasking.
  19. I can concentrate easily.
  20. In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.
The more often you answered True, the more introverted you probably are. Lots of Falses suggests you're an extravert. If you had a roughly equal number of Trues and Falses, then you may be an "ambivert" - yes, there really is such a word.

Why does it matter where you fall on the introvert-extravert spectrum? Because introversion and extraversion lie at the heart of human nature - one scientist refers to them as "the north and south of temperament". And when you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament, you unleash vast stores of energy.

Conversely, when you spend too much time battling your own nature, the opposite happens - you deplete yourself. I've met too many people living lives that didn't suit them - introverts with frenetic social schedules, extraverts with jobs that required them to sit in front of their computers for hours at a stretch. We all have to do things that don't come naturally - some of the time. But it shouldn't be all the time. It shouldn't even be most of the time.

This is particularly important for introverts, who have often spent so much of their lives conforming to extraverted norms that by the time they choose a career, or a calling, it feels perfectly normal to ignore their own preferences. You may be uncomfortable in law school or in the marketing department, but no more so than you were back in junior high or summer camp.

Susan Cain is the author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, a popular blog and forthcoming book about introversion.
 
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What happens when you're an extrovert and have a physical disability that prevents you from fulfilling your life's dreams? If you enjoy being around people, taking part in positive and motivating group activities, are a team player, and have a strong desire to work and be out with people, but a wheelchair prevents one from doing it, it can be a real challenge.

Harder still is having a history of depression and knowing full well that it is vital to keep involved as much as possible because, by doing so, you are living the extrovert lifestyle that is so much of your personality makeup and it will keep you out of the depression. It will also help you thwart chronic pain so you don't have to take medication.

I'm just wondering if there have been any studies done on how to keep a person with a physical disability and extroverted personality mentally well. If there isn't one, and someone wants to do one, is there a way to collaboratively get one started?
 
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