I’m an introvert. That’s why you don’t see me at meetings and celebrations. If you do, I’m in a corner looking awkward. That’s why I’m not trying to build a large laboratory of busy graduate students. That’s why I crave time alone to reflect and think, to write and code…
I am not shy: I can talk in front of 200 people without thinking twice about it. I don’t lack confidence. I have a large ego—too large some would say. (I got my wife to read this post and she particularly agrees with this last sentence.)
But my social interactions have high transaction cost: it takes me time and energy just to start chatting with someone. If I have to chat with dozens of people in a day, I end up exhausted. I can’t pretend to be your friend on the fly. My brain does not work that way.
I love how it is progressively becoming “ok” to be an introvert:
- Carl King wrote a beautiful essay: 10 Myths About Introverts. The last myth is the most important: “Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts”. Gays cannot become straight. Blacks cannot become white. I cannot become an extrovert. King’s essay impressed me so much that I bought his book So, You’re A Creative Genius: a great read if you are both a creative person and an introvert.
- Susan Cain gave a great talk based on her book: Quiet—The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. A core message of her talk is that we should recognize our bias against introverts. Not everyone works best in groups. And that’s ok. Schools and employers need to stop their attempts to fit introverts in the extrovert mold.
Further reading: Venkatesh Rao (another introvert) penned an intriguing analysis of introversion.
Note: This is an expanded version of a Google+ post.