I have been wanting to do some more research with regards to introverts and extroverts. Of course, I turned to the first place that I know of whenever I am looking for reading material: Amazon! I stumbled upon the most amazing book by Peter Hollins; The Science of Introverts (And Extroverts and Everyone In-Between) and he makes a reference to how introverts and extroverts are very similar to the Yin and Yang symbols that around the 3rd century in ancient Chinese cultures. The Yin and Yang represent two things that cannot exist separate from one another. For example, female & male, soft & hard, moon & sun, black & white, and in this case, introvert & extrovert.
Take a moment, and imagine the Yin and the Yang, better yet, draw in on a scrap of paper. Notice the S that divides the circle into two very equal parts, showing us that all things represented through Yin and Yang are created equally. In the fatter part of each symbol there is a dot, a black dot or a white dot. The dot represents a bit of the opposite within. The black, the Yin holds a white dot of the Yang within. Showing that even one is not absolute. One cannot fully exist without the other. What is female, without male? What is soft, without hard? What is introvert, without extrovert? It also represents how we all hold a little of each within ourselves.
Over the past few months, I have taken a lot of time to think about myself as an extrovert. I do in fact, have times I want to be alone, in quiet, to think and recharge. When that alone time is finished (usually quickly) I need someone to talk to. It’s almost like my brain is telling me to find that social interaction to regain my energy. Much like introverts might really enjoy social situations but then need that time to regain focus and get energy back.
I bring this topic up to shed light on the fact that within us there are nuggets and glimmers of the opposite disposition in which we feel is most strong. Within each extrovert there are introverted tendencies and on the flip, in each introvert there are extroverted tendencies.
This brings clarity to my brain when thinking about introverts and extroverts in the classroom.
- Do not be worried that all your extroverted students will have to socialize all day long in order to be successful. Remember the Yin to their Yang, they can and will be quiet at times and work on their own, quite successfully.
- On the opposite side of the coin, do not be afraid that your introverted students will not be able to socialize or will just sit in the corner and work alone. The Yang to their Yin will inspire and challenge them to reach out and socialize from time to time, and enjoy it!
- Lastly, do not worry that juggling these dispositions and adapting your craft to fit their needs will result in an exhaustive job. Adapting each and every moment of the day to fit specific disposition needs is not what we are suggesting. Making small steps to leverage the strengths of all will be plenty.
Taking a lesson from ancient Chinese culture we are reminded that there is a little bit of introvert within each extrovert. This clarity and deeper understanding can help each of us have a little more empathy for the quirks of each other’s disposition and it’s importance. I find that it is always fun to learn something new about yourself, and in my recent research, I have found that this idea is informative and fun. It reminds me that even with introverts and extroverts, there is no absolute. We all have qualities of both within us.