Did you know that the Myers-Briggs Personality Theory uses our way of thinking to separate us into introverted and extroverted individuals?
If this is a surprise to you, then you’re not the only one. I thought the personality traits of introverts and extroverts extended only to external behaviour. For example, the way we act around others, whether we like social contact or whether we prefer to be left alone.
For instance, a typical introvert will tire easily in company and find solitude the best way to recharge their batteries. On the other hand, extroverts love to be the centre of attention and find alone time hard to deal with.
However, I didn’t realise that we could also think in an introverted or extroverted way. So what exactly is introverted thinking?
You might imagine that when we think, we do so in a kind of social and personal vacuum, but that’s far from the truth. Every experience, every connection, every person we’ve ever met colours our thinking process. As a result, when we think, we bring up all this knowledge and it shapes our thoughts.
So, it stands to reason that someone who is, by nature, more of an introverted person is not suddenly going to start thinking in an extroverted way. But it’s actually more complicated than that. There are very clear differences between introverted and extroverted thinking. And some you might not have thought of.
Differences between Introverted Thinking & Extroverted Thinking
- Focus on what’s in their head
- Deep thinkers
- Prefer concepts and theories
- Good with solving problems
- Use precise language
- Natural followers
- Get projects moving
- Need to know how things work
Examples of Introverted Thinkers:
Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Larry Page (Co-founder of Google), Simon Cowell, Tom Cruise.
Introverted thinkers don’t mind mess and chaos because it allows them to sift through the mess to find answers. They like to analyse a situation before they make a decision.
They will gather all the necessary information they have on the subject, measure it carefully against what they already know, and see if it corresponds or not. Any new information gets stored for later use, anything that’s incorrect gets tossed.
They continue to work in this way, re-evaluating every situation until they are satisfied they have the right conclusion. Having said that, they are always open to new information because at the end of the day they want the truth.
They have an almost obsessive need to know how things work and, as a result, are renowned for coming up with new inventions. They understand complex theories which they can then use in the real world.
- Focus on the real world
- Logical thinkers
- Prefer facts and objectives
- Good with planning and organising projects
- Use commanding language
- Natural leaders
- Get people moving
- Need to know how people work
Examples of Extroverted Thinkers
Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Martha Stewart, Judge Judy, Uma Thurman, Nancy Pelosi (US Speaker of the House).
Extroverted thinkers can’t stand mess. They are typically much-organised people who need to know where everything is before they can either start work or begin to relax. You won’t find an extrovert with a messy desk. Moreover, if you are messy and disorganised, just ask one to help you and you won’t ever regret it.
Extroverts are direct people and this applies to their approach to life. They won’t faff about. They make quick decisions, take the fastest route or skip lunch to make a meeting. They plan in advance, schedule appointments and know exactly when their train or bus is due to arrive.
Also, they stick with what they know and don’t like new information because it might mess up their carefully thought-out plans.
5 Signs You Might Be an Introverted Thinker
ISTPs & INTPs use introverted thinking.
- You don’t believe everything you read.
Do you find you are always fact-checking before you repost on Facebook? Did you question your tutors at school? Do you take things with a pinch of salt? These are all signs of introverted thinking.
- You like to take your time when making a decision
No one can accuse you of making rash decisions or acting on impulse. You won’t be rushed when it comes to important decisions.
- You’re not afraid of arguing your point of view.
Some people don’t like confrontation, but that’s not you. If you believe you are right, you’ll back yourself, even if it makes you unpopular.
- Sometimes you find it hard to explain your position
Just because it makes sense to you doesn’t mean it’s easy to tell someone else.
- You don’t follow normal societal routines
People that follow their own path, whether it’s getting up late and working until midnight, or going vegan, natural rule-breakers are introverted thinkers.
5 Signs You Might Be an Extroverted Thinker
ENTJs and ESTJs use extroverted thinking.
- You like facts and figures
You have a tendency to believe and trust people. You look to experts to give you advice and you’re happy to follow it.
- You can’t bear people who procrastinate
There’s no ‘doing it tomorrow when you can do it today’ for you. In fact, you don’t get the point of putting something off and you can’t understand why someone would.
- You’ll make a decision quickly
People can rely on you in a crisis because of your quick thinking and the fact that you are not afraid of making hard choices.
- You are able to vocalise your thoughts
You can easily externalise your inner thoughts to others. It’s part of how you can communicate easily and get the job done.
- You like rules and regulations
Following the rules allows things to run smoothly and that lets you plan and organise your world more efficiently.
Did you recognise yourself in any of the above descriptors? If you want to know more, why not see which Myers-Briggs personality type you are?
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