Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Introverts - They Matter Too

Introverts - They Matter Too

Tara Russo

Year 6

Everyone is talking, shouting, laughing, crying. In the midst of all this chatter I am the only one quiet and still. I don't need to talk, so why should I? Yet the way people glance at me tells me I should be talking, shouting, laughing, crying.

Tells me I should be feeling energised from this event, rather than tired.

Tells me I'm weird.

Ever felt this way? Ever felt you're the only one without a need to talk, or you feel recharged after being alone for a while? If so, you're probably like me, an introvert. If you're the opposite, then you're an extrovert. And if you feel you're both, then you're an ambivert. A third to half of the population are introverts, so why do we feel we're constantly being told to be 'outgoing', 'talkative', or to put it simply, extroverts? This is the extrovert ideal, where people assume the ideal person is an extrovert. That isn't right. Extroverts have many things they're good at of course, but introverts have lots of strengths too. They're just different strengths. Studies have shown that generally introverts are more creative, determined and better listeners, just to name a few.

One of the reasons people try to 'fix' introverts may be because they think the person is being shy or scared to talk and are trying to help them by giving them the chance to speak up. They don't realise the person is being introverted and will probably only speak when they have something worth saying. Introverts need to make sure others recognise the difference between wanting to say something, but being too shy to speak up and not needing to say anything at the moment. However, extroverts and ambiverts need to be aware that not everyone is as talkative as them. It should work both ways, with each personality type adjusting their ways for the needs of the other.

When you think of leaders, you most likely imagine a confident, extroverted person. However, introversion and leadership isn't necessarily a contradiction. In some cases, introverts are even better at leading people.  Why? Because as I mentioned before, introverts are great listeners. Their ability to listen, (and I mean really listen, not just glaze over and pretend) means they can take in other people's ideas, whereas extroverts may sometimes get so caught up in their own thoughts they forget to listen to others. Introverts observe their surroundings, so are more likely to spot flaws and problems. Another leadership skill most introverts have is that they are more likely to play it safe. Introverts won't take something halfway and hope it works out. They'll put in the full amount of effort to make sure - to be sure - that whatever they're doing will turn out the way they want. The world needs more leaders, and if introverts are great leaders, why do they need to change? That's one question I can't answer.

Today I've tried to show you that introverts matter. You don't need to have a loud voice to make a big impact. For this modern world to succeed we need extroverts, ambiverts and introverts. Society needs to encourage introverts to be themselves, not try to turn them into extroverts. As Mahatma Gandhi said;

“In a gentle way you can shake the world.”