Quixote Consulting

What's Your Preference?
Extraversion or Introversion
Extraversion or Introversion – The Flow of Energy

One of our quests is to help you bring your unique strengths effectively into play. Over the coming months together we will uncover the different gifts we bring to the world and how best to interact with others as unique as ourselves. We will use the lens of Jungian type theory as a way of exploring the ‘neighborhood’ where you live.

Psychologist C.G. Jung first published his personality type theory in 1921.
He deeply believed in the uniqueness of each person, stating always to ‘treat the individual first’. He believed that the human psyche was to be learned about primarily from individual experience and invited people to personally encounter and learn all that they were within themselves.

What’s Your Preference? – Extraversion or Introversion

Jung coined the terms extraversion and introversion. These terms are derived from the Latin words for ‘flow of energy’. They have a much broader meaning than the common use implying social skill versus shyness. Jung just meant them as neutral descriptors of the direction of energy. People who prefer extraversion get their energy from the outer world of people and events. People who prefer introversion get their energy from the inner world of thoughts and reflections. We do both every day, but we naturally prefer one to the other.

Which do you prefer? Where do you get most of your energy – from being with people and things, or with your thoughts and ideas? Think about times when you need to re-energize. Where do you go – to be with people or be with yourself? Does the idea of being in a group of people usually excite you or get you tired just thinking about it? This is very useful to know, because you’re starting to get a clue as to how to get yourself back on track when you’re lost – you probably ‘find’ yourself either by extraverting or introverting.

Here are some words and phrases often associated with the two types. What’s the type that you prefer more often? If you’re having trouble deciding, it’s sometimes easier to use the process of elimination method by recognizing yourself in what you don’t like. Ask yourself, “Which of these descriptions isn’t me – which one would I loathe if I did this most of the day?”

Extraversion (E) Inroversion (I)
Often enjoys talking to anyone Often selective about which people to talk toy
Often thinks out loud Often thinks, then sometimes acts
Often talks, then perhaps thinks

Often drawn to the inner world of ideas and reflections
Often drawn to the outer world of people and objects Often taken by surprise by the outer world
Often energized by time with others Often energized by time alone
Often likes being in groups of people Often prefers being in small groups or with just one other person
Often energized by interaction Can enjoy solitude
Often has many friends Often has a small select group of friends
Often appears enthusiastic and expressive Can appear reserved and quiet
Often open about personal information Often internally aware
Often does best work in action Often protective of personal information
  Often does best work in reflection

One draws us like a magnet. For example, if you’re in your office alone working on a project and longing to be out in the hall or lunchroom talking with other people, you are experiencing a preference for extraversion. If you’re in a meeting and you’re longing for some quiet alone time in your office to get your work done, you’re experiencing a preference for introversion.


Extraverts often find that solutions to a problem become clear when they can talk it out with others. Introverts often find that reflection in solitude will most effectively generate solutions to problems. Extraverts will often act on a problem first, move in fast, get hands-on and then reflect on the data their actions generated. Their motto might be, “How will I know unless I try it?” Introverts will often do their reflection first. They spend more time in the inner world of ideas before they take action, and the action time is often just used to test the veracity of their ideas. Their motto might be, “I need to figure it out before I try it.”

An extravert’s thinking process is usually more transparent, since more of it is occurring verbally. An introvert is “extraverting on the inside,” even if it seems like nothing is going on from the outside. An extravert is sometimes in danger of saying too much. An introvert is sometimes in danger of saying too little.

We’re All Types Every Day

Would you like to know what you have in common with every other person on earth? We all use all personality types all day, every day. For example, regardless of your preference for extraversion or introversion, every day you get and give energy to external people and events (extraversion) as well as the inner world of thoughts and reflections (introversion).

You may have noticed this when you read the descriptions of the different types. Perhaps you said to yourself, “Yes, but I do what the extraversion type description says some of the time, and some of the time I do what the introversion type description says.” You may even have been hard-pressed to decide which one you preferred. “But I do both!”

And that is exactly true. You do indeed do both every day. The important piece is to try to discern which type you prefer. Even though you use both of your hands throughout the day, you probably prefer to use one hand to the other. Either your left or right hand feels more comfortable and natural. And you get better results. To illustrate this, try writing your name with your non-dominant hand. This holds true for your type – you use both, but one feels more comfortable. And you’re more efficient and productive if your preferred type is in play.

Your Type, Your Gift

Jungian type theory is a tool to give you options, not to put yourself or someone else in a box. All types are good – there are no bad or wrong types. Your type is your gift either to be utilized for a more successful life or to be squandered by not using it. Your type is a gift, not an excuse. It’s not a free pass to be used to avoid assigned tasks or performance issues that need to be addressed.

Look at the people around you, whether co-workers, friends, or family members. Get curious about their unique gifts. Encourage these gifts to blossom and leveraged to best do the work at hand so that everyone can have more successful lives.

Your Neighborhood

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” – Mr. Rogers

Consider the neighborhood analogy. Within each town or city there are different neighborhoods. You live in your neighborhood for a reason, and if you like where you are, you probably share many of the values of others in your neighborhood. You are most comfortable in your neighborhood. Like most of us, you probably enjoy exploring, but as the song says, “It’s nice to go traveling, but it’s nice to come home again.” You are most comfortable in your own neighborhood.

Deciding what your preferred type is accesses a common language that you can use to discuss your differences with others – a language of ‘neighborhoods’. How common is this language of types? The MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which uses Jungian type theory as its basis, is the world’s most widely used personality inventory. When you use this language with others in discussing differences and how to leverage them, chances are pretty good that many will already have some understanding of what you’re talking about. And it focuses your search for your ‘home’ into a more efficient process. After all, now you know what neighborhood to look at.

Quix Tip - How to Re-charge Your Battery
When you’re tired, worn down and you need some energy to get your work done, try this tip.

Extroversion Quix Tip
Pause. Take a short break from what you’re working on. Get up from your desk and seek out someone to have a short conversation with.

What - The topic isn’t important, but try to make it not be about your work at hand. It could be about sports, weather, politics, current events, an interesting bit of trivia you picked up. Or it could be curiosity about their family, favorite vacation spot, anything. Get curious - what would you like to know about this person?

Who - Choose someone, even a stranger is fine, anyone that you’d feel comfortable talking with very briefly about anything you choose. Offer to get someone a cup of coffee or a snack, and then have a quick chat with them.

How - Try to have this conversation in person. A face-to-face conversation will give you the best shot at recharging your battery. If that isn’t possible, pick up the phone and call someone you know. Emailing and Instant Messaging is a third option, and will do in a pinch.

After you’ve had your short conversation and you’re heading back to your work at hand, notice your energy level. Is your battery a little bit re-charged? If so, what about the conversation energized you? Get as specific as you can. The more clearly you can understand what energizes you, the more powerful a tool you can add to your re-charging toolbox.

Now, head back to your work, refreshed and ready to re-enter the challenge ahead of you.

Introversion Quix Tip
Pause. Take a short break from what you’re working on. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and undisturbed. Close your eyes and take some deep slow breaths. Let the demands of the outer world drain away each time you breathe out. Return to yourself. Then allow your mind to freely wander on its own inner exploration.

The quieter the spot you’re in, the more quickly you can rejuvenate yourself, whether it’s a park bench outside, alone or a walk on a quiet path. If you can’t find a quiet spot in your office or outside go out to your car on your break, close your eyes, breathe and relax. If you’re in a very busy, loud environment, a bathroom stall will do in a pinch. It’s important to let go as much as possible of the external demands that are tugging at you, just for these few moments and return to yourself.

It’s also helpful to take a short pause between activities. For example, if you’ve had a long drive in traffic, take a quiet moment by yourself before you go inside and meet whomever you are expecting at your destination. This gives your active internal life a chance to catch up with all of your external interactions.

Another recharging method is to have a meaningful one-on-one conversation with a person you have a strong connection with, either in person or on the phone. This conversation often will give you even more energy than just quiet, alone time. However, don’t try this when your internal battery is on empty. It works best when you’re just a little depleted.

Track what works bests for you. Whenever you are able to take a quick vacation from all externalities pulling at you, you will return to your work refreshed and ready to re-enter the challenges ahead of you.

Home, Sweet Home

You’re more than your preference. Some of the descriptor words and phrases may ring true, others won’t. Just as your home in your neighborhood is unique, so you occupy a unique position within a type description. What it does do though, is to focus your quest on a particular area, which makes your search much more efficient. If you can clearly articulate your unique home within a type of neighborhood you will be able to be at your best more of the time.

At Your Best ‘Home’ Work

Write down three sure-fire strategies that help you gather more energy – unique to you.

What energized you this past week? When were you at your best?
Is it ‘take a walk’, ‘read the news’, ‘talk with another person’?

Then dig deeper. For example if ‘take a walk’ is something that energizes you, ask yourself: Is it ‘take a walk alone’, ‘take a walk with a close friend’, ‘take a walk with a group of people’? If it’s with someone else, what did you talk about?

Now put what you wrote somewhere you can see it every day this coming week to remind you to do it again (or something like it), especially when you need energy for a challenging project or task.

Type Examples

Below are some examples of movie characters, writings and quotes that exhibit many of the traits of the two different types. These are examples only, and they’re all guesses. We can only guess at what people’s types may be, or characters may be by their words or actions. It’s dangerous and ignorant to presume to know what someone else’s type is unless they’ve told you. Jungian type is completely self-determined.

So be careful with real people – avoid stereotyping. However it’s fun to speculate with famous people. For example, Gandhi’s two hours a day quietly using a spinning wheel alone, his numerous anecdotes in his Autobiography of his shyness, and even his solutions to his country’s problems – fasting, non-violence, walking to the ocean – all point to him probably preferring introversion.

So enjoy these guesses. Take them with a grain of salt, and feel free to agree or disagree with our guesses as you deepen your understanding of type.


“Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?” – Walt Whitman
“I would never read a book if it were possible to talk half an hour with the man who wrote it.” – Woodrow Wilson
“The end of man is an action, not a thought.” – Thomas Carlyle
“If you don’t talk to the people at the grindstone, you won’t know what’s happening in the kingdom.” – Phat-Hoept

 “Nothing can be done without solitude.” – Pablo Picasso

 “Man cannot long survive without air, water, and sleep. Next in importance comes food. And close on its heels, solitude.” – Thomas Szasz
“People who cannot bear to be alone are generally the worst company.” – Albert Guinon
“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.” – Vermont proverb

Fictional Characters

Extraversion Introversion
James Bond Bruce Wayne (Batman)
Spider-man Peter Parker
Hobbes (from Calvin and Hobbes) Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes)
Homer and Bart Simpson Marge and Lisa Simpson
Princess Leia Luke Skywalker
The Bride (from Kill Bill) Jason Bourne
Sam, Merry and Pippin (from Lord of the Rings)

Aragorn, Gandalf and Frodo (from Lord of the Rings)

Extraversion Introversion
Say It Loud – James Brown Fool On the Hill – Beatles
Windy – The Association In My Room – the Beach Boys
Rock This Town – Stray Cats There’s a Kind of a Hush – Herman’s Hermits
We Will Rock You – Queen Just the Two of Us – Bill Withers
Walk This Way – Aerosmith Behind Blue Eyes – the Who
Just a Gigolo (I Ain’t Got Nobody) – Louis Prima You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice – Lovin’ Spoonful
Ladies Night – Kool and the Gang He’s So Shy – Pointer Sisters
Havin’ a Party – Sam Cooke Tears of a Clown – Smoky Robinson
Get the Party Started – Pink Who Can It Be Now – Men at Work
Squeeze Box – the Who Waterloo Sunset – the Kinks
We Are Family – Sister Sledge Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley
You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King Everybody’s Talkin’ – Harry Nilsson

Writing (the works of…)

Extraversion Introversion
Charles Dickens Virginia Woolf
John Irving Emily Dickinson
Allan Ginsberg Theodore Roethke
Pablo Neruda Rainer Maria Rilke
Walt Whitman W.B. Yeats
Rumi Robert Bly
Salman Rushdie Mary Oliver
Billy Collins John Updike

Technology and Locations

Extraversion Introversion
Public Transportation The automobile
The cell phone The iPod
The kitchen The bedroom
Bars and restaurants Libraries
The beach in summer The beach in winter
The picnic table The hammock