Personality Types & Traits:
Our personalities are a complex fusion of attitudes, beliefs, point of view, opinions, preferences, and behaviors. Our personalities are first formed in our temperament as infants and toddlers, and believed to be genetically transmitted. Our environment and free will develops and refines who we are as teens, and personality tends to fully develop in the late teens to early twenties. Personality traits are individual characteristics which when combined, form our personality type. Three personality types are:
- Introversion: Introverts prefer solitude and quiet, but are neither shy nor timid, nor withdrawn. A confident introvert will have what Susan Cain calls Quiet Power. Introverts gain energy from solitary activities, and find social interaction exhausting and draining. They tend to have several very close connections with others who are more brothers and sisters than friends.
- Extroversion; Extraverts prefer intense sensory stimulation- noise and lights, and crowds. They are confident and outgoing, loud and boisterous, and gain energy from social interaction. They find solitude and quiet boring and dull. They seem to know everyone, have many friends, and can make new friends easily.
- Ambiversion: The ambivert embraces qualities of both the introvert and the extrovert. Ambiverts are comfortable with others, but also value solitude. They are equally at home in a dance club or a library. Ambiverts are described as flexible, emotionally stable, intuitive, and influential (Kim, 2014). In one study, ambiverts performed better on a sensorimotor performance test than either introverts of extraverts (Yordanov, Christina, Christov, and Philipova, 2014).
The personality types Introversion, Extraversion, and Ambiversion can be viewed on a continuum, which reflects the complexity of individual differences (Van Edwards, 2014). Human behavior is typically not black and white, or extreme. Extremes of human behavior are typically pathological, rather than adaptive, within normal limits variations. It can be said that one is primarily an introvert or extrovert personality type, but have introvert traits, and vice versa. This combination of traits can be expressed as balance and versatility, which is expressed as very high performance and leadership (Porter, 2015). This is a look at introverts with extravert traits, or depending on your point of view, extraverts with introvert traits. The people on this list are famous; many have wealth that they have been open-handed with; they are powerful and influential, while others on the list had little or no material wealth, but were instrumental agents of change in national and world affairs.
Famous Introverts with Extrovert traits
Susan Cain, Attorney, Author. Her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t stop talking has helped people understand introverts, and helped introverts embrace who they are.
Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, Microsoft Chairman until 2014, and a philanthropist. He is described as very direct and confrontational, and “a ruthless competitor”, traits not often seen in an introvert. He and his wife Melinda established the William H. Gates Foundation, which provides funds for education, health, and investments in impoverished communities (Biography.com, 2016).
Warren Buffet, Investor and philanthropist. He has been an ambitious and focused entrepreneur his entire life, which demonstrates the stability of personality traits. In 2006, Mr. Buffet announced his intention to give away his substantial fortune, including 85% to the William H. Gates Foundation. He and Bill Gates formed the Giving Pledge Foundation , which encourages wealthy individuals to be philanthropists (Biography, 2016c).
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple who gives generously to “random people”, asking that they help others in return (Flandez, 2012). Imagine approaching a relative stranger and offering them a large sum of money.
Mark Zuckerberg, computer programmer and philanthropist who changed how we communicate by developing Facebook, and has pledged to give away 50% of his multibillion dollar fortune over his lifetime (Biography.com, 2016a).
Abraham Lincoln, US President, and Attorney. He was reserved but powerful, and instrumental in re-uniting a divided nation and ending slavery.
Mahatma Gandhi, Political Activist who embodied quiet power as he worked for justice in South Africa and India. Though reputed as a pacifist, he was also a realist who supported British involvement in the First World War (History, n.d.)
Rosa Parks, who (unintentionally) started the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s by steadfastly refusing to give up her seat on a bus.
Albert Einstein, Physicist and Professor who changed how we look at the universe through his Theory of General Relativity and Special relativity . He was initially a pacifist, but as he watched the Nazi’s overrun Europe, he showed himself as a realist who reluctantly supported development of the first nuclear weapons before the Third Reich could develop theirs. He was bold enough to draft a letter to President Truman in 1939, outlining his concerns (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.).
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican Presidential candidate, and pediatric neurosurgeon. In the Republican debates, Dr. Carson demonstrated the quiet power which introverts are known for.
Clint Eastwood, Actor, Director, Former Mayor of Carmel, CA (Andersen, 2012).
Marilyn Monroe, Actress. Marilyn Monroe is still widely admired to this day. How could a woman who exuded such sexuality be an introvert? Her introversion lent to her image, making her seductive and mysterious (Marilyn Monroe, 2015; n.a., n.d.).
All of the people on this list have accomplished much, and touched and enriched the lives of many, or even changed the course of history. Introverts are not who we always expect. Not all introverts fit the stereotype many people hold. Introverts can be confident, powerful in a subtle way, and have a quiet energy and persistence that makes them successful.
Andersen, A. (2012). A Look at Clint’s Life in the Political Arena; 1986-88. Retrieved April 14, 2016 from http://www.clinteastwood.net/mayor/
Biography.com. (2016). Bill Gates. Biography.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016 from
Biography.com. (2016a). Mark Zuckerberg. Biography.com. Retrieved April 14, 2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/mark-zuckerberg-507402
Biography.com. (2016b). Meryl Streep. Biography.com. Retrieved April 14, 2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/meryl-streep-9497266
Biography.com. (2016c). Warren Buffet. Biography.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016 from
Flandez, R. (2012). Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Gives With No Strings. The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved April 16, 2016 from https://philanthropy.com/article/Apple-Co-Founder-Steve-Wozniak/226631
History.com. (n.d.). Mohandas Gandhi. History.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016 from http://www.history.com/topics/mahatma-gandhi
Kim, L. (2014). Why Ambiverts Are More Successful and Influential Than Extroverts. Retrieved April 11, 2016 from http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/ambiverts-are-more-successful-amp-influential-than-extroverts-here-s-why.html
Marilyn Monroe. (2015). Marilyn Monroe. Retrieved April 14, 2016 from http://marilynmonroe.com/
Marlon Brando filmography. (2016, April 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:09, April 16, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marlon_Brando_filmography&oldid=714354819
n.a. (n.d.). 42 Ridiculously Famous Introverts. Feeling Success. Retrieved April 11, 2016 from http://www.feelingsuccess.com/famous-introverts/
Porter, D.A. (2015). 7 reasons why Introverts make great leaders. Keep Calm and Dream. Retrieved April 15, 2016 from http://keepcalmanddream.com/7-reasons-why-introverts-make-great-leaders/
Steven Spielberg filmography. (2016, April 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:09, April 16, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Steven_Spielberg_filmography&oldid=715121124
United States Department of Energy. (n.d.). Albert Einstein. Hanford.gov. Retrieved April 16, 2016 from http://www.hanford.gov/page.cfm/Famous/Einstein
Van Edwards , V. (2014). Are You an Ambivert? Science of People. Retrieved April 11, 2016 from http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2014/12/ambivert-extrovert-introvert/
Yordanov, S., Christina, G., Christov, V., Philipova, D. T. (2014). Ambiversion as independent personality characteristic. Activitas Nervosa Superior Rediviva. 56 (3–4). Retrieved April 11, 2016 from http://www.rediviva.sav.sk/56i3/65.pdf
David A Porter
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