As an NLP life coach, I come across many queries about human behavior. I was having a discussion with a friend yesterday and during the discussion he asked – “Naresh, in your view, Is being introvert better or being extrovert? What is your take on it as a life coach?”
I have come across this question many times and have also spent quite a lot of time pondering over the pros and cons of both sides. You might also have same or similar question in mind or might have been asked by someone at some point of time.
Both introvert and extrovert have their own positive and negative points.
Introvert people are generally more thoughtful and analytical in nature. An introvert person thinks(and sometimes overthinks) a lot about the situation before making a comment. An extrovert might harm himself in situations where over talk is counter productive e.g. in a court case.
An extrovert is good at making a lot of friends and in a typical situation he is able to manage his state well by talking about or venting out his emotions more comfortably. An introvert will not be able to do it without significant effort from his side.
So, should a person be an introvert or an extrovert?
My take is that whatever nature you are comfortable with. If you enjoy being alone and thinking about something even in social settings and are comfortable in not making new friends then let it be the case. At the same time if you are comfortable being bubbly and extrovert even in a group of serious zen monks, then let it be that way.
If you fall into one of above categories i.e. you are comfortable with your existing nature then congratulate yourself and be yourself all the time.
But, if you are introvert and at the same time want to make new friends then you have to do the effort of acquiring some social skills. Similarly, if you are an extrovert and it is harming you (e.g. people with wrong intentions taking your words and using it as evidence in some situation and thus affecting your relationships), then you might want to be a bit reserved in selective circumstances.
Now the next natural question : if you are not comfortable with your introvert/extrovert nature, can this personally trait be changed? The answer is yes, it can be done through behavioral changing techniques like NLP, Hypnosis or Visualizations. A completely introvert person can become extrovert and vice versa, with some effort, in a matter of days.
The tricky part is deciding how much you want to reverse your behavior? A person may want to completely reverse his behavior or might choose to be introvert in some situations and an extrovert in other situations. How can one decide what these situations should be? What should an introvert of extrovert mean to you? The definition of introvert is different for different people. Similarly the definition of extrovert is also different for different sets of people.
In my view, there are three ways to take this decision – think it through on your own, discuss with someone close to you, discuss it with a coach.
I am more inclined to the third option – Discuss it with a coach. The reason is behavior changes is a huge effort. The more clear you are about what you want to change the easier it is to do so. You may not be able to brainstorm on your own to the required extent to bring that level of clarity. The near and dear ones most of the time have become used to us and are expecting us to behave in certain ways. Most of the times they don’t want to rub us the wrong way. Hence their feedback might be distorted.
A coach is best of the three options. He is a professional with experience in asking right questions. These questions can force you to think and bring clarity to you. Also, a coach can be direct in his feedback or asking tough questions as he is not related to you in any way. Besides he is being paid for bringing the clarity to you and not to please you. In situations like this the professional fees is worth paying for as these habits affect the outcomes from the rest of your life. Many times after discussion with the Coach the coachees decide that they don’t want to change their behavior as it would be counter productive. And many times after discussing the situations with the Coach, they may want to do just slight adjustments (“fine tuning”) to their behavior rather than changing it drastically.
But again this is my take at this situation. You might be good at brainstorming on your own or might have someone who has best of your interest in his mind and can provide neutral feedback.
So whatever might be the case, in case you have confusion about your nature, feel free to discuss with someone who is trustworthy – be it yourself, someone else or ideally a Coach.
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