Confessions of an Extroverted Introvert



This is my #IMMOOC response to Chapters 6 and 7 in Part 2 of The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros.

For this week’s blog prompt I’ve chosen the following: Relationships and collaboration are crucial to innovation, but what about working in isolation? Where does that come into play?

Several of my colleagues chose the book Quiet for their summer reading. (If you’ve not read or heard about the book, one summary describes it as seeking “to find ways for introverts and extroverts to better understand one another.”) When school began in August, there were many conversations about the book among faculty and staff, especially among those who are introverts and felt happy and perhaps even relieved that finally a book was written to help others understand them.

I’ve thought a lot about what I am – introvert or extrovert – and quite often I feel as though I’m a bit of both. Sometimes I’m gregarious and outgoing and love being right in the center of the action. At other times I look forward to the opportunity to just be still and quiet with no one else around so that I can recharge. And there are occasions where I want to be one of the gang and right in the middle of things, but as a non-participating member so I can sit back, watch and listen.

I decided that the best way to truly find out what I am would be to Google it. After reading numerous articles and lists such as “Top Signs You’re An Extrovert/Introvert”, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be an extroverted introvert. After selecting what I feel are the highlights from my reading, I’ve come up with my very own list that I call Confessions of an Extroverted Introvert.

7. Just because I like being around people doesn’t mean I want to talk.

6. Despite needing my alone time, I do get lonely when I’m not around people.

5. It’s hard to get me out, but I’ll have a great time when I go out.

4. Even when I’m being outgoing, my thoughts are still running and analyzing the situation.

3. I’m at my happiest in places like coffee shops and cafés where I’m surrounded by people, but still keeping to myself.

2. I don’t like small talk because I want to really get to know you. I want to know what you think about, what your goals are, what your family is like. I don’t want to talk about how bad the weather is. But if that’s what you’re comfortable talking about, then we’ll talk about it.

1. People think I’m an extrovert.

So what does this have to do with the blog prompt that asked what role isolation might play in innovation? I guess it depends on the person. For me, when I’m feeling extroverted I’m at my best when I can thrive off of the energy of a group; my ideation soars when I’m brainstorming with others. At other times my introverted side comes into play. That’s when I find that being alone encourages my creative side by allowing me to mull over thoughts and play with ideas inside my own head for a while.

Isn’t that what education is about, after all? Once we know ourselves and understand what works for us, then we can create the environment we need to innovate and learn.


Sources from which I created my list include:


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