I was very recently reminded that I have a blog about introversion (although it’s been almost 4 years since I posted there..)
There’s been discussion over the years about whether or not introverted people are more creative than extraverts. Susan Cain, in her new book Quiet, suggests that solitude may be important to the creative process, which would naturally appeal to introverts or shy people.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of the books Flow and Creativity, suggests that creative people exhibit the traits associated with both introversion and extraversion.
I don’t know who’s right – it may be a meaningless question. But I came across this quote from Psychology Today which presents an interesting take on the subject:
…to oversimplify, introverts can generate new ideas, make plans, and help quietly, while extraverts can implement those plans, think quickly on their feet, and make use of their great energy.
I don’t think this definition is universally true by any means, but I think it helps to illustrate a common view of extraverts: they seem to be the ones who have all of the energy and who can act and speak quickly. Thinking on your feet – or being able to respond quickly to problems or questions – would seem to indicate intelligence, if not creativity. By contrast, some introverts (like me) might not be good at being creative on demand, especially when we’re faced with subject matter or situations which we aren’t comfortable with.
By the introvert can be extremely creative and develop deep, comprehensive ideas. They just might not be able to do it quickly.
Ultimately I think the Psychology Today quote captures the essence of Csikszentmihalyi’s concept: delivering creative work requires multiple skills. There is a time and place for quiet brilliance as well as a need for energy and hustle among other people to make things happen.