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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

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This I Believe: "Oh, Extroverted World"


Modeled after public radio's "This I Believe" series, Sewickley Academy seniors share what they believe in as the final project of their Senior Seminar course.

"Oh, Extroverted World" by Ryan

Born and raised in Wexford, Pennsylvania, Ryan is a senior at Sewickley Academy. His favorite subjects include psychology and economics. He is an active member of his community, having volunteered many hours at the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Ryan’s hobbies include skiing, hiking, listening to music, and spending time with his friends. Though undecided on a major, he will attend the University of Vermont this fall.

“Everyone shines, given the right lighting.” It seems that in our society today, the spotlight all too often only shines on one type of individual, the extrovert. Ryan explains this phenomenon and stresses the importance of accepting and promoting the introvert’s approach in his essay, “Oh, Extroverted World.”


Below is the podcast's transcription:

It seems that in today’s fast-paced, high-tech, and ever-involved world, the extrovert is favored. Society has formed in a way that not only encourages but celebrates the gregarious, those prone to action, not thought. The ideal self in society is seen as highly socialized and comfortable in the spotlight. Individuals are meant to see themselves as social alphas, and are expected thrive and find sustenance in social situations. The big-business, sales-oriented world that has come to fruition in the last 100 years or so has caused our culture to see the extrovert, those who are able to think quickly and present themselves as well as their product, as the type of person one needs to be in order to succeed in society.

It is apparent that the outsiders in today’s society have come to be those who prefer a less stimulating environment and tend to need time alone to reflect and recharge themselves. These people tend to listen more keenly, think before they speak, and take a more cautious approach to risk. In short, they tend to favor contemplation over action. These people, introverts as they are defined, tend to have a much harder time fitting into society. In the business world and classroom, the most talkative and participatory thrive. Group brainstorming activities and group work are dominated by those who speak up, but this does not necessarily mean that they are the most intelligent, or have the best ideas. Introverts cannot thrive in this environment; they work better alone or in one-on-one situations. Just because someone will not speak up or engage, it does not mean they do not have something brilliant to say.

I believe that many introverts have something smart to say and have a vital role to play in society. It is my belief that introverts are underappreciated and are of value to the human race. Sadly, being introverted is seen as abnormal. A study conducted in the 90s asked people if they believe it is better to be an introvert or an extrovert; amazingly, over 90% of those asked said it was better in society to be an extrovert, despite the fact that anywhere between one-third and one-half of the U.S. population are introverts. It is strange that we claim to value individuality in our society while favoring one type of individual over the other. I believe that those who value self-reflection and choose to dig into the chasms of their mind have a valuable role to play in society. Their intuitive and analytical nature has brought great innovation to the world, be it through the paintings of Van Gogh or the scientific theories of Albert Einstein, two famous introverts. I believe introverts will keep giving to the world, and that our society should not restrain the introvert lifestyle, but allow it to become more commonplace, thus opening the doors to future benefit. After all, the best way to move forward is to reflect and improve on the past. I believe in the power of the introvert.

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Topics: This I Believe

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