Uncommon Stories

Extroversion rules over expertise.

The old times

Before the 2000s, public schools in the East majored in teaching pupils/students how to proffer solutions to analytical and critical problems, for example, Quadratic equations, and Trigonometry – things that come naturally with introversion.

Introverts were the darlings of our public school system.

For proper perspective, check the Teacher’s comment segment of your report card.

Today, you dare not compliment a child for being quiet and calm, those are seen as symptoms of a malady that must be dealt with.

With the influx of private schools and a market-based economy, extroversion became the new cool of society.

Private Schools

Private schools encouraged students to speak up more often, and facilitated cooperation between the students by removing the position-based grading system – you are either an A or B student, no 1st or 2nd position.

We all had that friend, a private schooler, who could not solve a simple arithmetic problem to save his life but will dust you in any debate even when you have more relevant points because of his oratory skills. Or perhaps you were that friend who would not stop talking.

The economy

The new economy values and celebrates those that are high on extroversion. I’ve been in meetings where an outrageous idea is picked over a wonderful one because of the perceived assertiveness in its delivery.

The recruitment process of most companies favors traits that come naturally with extroversion.

Recruiters care more about the assertiveness with which you answer interview questions, like tell me about yourself, than your ability to proffer solutions to problems.

I wouldn’t bat an eye if you are recruiting for a marketing position. In a Market-based economy, any company that fails in marketing rolls up its mat and leave. A bad but well-marketed solution is better than a good but poorly marketed one.

The good news

There is a cultural bias towards extroverts but no personality is better than the other, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

There is a cultural bias towards extroverts

Susan Cain – Quiet

The good news is that personalities are not static, an introvert can seek as much social stimulation and be every bit as outgoing as the extrovert. Likewise, the extrovert in situations that involve critical and analytical thinking.

We just have to find a balance, and where is the best place to start if not the schools? We need to incorporate in our school’s curriculum activities that aim to develop both personality traits in a pupil.

Ikechukwu Emeka, a trained Biochemist and thinker

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