There was a fascinating article in the Toronto Sun recently about Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau admitting to being an introvert in an extrovert world. Interestingly the paper questioned this assertion and showed many of the common misconceptions about introversion.
Quoting from the article
“While there’s not much Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that surprises us — on most issues you can pretty much predict what he’s going to say before he says it — his self-description of himself as an “introvert” does.”
Introverts can learn tactics and behaviours.
“I always understood that I’m an introvert who learned how to be an extrovert to succeed in politics.”
You can’t stop being an introvert, although you can choose to adopt behaviours that will make you able to embrace the extrovert bias in society and make you appear to be more extroverted. This is one of the important points I make when working with introverts. It’s a point that Justin Trudeau has clearly realised and adopted extrovert behaviours where needed.
Introversion is not what many believe it to be.
Introversion is about “people energy”, introverts tend to feel de-energised when spending time with people and need to recharge on their own.
There’s a common myth that introverts are shy. Many great speakers, actors and comedians are introverts. One of the great things about being Regional President for the Professional Speaking Association was that I was honoured to witness many great introverted speakers on stage and in the surrounding off stage moments. Most of the audience wouldn’t recognise the off stage behaviours.
As for famous introvert comedians, I’ve heard that Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Jim Carey and Richard Pryor are all introverted.
The article went on to say:
in a ‘warning’ to readers, ‘the prime minister’s description of himself would not align with those of his critics, or even those who have seen him primarily as a lifelong public performer.’
No kidding. A prime minister who is the master of the selfie, who seems to love the limelight, who dresses up in costume for an official visit to India as if he was performing on a Bollywood set and who doesn’t remember how many times he donned racist Blackface up to the age of 29 — which he says he now regrets — doesn’t strike us an introvert.”
A love of play acting, dressing up and being, when you wish to be, centre of attention doesn’t rule out being an introvert. The exhaustion that probably follows such times (and occurs to varying degrees – from introvert hangover to just feeling tired) is more likely to show if you’re an introvert.
Justin Trudeau introvert in private
The article concluded with a very important point, in terms of the importance of privacy and not knowing what other’s a like in private. One which certainly, for me, made the article a much more accurate piece than I initially thought.
“we’re not going to mock Trudeau’s perception of himself, given his acknowledgement that in his public life he’s learned to perform as “an extrovert to succeed in politics.
We don’t know what the prime minister is like in private.”
Stereotypes are just that
It’s refreshing to realise that stereotypes are just that. Being an introvert does not mean you can’t succeed in your chosen field, even when it’s one that (on the surface at least) appears to be very extrovert dominated.
It’s great to see another world famous introvert shocking people. Justin Trudeau can join the likes of Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg as successful introverts.
Stereotypes, like labels, have their uses but don’t let them define you or those around you.
The Toronto Sun dated Jan 30 2021: https://torontosun.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-justin-trudeau-is-an-introvert