The Ego: Who Put You On This Planet?

Is it an extra dose of confidence or an excessive feeling of entitlement that makes some of us able to call attention to ourselves, and then bask in the limelight they created?

I have often been curious about a personality mixed in gregarious proportions that allows someone to simply take over a room and become winners in everyone’s eyes. Anyone who speaks in front of large groups with little need for a script, and not only succeeds, but excels in memorable ways with the audience, is someone who has it all together.

For someone like me, who is the reflective type and not socially outgoing--I have no immediate desire to speak in-front of an audience--large or small.  Yet, I always marvel at and want to be near these seemingly “gods” who walk our planet. When you get the chance to speak with them, you realize they are no different from you and me. They have the same fears, hopes, and aspirations. They just express themselves in different ways. Somewhere in their DNA an extra strand of bravado was created in their chromosome and it took shape in their form, after birth.

If we take a scientific look at the extroverted personality type, like the Obamas, Oprahs, and Jon Stewarts of this world, we can see what gives them the gusto to do what they do:

Extrovert, what is this personality type?

An extrovert is a term used to describe how we socialize with each other; extroversion is a personality trait that is commonly classified as socially outgoing, confident and easily adaptable to unknown situations. The term originated from psychologist Carl Jung’s personality theory. He believed that extroverts respond positively to competing stimuli of the outside world. Their personality is directed toward the outside, whereas introverts who are regarded as the opposite of extroverts, their personality type is directed toward self [inward].

An extrovert has a natural tendency to adapt easily to new situations and respond favorably to their environment; this trait is one of the key reasons why a comedian, like Jon Stewart can easily ad lib with his guests and audience alike and still be in control, witty, and engaging, all at the same time!

Are extroverts special?

Psychologist, Jung, classified extroverts as persons who are often energized by being around other people and restless when they are not. Experts say that everyone has a mix of both introversion and extroversion along a continuum. What is unique, is the behavior trait that falls along extreme levels of either personality trait. Just like a pendulum swing, the wider the movements the more you get to extreme ends.

Extroverts are therefore just another type of behavior characteristic. Psychologists recognize however, that extroverts’ entire existence rest on seeking social dominance, leadership roles, and higher rewards system. Just like Obama whose quick rise to presidency, easy smile and confidence will ignite emotions regardless of which side of the fence you sit.

Pros/Cons of being an extrovert

Pros: extroverts generally have a positive mental outlook and are rewarded with positive results from their environment. They exhibit positive emotions due to higher levels of natural dopamine [the “feel good” neurotransmitter] of the brain.  Our dopamine system gives us an adrenalin rush which makes us more excited, positive, and eager to pursue goals.

Cons: extroverts such as a Richard Branson-Virgin Atlantic are big risk takers.  They play big and lose hard—it is a win or lose game—there is no playing it safe. Such persons risk losing face and social rejection for the possibility of appearing confident and original to their followers. 

Although I would enjoy moments of living on the edge, I would rather not live like that every day. We all take our natural place in this world.  While some of us have to recondition our brains to go after the things we want, others achieve it quite naturally.  And these persons are the extroverts with their higher-than-normal dopamine triggers who walk among us, as if they own the planet!

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” Martin Luther King, Jr.