In an interview with Big Think, Michael Ellsberg talks about the importance of using eye contact to establish your social presence. As the creator of the recently popular eye gazing parties, he feels that many people “either get nervous about it and don’t make eye contact or they make a very kind of nervous, anxious kind of eye contact and so I felt it was almost as if there is a whole population of people walking around with bad handshakes who are not getting as far socially as they would like to because they weren’t aware that they have this thing that is not working for them.” He strongly supports an extroverted personality - one that lends itself to connecting with others, and seems to imply – as do many in the field of professional self-help – that extroverted behaviors are the only key to success.
Then there’s Susan Cain, author of the recent bestseller, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. A Harvard law school graduate who represented clients such as General Electric, Susan Cain states that, “The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-talking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong.” She spends much of her book discussing case studies of famous entrepreneurs whose success was the result of locking themselves away from the public in order to to indulge their fantasies.
What do you think? Should you constantly make an effort to associate and network with others, or should you simply follow your private river of thoughts to wherever they lead? Is extroversion overrated? Does it depend on the industry? Is there a possible advantage (no matter your profession) to cocooning your ideas and developing them in private?
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