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Want to know where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum? Take Susan Cain's personality quiz on Quiet Revolution

Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? Susan Cain, bestselling author and renowned TED talk speaker, spoke about the importance of understanding how we can best fit within those personality types at this week's BYU Forum.

Susan Cain
Susan Cain

“Introversion and extroversion are the most salient versions of the human condition,” said Cain. “They shape how we think, how we love and how we feel.”

After sharing a story about her forced extroverted experience at summer camp as a child, Cain offered valuable advice about pushing oneself beyond comfort zones without losing our self-identity.

“Yes, sometimes all of us really do need to step outside of our comfort zone, but it is a mistake to act like someone who we aren’t,” said Cain.

Cain provided an analogy to help her listeners sort themselves as extroverts or introverts: She asked the audience to imagine they were at a good party and assess how they would feel after two hours. Extroverts feel as though the party has recharged their energy level, whereas introverts, even if they find the party enjoyable, feel the party is depleting their battery.

"The metaphor of the battery is really useful, but it’s important to understand that it is just a metaphor," Cain said. "The fact is that we are wired differently. We have different nervous systems. Introverts react more to stimulation. Extroverts react less. When things get rowdy, introverts feel jangled and overstimulated. Scientists have discovered these differences in babies only four days old.”

But that doesn't mean there is a right or wrong type. Cain explained that the personality types complement each other, and successful businesses recognize the effects of putting introverts and extroverts together in the workplace.

“This is a profound bit of research for those of us who are interested in the way people thrive and create and relate to each other," said Cain. "It’s telling us that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all environment. We need to understand this if we want people functioning at their best.”

In addition to exploring the benefits each personality type can bring to the table, Cain also shared advice to help introverts and extroverts to work together.


  • In a group setting, prepare beforehand about something you want to discuss and speak up early or risk losing the opportunity to be heard. 
  • Don’t curb your enthusiasm. 


  • You can curb your enthusiasm a little.
  • Engage with introverts one-on-one and let them know what you want to talk about beforehand so they can organize their thoughts.

Next Devotional: Craig Manning, BYU Athletics

The next BYU Devotional address will be given by Craig Manning, BYU Athletics Performing Psychology Consultant, on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center. 

His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv and, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio. 

His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv and, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYUradio.