by Nancy Reeves
In workshop after workshop, people laughed when I said I was studying extrovert spirituality. Someone, from the back of the room, usually called out something like, “Spiritual extroverts? You gotta be kidding! Extroverts are great in business, good at making money, but spiritual? Nope!  They can’t even sit still to meditate.”

Well, those critics are wrong. It’s just that extroverts need a spiritual and psychological lifestyle that fits them. There are more extroverts than introverts in the world, yet if you look at the spirituality and self-help sections of bookstores, the materials overwhelmingly teach introverted practices.  Sitting quietly, eyes closed, quieting the mind, are common suggestions.  Many extroverts respond to these teachings with boredom and the jitters.

We know that a mature person works to create a balanced lifestyle.  All work and no play, or all play and no work doesn’t encourage psychological, spiritual, or physical health. Wisdom and wealth need to go together for a truly rich and meaningful life. So, how can extroverts, who tend to direct their attention and energy to the outside world of people and things, and who are more prone to action than to contemplation, develop  spiritual and psychological wisdom?
Recent brain research shows that extroverts and introverts use their brains differently. In one study, for example, when extroverts were asked to relax and let their minds go where they wished, they tended to use the rear of their brains; the parts that receive and interpret information from the senses—in other words, they turned outward, examining the room, or focusing on the people present. The introverts, by contrast, were turning inward; using the front of their brains.  Their brain activity was focused on the regions associated with planning, remembering, and problem solving
Extroverts often do well in the world of business because they make friends readily, adjust easily to social situations, and generally show warm interest in their surroundings. These are all attributes that encourage success. Yet, there are challenges for this personality, and if not acknowledged and transformed, an extrovert can be a “turn off” to co-workers, clients, and supervisors.
To read the rest of this article, check out the Fall Issue of WE Magazine for Women