In a recent study conducted by Keirsey.com’s research division, we found that the greatest factor in happiness can be one’s personality type. 74% of extraverts reported that they are happy, as opposed to only 56% of introverts. And looking at the flip side of the equation, 26% of introverts reported that they are unhappy, while only 14% of extraverts reported unhappiness. When I look at these survey results, there are two possible explanations that come to mind:
First, I would say that those who prefer extraversion are expressive by nature, and tend to say their words aloud (external-talk), and in this way are much more likely to verbalize their thoughts to those around them. Those who prefer introversion on the other hand, are more reserved by nature, and tend to say their words to themselves (self-talk), and in this way are much more likely to hold their thoughts in an internal conversation with themselves. What this means is that ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ are either spoken to others, or spoken to oneself. In general, it appears that when individuals have the chance to share ‘the good’ with others, it leads to an increase in happiness, and when individuals are able to share ‘the bad and the ugly’ with others, it decreases the level of unhappiness felt within. Talking aloud to others works in a similar way that “Talk Therapy” does—it allows for people to share their elation and their sorrow—to laugh together in celebration, or to simply ‘get things off their chest.’”
Secondly, According to Dr. Keirsey, Introversion is associated with being ‘attentive’ (in addition to being ‘reserved’). What this means is that those who prefer introversion are more likely to pay closer attention to their unhappiness, while those who prefer extraversion are less inclined to do so. Whether you prefer introversion or extraversion, all of us have our fair share of unhappy circumstances—the difference is in how much we pay attention to our thoughts/feelings. And because those who prefer introversion are much more aware of their unhappiness, the results show up the way they do. In some ways, the phrase, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ is the differentiator here—Those preferring extraversion aren’t inclined to be as aware of their unhappiness (or when they are, they talk about it immediately), whereas those preferring introversion are much more aware of their internal state (and are likely to keep it to themselves—and/or stew in their own juices). Whether you agree or disagree, I am curious to hear your thoughts/feelings on this issue of who’s happier.