After recently posting some thoughts on the extroverted nature of Western society, I’ve been trying to reconcile the apparent contradiction of pop music stars displaying the classic traits of both introverts and extroverts.
Artists like Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor, Prince, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, and more—were energized by their inner AND outer life. They seemed genuinely reflective (and very private) while feeding off popular adulation. They seemed to prefer solitude for composing (even Lennon did most of his writing without McCartney) and the largest public arena possible for performing.
A new study on what makes salespeople successful may shed light on this. Adam Grant of the Wharton School of Management, in a recent paper “Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal,” says it’s ambiverts who get it right:
Ambiverts achieve greater sales productivity than extraverts or introverts do. Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.
Perhaps many of the successful rock artists have been ambiverts who have struck the proper balance of introversion and extroversion—making them quietly creative in private time and boldly expressive at showtime, while being carefully tuned into their audience. If so, I want to be an ambivert too when I grow up.
Since I posted on the problems that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has been stirring up in North Korea, things have not gotten better. He’s even threatened to launch nuclear missiles on the US—which my foreign policy staff has determined is not a good thing. But I have the perfect diplomat to negotiate a reduction of tensions between North Korea and the US. (No, not Dennis Rodman. I’ve got a better idea this time.) This is someone whom Kim’s own brother, Kim Jong-chol, reveres AND someone who knows a thing or two about mediation!
Yes, that would be Mr. Eric Clapton—the guitarist extraordinaire whose concerts Kim Jong-chol has been known to attend in Europe and Asia. If the mild-mannered Clapton (another ambivert?) was able to arbitrate the differences between his former band mates in Cream (the irascible Ginger Baker and the domineering Jack Bruce), interceding with nuclear powers should be a piece of cake. And, yes, he can bring along Dennis Rodman (always a credibility booster) who’s already the Supreme Leader's BFF.
For an earlier post on Kim Jong-un check here.