Two little boys played at a lakeside beach. The water was cold and reached their waists, in some places their chests. One boy plunged right in. He didn't know how to swim, but that didn't stop him.

The second boy stuck by the shore. He didn't know how to swim, so he built elaborate sand piles from the safety of the shallows.

The first boy tripped, fell below the surface of the water, and had to be rescued by his mother. He came up spluttering but cheerful, and ready for more.

The second boy played contentedly.

The first boy's skin turned white with cold. His lips were blue. He had had a wonderful time at the lake, but by lunchtime he was spent and had to go home.

The second boy kept playing, all afternoon long, until the sun set and he had to be dragged away from the water's edge.

Recently my family vacationed at a lake full of kids, and I couldn't help but compare these two children on the beach. It was a perfect example of introvert vs. extrovert survival strategies:

Introverts conserve energy, extroverts seize the day.

Introverts err on the side of caution, extroverts take risks.

Introverts focus, extroverts explore.

The world needs both kinds of people. To understand why, all you had to do was watch those two boys on the beach.

If you like this blog, you might like to pre-order my forthcoming book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.

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