Do people often think you are shy, antisocial or aloof?
Many people are misunderstood in this way. Susan Cain, a former corporate lawyer now speaker and author of the hugely popular book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking observes that at least one out of four people we know are introverts. Introverts prefer to avoid the limelight. They tend to listen more than they speak. They innovate and create, but dislike self-promotion. Introverts favor working on their own over working in teams. They feel alone in large groups and require lots of private time to restore their energy.
Many introverts are also drawn to the creative and solitary profession of writing because they are often better at communicating in writing than in speech. As a writer, you spend most of your writing time alone and genuinely enjoy and look forward to this special time when you shut the door on the world and commune with only yourself. You might think that this peculiar habit goes hand-in-hand with the “writer’s life,” but it often runs deeper than that. Introverts like "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling say they feel most creatively charged when they have time to be alone with their thoughts.
Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., psychotherapist and author of the highly informative and entertaining book The Introvert Advantage: Making the Most of Your Inner Strengths explains that your desire to be alone with your thoughts is part of your inborn temperament as an introvert. You are as unlikely to shed it as you would be to try skydiving (risk-taking is more of an extrovert thing). She argues that despite many negative stereotypes and misconceptions about introverts, being an introvert isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She says introverts should be happy being so because:
In other words, we introverts are hard-wired for excellence in whatever field of specialty we choose to enter.
Although introverts have many strengths and bring many benefits to the table, modern culture undervalues them dramatically. This happens despite the fact that introverts have historically made some of the greatest contributions in society. Being social and outgoing in our world today is prized above all else. It can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. The question that begs an answer then arises: How can you thrive as an introvert in an increasingly extrovert world that can't stop talking?
Nancy R. Fenn, author of It Shouldn't Hurt to be an Introvert, addresses this question and offers her best tips to get introverts through their day. If you are an introvert who prefers a quiet corner to the limelight, feels alone in a crowd and overwhelmed by parties, meetings and sophisticated gadgets like smartphones, Ms. Fenn believes you should stand up for your personality type. She offers these ten tips to get you out of negative situations and keep you positive about your character.
There are two legitimate personality types: extroverts and introverts.
Introverts are not neurotics. They are introverts.
Introverts are no more prone to mental illness than others. When extroverts are under stress, they overeat, smoke, drink and become violent. When introverts are under stress, they withdraw. This does not make them mentally ill.
Introverts are not anti-social. They are drained by other people and must limit their time in company, but they are friendly and loving people.
On the contrary, introverts won’t speak unless they have something important to say!
Good listening skills are invaluable in all areas of business and industry.
Explain to critical “others” that introverts need to spend at least half their time alone for good mental and emotional health. Then assert, if necessary, that introverts are a legitimate personality type.
Take pride that you are in the company of such introverts, past and present, as Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Queen Elizabeth II, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee.
This is one of the most healing things you can possibly do for yourself as it will heal your own inner child.
Explain politely that you can’t talk right now, you’re reading a book.
Remember your inner personality is your hidden strength.
See also: Susan Cain: The power of introverts (video).
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