Do people often think that you are shy, antisocial, or aloof? Many people are, unfortunately, misunderstood in this way.
Susan Cain, a former corporate lawyer now speaker and author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" says 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 an introverted 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.
People might think that this peculiar habit goes hand-in-hand with the so-called “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).
Ms. Laney 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:
- Introverts have excellent analytical skills that integrate complexity
- Introverts are creative, out-of-the box thinkers
- Introverts are studious and smart
- Introverts are self-reflective and flexible
- Introverts can be alone for long periods of time to crank out that writing
- Introverts can focus deeply on a subject, which makes them excellent researchers
- Introverts store information in long-term memory, meaning they can use that information again and again in their writing
- Introverts work well with others, especially on one-to-one relationships
- Introverts establish and maintain long-term relationships
In other words, we introverts are hard-wired for excellence in whatever field we choose to enter.
How introverts can thrive in an extroverted world?
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 is: How can you thrive as an introvert in an highly 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 some great 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 tips to get you out of bad situations and keep you positive about your introvertism:
Assert yourself as a legitimate personality type.
There are two legitimate personality types: extroverts and introverts.
Correct people when they refer to introverts as neurotics.
Introverts are not neurotics. They are introverts.
Correct people when they refer to introverts as prone to mental illness.
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.
Correct people when they assert that introverts are anti-social.
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.
Correct people when they assert that introverts have nothing to say.
On the contrary, introverts won’t speak unless they have something important to say!
Put a proper value on your ability to be a good listener.
Good listening skills are invaluable in all areas of business and industry.
Do not apologize for time spent alone.
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.
Introverts are not losers.
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.
Stand up for introverted children who are being misunderstood in your presence.
This is one of the most healing things you can possibly do for yourself as it will heal your own inner child.
Don’t let pushy extroverts interrupt you while you’re reading a good book.
Explain politely that you can’t talk right now, you’re reading a book.
Remember that your inner personality is your hidden strength.
See also: Susan Cain: The power of introverts (video).