Introverts are misunderstood a lot. Given that there are fewer introverts than extroverts in the population, introverts often find it a bit more difficult to fit in.
Most people think of introverts as extremely shy, socially awkward individuals who can’t get anything done in life. While it is true that introverts are not exactly the most sociable people, this doesn’t mean that introversion is a hindrance to success. This isn’t really the case because there’s more about the introversion than the common misconceptions about it.
What it actually means to be an introvert?
Introversion is often misconstrued to mean a personality problem when in fact, it is simply a personality trait. There are several characteristics that are associated with introversion. The most distinct one would be the preference for alone time. Introverts draw energy from spending time alone when extroverts get their energy from socializing.
Experts have likewise come to an agreement that people cannot be categorized in a “this or that” manner when it comes to introversion. It would be better to define it as a scale where some people can fall into the extreme introvert side, with others somewhere in the middle, and some in the extreme extrovert side.
Contrary to what most people think, most introverts are actually capable of socializing and actually have a knack for becoming successful in various fields.
How introversion can actually be a key to success?
There are certain introverted characteristics that can actually make introverts successful in their endeavors.
One key characteristic of an introvert is introspection. It is said that in order to succeed in life, one must know his own self very well. As introverts are usually found spending quiet moments by themselves, this gives them more time to assess their feelings, think of their goals, and get to know themselves better.
Introverts are also thinkers. While extroverts are busy hopping from place to place talking to one person and the next, introverts are able to sit still and think, observe and plan. Being able to map things out carefully is one key trait that makes successful leaders, and you can certainly count on an introvert to do this.
Another key trait associated with success is the ability to work independently. While they can actually adapt and adjust to working as a team, introverts actually prefer to work by themselves. Even when left alone, an introvert can find ways in order to deliver what is demanded of them.
In contrast to what most people think, introverts are also good communicators. Note that listening is actually essential in communication, and introverts are exactly that. While extroverts usually prefer to drive the conversation to where they want, introverts listen and take everything in. They would respond after giving things a thought.
While introverts have a lot of positive traits that can propel them to succeed in life, it would require some effort on their part. Living in a world of extroverts requires adjustment and putting in a lot of work. It helps to be able to refine these introvert characteristics in order to use them to their advantage.
Things which will help introverts to succeed:
1. Smile often.
Introverts often come off as aloof and unapproachable. This can hinder you from building good relationships with co-workers and the rest of the people around you. Smiling often can help break the ice. It is a scientifically proven fact that a smile can make people loosen up.
2. Give yourself a little push.
It actually helps to challenge yourself a bit, more especially in trying to reach out to people. Do not shy away from invites to office parties or the occasional TGIF outings. Studies show that going out with your co-workers from time to time does not only build good relationships but also helps prevent work stress and burnout.
3. Step outside your comfort zone.
Introverts often prefer “the comfortable.” However, comfortable does not always lead to success. Learn to say ‘yes’ to trying out new things without necessarily overwhelming yourself.
4. Fake it ‘til you make it.
One of the challenges introverts often face is having to speak in front of a large crowd or being in the spotlight. This is a scenario that one has to overcome, especially when working in a corporate setting or holding a leadership position. One key to dealing with this aversion is to fake it. Fake confidence. Fake that you are actually comfortable with it until you make it and eventually, become it.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Introverts are overthinkers. With all that overthinking comes loads of self-criticism. When trying to work on your introversion, it helps to take things lightly. Try not to push yourself too hard. Keep in mind that you are not transforming into an extrovert. You are simply refining the rough edges of your introversion.
6. Celebrate small victories.
Reward yourself for the small victories along the way. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee shop after speaking up in a meeting. Or simply assure yourself that you’re doing great in exchanging pleasantries with a colleague once in a while.
7. Build meaningful relationships.
Introverts prefer to socialize ‘one on one’ or in small groups. There’s also the issue that people finding it difficult to understand their introverted ways. This is why it is important to be able to establish good relationships with trusted individuals. A small but tight circle is a good social backbone for an introvert.
8. Embrace your introversion.
While trying to improve yourself, you have to keep in mind that being an introvert is not something that you need to overcome in order to be successful. It is something that you need to embrace and learn to work with.
Being an introvert has a lot of advantages but in order to achieve success, you should also learn to adjust and work on the areas that need polishing. It’s not really changing, but more of adapting in a world of extroverts.
If pushing yourself to excel in a field that requires too much from your introvert self, you can always retreat to other things that you are passionate about. Take inspiration from some of the most successful introverts like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and J.K. Rowling who have succeeded in various fields and in their own right.