The various advantages of being an introvert are often overlooked. In this post I go over the 4 things that introverts do better than extroverts, and how that can help us achieve more in our lives.
Introverts are more self-aware, more self-reliant
When you spend all day in your own head, it follows that you’re going to be more self-aware. You spend the majority of your time with your thoughts, and you’re sensitive to them. You will tend to understand yourself more than extroverts, because you filter everything through the conversation going on inside your head.
This makes it easier to become self-reliant. You understand yourself, and thus know what you want, what you’re capable of and how to get it. To achieve this of course, you must be honest with yourself. If you’re telling yourself bullshit stories it isn’t going to help you.
Being analytical and filtering everything through the conversation in your head allows you to have more recognition of what is going on, and thus be better positioned to create change, or just understand the situation and react accordingly.
Check out my previous post on the behaviour change model where I discuss how to figure out what you want, where you are now, and what you need to do to get from where you are now, to where you want to be.
I’ve been able to create and now live the life I desire, completely living by my values because of that self-awareness. Knowing what I want, why I want it, and how to go about getting it.
My life today is so far away from where my life would be had I not had this awareness. If I had followed ‘the path’ that was laid out waiting for me, based on my background and upbringing, life would be 180 degrees different. Every single part of my life would be different, and not for the better.
I’m not saying this is easy, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice to get there. It’s worth it – what is the alternative?
Introverts tend towards focus, obsession & mastery
We’re better at staying focused, and are much likely to become obsessed with things. As long as you can channel that into a worthwhile goal, it will lead to mastery and success.
Look at all the self-made billionaires; Elon Musk, Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs they’re all introverts. They’re all obsessed, so completely focused on their goal that they change the world.
I’m not even 1/100th of that level of obsessive – maybe if I was, and was a little more intelligent I’d be a billionaire too?
Still, you have the ability to become obsessive and focus deeply on what you’re working on. This drives achievement. It drives you being able to create something, not just move to the top of the class, but create a whole new class.
I could have followed the path and gone to get a job in some corporation, progressed through to my level of incompetence and had some shitty middle-management job. Instead I had the drive, the tunnel vision to sidestep that whole game and follow my own path. Building the life that I want to live. So can you.
It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not easy to run your own business, it’s not easy to say fuck it and move halfway around the world. None of these things are easy, but when you have the ability to step out of the norm and you’re so obsessed with your goals, it doesn’t matter. You don’t care, you’re going to achieve things on your own.
That anti-social streak of not giving a fuck what people think, not particularly caring about other people’s opinions can socially be a hindrance, but in everything else, it’s one of the huge advantages of being an introvert. For yourself and achieving your own goals, it’s the best thing ever.
When you’re self-aware, you can temper it socially and manage yourself, so you’re not a dick to people. I’m still a dick to people sometimes because I want to be left alone, but I’m aware I’m doing it and can choose to not do it. Obviously with someone you actually like, you won’t do it anyway.
Still, that doesn’t detract from the fact that my natural inclination is to kind of be a dick, to unreservedly put my own feelings above anyone else’s. I just don’t care what people think, and I’m ok with that.
If you’re like me, don’t be ashamed. If it’s your natural personality you can’t do much about it anyway. Admit it, and manage it as you need to. Don’t lie to yourself, don’t pretend like reality is different to what it is. Be self-aware and manage it as you need to. Admitting your flaws takes any power they have over you away.
Introverts are good listeners, practice active listening
Introverts tend to be quiet. Tend to prefer listening to talking. Prefer not being the center of attention or driving the conversation.
If you’re talking about your obsession it’s different, you’ll never shut up, but that will be the only time that kind of outgoingness is not draining for you.
I’m acutely aware of this myself, when I’m with friends and having a conversation about something I care about, is the only time I talk over people, interrupt people and do things that are conversational faux pas. I’m aware I’m doing it, but I can’t stop myself because that’s the time when I want to talk.
When I’m engaged in surface level conversations, small talk etc. then I don’t want to talk, I much prefer to listen. There’s great power in being a good listener, in practicing active listening.
When most people are ‘listening’ they’re just waiting for their opportunity to talk. You’re not like that, you want them to talk, and if you can become interested in what they’re saying; you actually listen to what they say, come to understand their point of view and ask deeper questions that expand the conversation. Rather than changing topic to something you want to say. Or to insert your opinion into the conversation, instead you want to learn more about their opinion.
Active listening, pressing deeper to understand more, is like a superpower. People will love you for it. In many situations.
Friends and family like to talk, especially about their problems, or the points of interest they can’t really talk about with other people.
If you’re doing sales, letting someone talk about their problem to the point that they feel like you understand them. Let them tell you their pain, and they feel you get it, and care, without you having to say a word. They naturally assume that you have the solution to solve it for them, because you’re the only person who ever listened and showed that you understood.
You’ve not told them about your product, or given them the hard sell, you’ve not talked about features or benefits, nor even the price or what’s involved. They’ve sold themselves because you’re the first person who has ever listened. Nobody will have ever taken the time to find out where they are coming from before.
If you’re telling somebody something, then it’s a hard sell. If they say it, then it’s the truth. They believe it because they said it. They’ve invested in that reality, it’s undeniably true for them.
It’s great with girls too, because you can connect quickly and deeply. Building meaningful and memorable relationships in a matter of days or hours, because you actually talk about things you care about.
Active listening is an incredible social power. Introverts tend to think they’re not very good socially. I would assume you’re probably not very good in big groups, or around people you don’t know. However, you’re great in one to one situations with people you know, because you listen well, understand and you’re empathetic.
Don’t sell yourself and your strengths short.
Introverts are more observant, and have high empathy
Introverts observe things. We bring more stimulus into our consciousness. Whatever is going on, we tend to look at things more deeply. People around us, things people say or do, we just see more.
This gives us a richer perspective of things. More information means we can understand more subtleties. The flip side is that it tires you out. You can’t have as many experiences, but you have deeper experiences.
This goes in combination with active listening to make us very empathetic. You see in other people, not just what they’re saying, but all the other stimulus too. Tonality, body language, eyes, etc. We’re more perceptive to more stimuli, and then able to feel what other people are feeling.
Empathy creates connection, socially, with girls, with clients/sales.
This ability to read and understand people becomes a power. You become good at recognising patterns. You can just sit and watch people, and pick up on what they’re going through – you’re sensitive to their experience because of the richer amount of information you’re getting.
This ability to connect leads to deeper relationships with people, stronger connections. You’ll have less people in your life, smaller social circles and phone book. You know less people, but you know them better, you’re more connected.
Connecting on a deeper level tends to lead to more long-term connections. Rather than passing acquaintances, you make friends for life.
The advantages of being an introvert…
Being introverted isn’t all bad, is it?
When I was younger I wished I could change my personality, to be more outgoing and more socially confident. Now that I recognise some of the strengths I have, and have come to understand my natural disposition, I’m very happy with how things are.
You just need to fill in some of the gaps on the social, shyness, outgoingness side of things, to compliment the natural strengths that you have. Even when you don’t like it, find it boring, tedious or draining. You need the self-awareness to recognise how other people perceive you, and do what you need to do to get along with people in the world.
That doesn’t mean you need to be super open and outgoing toward everyone. Just be aware that a lot of people will think you’re a dick for being closed off, and accept that. If you want to open up to a specific person, then that’s a choice you can make, but you cannot care about what other people think of you.
Living based on other people’s opinions and trying to change your core personality is going to leave you very unhappy. If you’re closed off and avoid engaging with people, a lot of people will think you’re a dick. Personally I think that’s great, it means people I don’t want to engage with will never try and engage with me!
If you want to become more open, then practice meeting more people and master small talk, but if you’re introverted it will always tire you out.
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