Are you an introvert?
If you are, you probably need to hear this.
You might want to share it with your friends, family, colleagues too. Because most people don’t “get you”… right?
I’ve had it all my life…
People think I’m rude, arrogant, closed off…
I used to be shy, anxious, and struggle to hold my own socially.
Truth is, I’m just an introvert, and that’s an alien concept to most people.
We live in an extroverted world…
You might feel like you’ve never really fit in.
You don’t like the same things that most people do… nightclubs, parties, etc.
I’m here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with you.
You’re not broken…
The way that you process information, interact with the world, think… is different to most people.
…And that is ok.
In many ways it is a strength.
You’re not broken, but you are responsible…
If you accept the premise that we live in an extroverted world…
A world that favours the outgoing, loud, brash, confident… then you have a choice.
Whinge and moan about it… Struggle to meet people, be anxious around the opposite sex, down-trodden in the office, lonely, and always judging yourself in your head…
Or accept responsibility for molding the life you want to live…
I’m 5’10… if only I were 6’2!
I’m bald…. if only I had a full head of hair!
I grew up in a shithole industrial town… if only I’d had a silver spoon!
Everybody has their problems.
You’re not any different or any more special than anybody else.
You just magnify your flavour of ‘problem’ to be the biggest thing in the world… because it’s the biggest thing in YOUR world.
At least you weren’t born blind or deaf…
Or with cerebral palsy…
Or in sub-Saharan Africa…
It’s 2017. You’re in the top 0.001% of humans who have ever existed in terms of wealth, comfort, and opportunity.
You have the internet.
You can do or be anything you want. You have the choice. You have the power.
You’re more than your introversion…
You’re not defined by your introversion.
When I was younger, I was super shy, socially anxious, and hid behind a massive superiority complex.
Telling myself I was better than everyone else allowed me to avoid confronting my issues.
When I went off to university – the first time away from home, first time thrown out into the world; knowing nobody and left to make a whole new social circle…
I hung out with my roommate the first few days, he was cool… but then he transferred to a different university. I wasn’t living on campus because the halls were already full, so I didn’t meet anyone else by proximity.
I spent the year mostly on my own, watching TV series, and posting all day on a hip hop forum. I didn’t go to class half the time, and when I did, I never really spoke to anyone.
I was lonely as fuck.
I’d not yet learnt how to overcome my shyness. How to drop the superiority complex that repelled people away from me, and let my personality come through.
Part of the problem was just teen angst.
I always knew I wanted more for my life, but until I had an idea of what that was, or which direction to pursue it, I was just deeply dissatisfied.
When I figured out my direction, started to understand what I wanted to do with my life, then things got better.
I was now happy to be moving in the right direction, but my shyness and lack of social skills were holding me back.
If any of this sounds familiar, just know that you’re not alone…
You must learn the skills to succeed socially…
At 20 years old I moved myself to the big city and started a business – personal training in the City of London.
I have the gym to thank for much of keeping my drive high, and building up a strong sense of self. Although I was terrible at portraying any kind of positive image, in my head I knew I was going places.
Even when I couldn’t identify where that was, I knew exactly what it didn’t look like. Moving away from the past, from the path I’d have been expected to take.
A few people early on saw that in me too. I guess they overlooked the social struggles – they probably went through the same themselves.
Nowadays, I have a lot of time for guys who are clearly very driven and intelligent, but introverted and socially abrasive – because that was me.
Anyway, I was thrown out onto the gym floor among investment bankers, corporate lawyers, and the like, to sell them on personal training with me… otherwise I’d be hungry and homeless.
Needless to say, that motivated me to overcome my barriers and start learning how to interact with the world.
I’m lucky that I was pulled in a direction where I had to learn to come out of my shell, by necessity.
But you can do it too, if you haven’t yet.
It won’t be easy, although it is relatively simple.
Primarily you need exposure therapy. To do socially that which scares you.
Find sufficient drive like I did – where I had to do it to survive – to overcome it. The fear of failing in business, going broke, literally going hungry; that far outweighed the social anxiety.
Sure, I still struggled to get started, but when I was pussying out, I could take a second to remind myself why I was doing this, and go ahead anyway.
The more you do it, the more momentum you gain. The easier to becomes.
If you have the opportunity, take yourself out of your normal environment, to lower the social consequences. Go to the other side of town and strike up conversation with a barista – any small step outside your comfort zone, and build from there.
Shyness vs Quietness
This is a key distinction that I talk about a lot.
It’s also where a lot of other people don’t understand us.
When I was younger I was shy. I was socially anxious, worried what people thought of me.
I would play out variations of a dialogue in my head before I had the courage to order takeaway food over the phone…
“What if she doesn’t understand me? What if they get my order wrong?“…
I overcame the shyness.
But… I’m still quiet.
I’m still most comfortable being on my own, or in small groups of friends.
I still find groups of people I don’t know tiring to interact with – though no longer fear it.
I still talk to myself in my head a lot more than I talk to anyone else.
I still get asked, “are you ok?” by people because I’m not talking, or tend to zone out if we’re in a group of more than 3 people.
I still keep my friendship circle small, and I still default to being closed off to people I don’t know.
That’s not going to change.
You can overcome all of the fear, all of the shyness and anxiety…
You’ll still take time alone to recharge.
Introverts can succeed…
When you become comfortable with the reality, and you learn how to get by in the social world, you can do anything you want.
It’s gonna take some work, you have to face your fears.
Go outside of your comfort zone.
Be willing to get told no, laughed at, embarrassed (it almost never happens, but you have to accept it as a possibility to move forwards. Until you do, you’ll never take action).
For a lot of guys, the scariest thing they could ever imagine doing is talking to a girl that they don’t know. While sober. In a random place during your day to day life.
The first time I ever spoke to a girl I didn’t know – at Starbucks – I was physically shaking. I had to cough a lump out of my throat between saying hello, and what I said next.
But lo and behold, the world didn’t end.
Nobody else laughed at me… or even noticed my existence.
She didn’t throw her coffee at me… in fact we went on a date a few days later.
That was a real turning point for me.
When I could meet people socially, rather than just professionally/because I needed to eat, it was a whole new level of comfort.
I’m still introverted, but now I’m totally comfortable meeting people. Have an incredible sex life, and great friends.
You don’t need to change who you are, but you do need to kill the fear, so you can express yourself and let your true personality come out.
It’s a journey, and it’s not an easy one, but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt… it’s worth it.
If you want support from people like you…
Join our private Facebook community, exclusively for introverted men.
I post regular content there, and we’re building a community of like-minded guys; driven, intelligent, and committed to achieving more in the realms of fitness, dating, business, socially, travel, and living a life of freedom.
P.S. If you’re an extrovert, or someone who is a natural social butterfly… hopefully this gives you pause to think about what some of your friends, family, or colleagues face in what is to you the most natural thing in the world.
It is NOT something that should ever hold anyone back from achieving their potential, but it’s a barrier that we need be aware of, and talk about, to be able to move beyond.