Our introvert superpowers — like our active imaginations and problem-solving skills — can help challenge our extroverted world.
I have been an introvert as far back as I can remember. I would sit in my closet using the homemade shelves as a desk with a small red lamp that reminded me of a barber shop sign. I pretended to write for hours in what looked like cursive writing (but was merely wavy lines that only meant something to me in my fantasy world). One summer, my mother bought a series of thin blue reading books at a garage sale. I would pass them out to my imaginary students sitting on my bed (in order to teach them the fundamentals of reading, of course).
I learned how to entertain myself at a young age, and I was never afraid of being alone. That only continued into junior high and high school, where I became more concerned about my grades and my future than when the next party was taking place.
Unfortunately, no one typically aspires to be a studious introvert who cares about grades and going to college and does not quite fit in. What they fail to explain in high school is that what sometimes makes life difficult or painful can ultimately become strengths in adulthood. As such, I have learned to embrace my own unique set of introverted superpowers while living in a chaotic extroverted world.
9 Superpowers of Introverts
1. They are deep thinkers and workers — when they put their mind to something, it gets done.
Introverts are stereotyped as being shy, quiet, and/or anxious around other people, but that is a complete misnomer. While, yes, we introverts may be any of those things, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all of them or that there’s something wrong with us just because we don’t talk as much as someone else.
That said, we introverts are intelligent and are deep thinkers and workers. I graduated with high honors from a top 10 university, finished my master’s degree, and went on to earn a doctorate. If I had been more interested in going out and meeting people, I am not sure I would have had the interest or time needed to graduate from college and complete a Ph.D.
Plus, I’m sure I speak for a lot of introverts when I say we love working alone. (Although I find collaborating with coworkers about certain ideas exhilarating.) But if you find yourself working with an introvert like me, the best part is, we’re skilled listeners, and we take the time to process and validate what others are communicating. Oprah Winfrey’s innate introverted ability to listen and hear her guests made her one of the most famous interviewers and talk show hosts of all time.
2. They are creative and have an active imagination.
Spending time alone while growing up — playing, reading, daydreaming, what have you — provides introverted children the opportunity to tap into their own minds. Creating my own fantasy world as a child became my most favorite superpower that later turned into my love of writing and creating the written word in a way that hooks people, teaches, and inspires them. And other introverts are creative in other ways, whether they’re artists, musicians, or bakers — you name it.
According to Dr. Jonathan Cheek, a professor at Wellesley College, introversion consists of four categories that he labeled the STAR model: Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Restrained. A rich introverted imagination falls under the category of the thinking introvert within this model. Einstein, one of the most famous thinking introverts in history, was arguably one of the most creative and imaginative — so we introverts are in very good company.
3. They are gifted writers, whether it’s journaling, writing letters, or working as a writer.
Since introverts love to spend time thinking and reflecting, writing is a natural expression of their thoughts, that at times, we cannot — or do not — have the opportunity to verbalize. Journaling during and post college taught me how to work through painful feelings and emotions. For years, I struggled with depression, and learning to channel my feelings through written words helped me through some dark times in my early adult life.
Writing is not limited to journaling, however. Some introverts become freelance writers and write for blogs such as this one while others have a knack for writing handwritten letters or even work-related emails. All I know is that we introverts have a talent for putting our thoughts into written words.
4. They excel at problem-solving.
Introverts are great problem-solvers — they have an innate ability to process multiple solutions to problems while simultaneously mapping out pitfalls to avoid. I was the first person in my family to go to college, for example, which meant figuring everything out on my own without the help of my parents. Later, I fell into a job as an academic advisor, where I problem-solved for students all day long to help them navigate their curriculum and the massive academic bureaucracy to graduate.
Being an introvert allows me to easily assess situations and lay out steps to accomplish a given goal. My colleagues, on the other hand, often struggle to see the bigger picture and the details needed to successfully cross the finish line. As introverts, it seems we are always 10 steps ahead, waiting for our extroverted counterparts to catch up as we painfully listen and roll our eyes (on the inside) as they process it all out loud.
5. They take their time making decisions.
Introverts are not prone to rash decision-making and prefer to be alone, which makes them naturals when it comes to thinking things through — whether it’s planning a vacation, organizing their finances, or other major commitments. Doing extensive online research is the first thing I do when I need to make an informed decision.
When I bought my last vehicle, for example, I read countless customer reviews and safety reports over the course of several weeks to narrow down my search. Before I went for the test drive, I researched the Blue Book value and had my loan approved beforehand, so I was ready to negotiate if I wanted to buy. Since I had done my due diligence, the test drive was merely a formality for me. And before the day was over, I had purchased a new vehicle I have been happy with ever since.
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6. They have deep, meaningful relationships, whether it’s with friends or romantic partners.
Since introverts get easily exhausted from socializing, they crave being with a select and intimate group — people who “get” them. I’ve found I only need a few people in my life to make me happy. However, those individuals who are invited into my circle are close to my heart, meaningful, and life-long. We have deep conversations — definitely no small talk! — and can be our true selves around each other.
According to an interview with Beth Buelow, who is the CEO of The Introvert Entrepreneur, she encourages introverts to accept their natural desire for a close — but small — group of friends and affirms it is perfectly okay for an introvert to prefer spending time alone. Plus, we introverts need this alone time to recharge.
7. They are very self-reflective.
Maybe it’s due to all our overthinking, but introverts spend an enormous amount of time reflecting, analyzing, and reassessing themselves and situations.
From a young age, my introversion continually drove me to gain a deeper understanding of myself, which prompted me to study psychology and seek out a counseling degree. As an adult, I sought out therapy when I needed some additional help to process the constant introverted chatter in my head. Over time, this helped me grow more comfortable with who I am.
8. They are independent and have a natural ability to enjoy being alone.
The first step to independence is the ability to stand on one’s own two feet. Introverts come out of the womb with the innate desire to be self-reliant and thrive on their own. I am not afraid to spend time alone or to try new things. In fact, after college, I packed up my car to travel to another state for a nanny job where I did not know a single person.
Since then, I have lived in several states, and this provided me with the independence to get in my car (with a paper map; there was no GPS!) without the fear of traveling anywhere. We take navigation for granted today — and we would literally be lost without our cell phones — but the ability to read a map before Apple and Android was incredibly empowering.
While an extrovert would probably rather spend 30 minutes chit-chatting with a stranger they stop to ask directions from, an introvert like me will already be at my destination, thinking about what comes next.
9. They are innovative and make great leaders.
Sir Isaac Newton, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Marie Curie are considered some of the most influential innovators in history and they have one huge trait in common — they’re all introverted leaders in their fields.
Introverts are rarely satisfied with the status quo, continually seeking to assess and reassess situations. I personally strive to streamline information and figure out systems to be more efficient and effective. I have consistently done the work of two to three people in every job I have held because it is an introverted gift to figure out ways to be faster, better, and more efficient. By not fearing change, the introvert can adapt with ease in most situations — just like the aforementioned leaders have done.
Introverts Are Superheroes (Even if We Avoid the Spotlight)
We each carry our own introverted shields, capes, and armor unique to each of us.
I feel the extrovert appears in the world like Thor with his hammer, demanding to be heard… which pushes the introvert to retreat like the Flash, moving at the speed of light back into the safety of their own mind.
However, we should all embrace our supreme powers of introversion to challenge the extroverted world. We each possess our own versions of Bruce Wayne and Batman, or of Selina Kyle and Catwoman, just begging to be unleashed and to transform us into the introverted superheroes we deserve to be and the world needs.