At times, it can seem like a severe disadvantage to be an introvert. Extroverts appear to have all the fun, and their gregarious, attention-seeking personalities often allow them to reap promotions, popularity, and recognition. Introverts, on the other hand, may get passed over and have their valuable work go unnoticed. Their preference for quiet observation can sometimes be a detriment to their success in this dog-eat-dog world.
Despite this, there are many areas in which introverts have a leg up on extroverts. Many of today’s most successful people are introverts, such as J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg, and Mark Zuckerberg.
But introverts not only have the ability to rival extroverts professionally, they also possess a number of distinct advantages over them. Here are seven areas in which introverts shine more than their extroverted counterparts. These points may not apply to every introvert and extrovert (we’re individuals, after all), but I believe they are generally true.
(Not sure what it means to be an introvert? Check out our complete definition and guide.)
The Advantages of Being an Introvert
1. Introverts are low maintenance.
While introverts may be judged for their lack of participation, they’ll hardly ever be accused of being obnoxious, needy, and disruptive. Because introverts value their space, they tend to naturally respect that of others. They’re largely independent and not clingy, and they’re generally more inclined to be polite and considerate of the impact of their behavior on others. They tend to think before they speak, whereas extroverts may blurt the first things that come to mind.
2. Introverts tend to be creative and original.
While extroverts may adopt the values of the group and what is mainstream and popular, introverts tend to have their own preferences that are less influenced by trends. They may gravitate towards things that are obscure, unusual, or downright strange. Because they spend more of their time on their own, away from the places extroverts commonly occupy, they’re apt to develop perspectives, ideas, and insights that are unorthodox and novel. The introverted theoretical-physicist Albert Einstein once stated, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”
3. Introverts are shrewd.
Because of the way they’re wired, introverts are predisposed to exercising caution and deliberating thoughtfully before making a decision. This propensity for deliberation puts them at a greater advantage when it comes to things like critical thinking, problem solving, and assessing the character of another person. Because they spend more time reflecting and observing, they’re liable to accrue a deeper understanding of various aspects of life, including human behavior. This may contribute to greater judgment in business or penetrating insight as a psychologist. Introverts like to take their time to reflect on and process a decision properly so that they can choose the best course of action that they won’t later regret.
4. Introverts are generally better listeners.
The “quiet ones” tend to really listen and consider the ideas and feelings of others. In conversation, they may take mental notes and focus intently on what people are trying to express — as opposed to simply waiting for their chance to speak. Because they process things deeply, introverts are naturally more receptive and interested in taking in information than divulging it. This is why people often confide in introverts — and they are good at keeping secrets. Many introverts understand how difficult it is to open up and trust people, so they may work hard to be more trustworthy themselves.
5. Introverts are able to really focus.
Since introverts give less attention to socializing than extroverts, they devote more attention to other things. They have the ability to cloister themselves away from the rest of the world and bunker down to accomplish a task or objective. Provided there are no disruptions, they can deeply immerse themselves in solitary activities like research or writing for extended periods of time. Often, the temptations that compete for the extrovert’s attention hold no power over the introverted mind. Their ability to concentrate often allows them to become experts and highly proficient in many fields of interest.
6. Introverts cultivate deep connections with people.
Introverts prefer quality of relationships over quantity. Extroverts are more inclined to rack up a bounty of personal connections, but many of them will be casual in nature. Introverts are more discriminating in who they allow into their world, so the relationships they do form will be cherished and nurtured. The introverted personality has little interest in shallow interactions and instead prefers to establish relationships that they find meaningful and deep. They’ll invest more effort into cultivating a small number of stronger connections than a large number of surface-level associations. As a result, they’re better able at surrounding themselves with people who are trustworthy and loyal to them.
7. Introverts are more independent.
Many extroverts insist on teamwork and being a team player. Because introverts are more private, they’re inclined to cultivate a lifestyle that maximizes autonomy and self-sufficiency. Whenever possible, they prefer to work independently, and they require less supervision than most extroverts. Managers can trust them to carry out a task without being derailed or distracted by socializing. Many introverts loathe being dependent on others, and they feel empowered in being able to deal with challenges relying solely on their own merit.
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