Almost synonymous with the word introversion are the words, “shy”, “timid”, and “unconfident”.
And that’s just getting started.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of negative connotations associated with being an introvert. But fortunately, there’s now research dunking many of them (and adding some very nice ones to the list of benefits).
If you’re an introvert, there’s a lot about you that is highly advantageous. However, I’ve found that more often than with extroverts, introverts aren’t aware of their natural strengths. That’s where this Introvert’s Guide to Success comes in.
Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.
– Thomas Mann
Until recently, Western society had been designed in a way that naturally promoted the strengths of extroverts. Extroverts tend to be better communicators and more assertive in social settings, both critical skills when trying to get ahead in your career and any professional environment.
Introverts, on the other hand, are stronger when they’re alone. They tend more often to be the creatives who slave away behind closed doors to create works of art and fiction (however, because of their creativity, they’re sometimes great problem solvers as well, a universal skill). It doesn’t help that these are things which aren’t as highly appreciated as they should be in Western (and, to some degree, all modern) society.
However, over the past decade, the world has changed.
How to world has changed to give introverts the advantage
Now, you have the ability to start a business from the solitude of your own home and generate a living doing what you love, even if that includes a more creative endeavor you would have never in the past had been able to (reasonably, without a ton of luck) make a living doing.
Let me say that again. Now, you can:
- Start a business from the solitude of your home
- Make a living with creative outlets like writing or other content, creating art, or virtually anything else.
These two points combined make for a pretty ideal opportunity for many introverts to not only do what they love but finally fully utilize their introversion as a strength instead of a hindrance. If this doesn’t sound like an introvert’s dream, I don’t know what is (it sure is mine).
Of course, there is no one kind of introvert and I’m not presuming that every introvert is a creative. However, the birth of the Internet and everything that has come with it has created an environment which allows introverts to thrive like never before.
With that in mind, whether you’re a creative or entrepreneur looking to start a business doing what you love or if have a different career path in mind, there are several things you should keep in mind if you want to use your introversion to your advantage to reach your definition of success.
1. Use solitude to maximize creativity, create your best work, and maintain your health and happiness
Optimizing your working environment is a critical aspect of maximizing productivity and doing your best work.
Introverts tend to create their best work in solitude, so it’s important that you spend ample time alone in an environment that makes you feel comfortable enough to allow your mind to wander and let loose. This will help you maximize your creativity and create your best work.
In addition, introverts tend to be happier when they’re able to get enough time alone. To be clear, this doesn’t mean introverts need or want to be alone at all times. I personally dislike this misconception as it’s dangerous because being social is important for our mental health and happiness.
However, we tend to become overwhelmed when we’re in a social setting for too long and need to recharge by being alone, so don’t forget the importance of this for your health and happiness.
2. Challenge yourself with complex problems
Introverts tend to be more sensitive to detail, so taking on challenges and problem-solving may be a valuable strength you can refine.
Problem-solving is one of the highest value skills there is in virtually any endeavor, but it needs to be developed over time to really shine. Don’t shy from a challenge and know that you just might have a knack for noticing details others have missed, which is perfect for problem-solving.
3. Make it your mission to step outside your comfort zone
As I mentioned earlier, traits like shyness are commonly associated with introversion. I’ll admit that the natural tendency of an introvert tends to lead them to become shy, however, introversion is not shyness. They’re separate things and not mutually exclusive. It’s also not fear.
Fear is an emotion which you can, if you’re not careful, associate with introversion for the same reason shyness is often associated with it. Don’t accept this misconception and allow fear to take hold of you thinking it’s a part of your nature. You need to fight back against fear and step outside of your comfort zone regularly if you want to grow to realize your potential.
4. Use your ability to listen and pay close attention
Whether it’s having a conversation with someone directly or watching the behavior of people from a distance, introverts tend to be more methodical in how they interact with others. It’s believed by many that introverts have an aversion to or difficulty with communication, however, that’s a very generalized statement.
Like many things, what we consider to be communication and “social skills” really make up many different qualities put together. Sure, many of which extroverts tend to be strong in, however, there are some that introverts tend to be strong in as well. And one of those is the ability to listen effectively and pay attention to detail.
This can be applied towards using the power of listening when communicating with colleagues, business partners, and customers as well as noticing patterns of behavior in people, an infinitely valuable skill in marketing and business in general.
This can seem like a disadvantage in practice, as it tends to make us slower and more methodical in our actions, but in reality, it offers a ton of advantages to introverts that extroverts tend to have to work much harder to develop.
Being an introvert offers several great advantages. However, in the past, they’ve been thrown to the wayside for skills more native to extroverts. But the world has changed and now introverts have a greater chance of realizing success – on their own terms – than ever before.