If you’re ever met and actually gotten to know an introvert, you already know that there are a lot more advantages to their “strategy” than meets the eye.
Although no one chooses to be an introvert (or an extrovert), it’s finally being acknowledged that it’s a real thing.
“Introversion is one of the most misunderstood (yet most widely recognized and talked about) dimensions of human personality,” according to Scientific American, which documented some of the Quiet Leadership Institute’s work.
“Does introversion mean you’re less social? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re really shy? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re more emotionally sensitive? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re a nicer, warmer person? Not necessarily. Does introversion mean you’re more reflective and creative? Not necessarily,” the article goes on to say.
“As you can see, there are many things that many people commonly refer to as introversion which are actually a blend of introversion with another dimension of personality. However, there are some essential features of introversion, which are grounded in the latest neurochemistry and neuroscience of personality.”
Good to know. So what even is introversion?
And how do introverts (not as silently as you might think) succeed? We made a list.
1. It’s not black and white
Not only is introversion not a disability, but it is also not black and white. In fact, introverts “compensate” for some of their differences in many (perhaps even more useful) ways.
At its most simple, introversion is just a preference for quiet instead of excitement. Extroverts tend to have a very quick-to-trigger dopamine system when it comes to potential rewards in their environment.
For example, extroverts tend to get excited things like social attention and status. In essence, they get a higher reward than introverts for social things.
It then follows why introverts simply wouldn’t go after those things.
However, this has nothing to say about a second major pathway, which was only discovered pretty recently. This pathway is not the reward system, but a completely different system altogether.
Instead, this pathway is associated with the potential reward value of information. For example, introverts get more excited about information, curiosity, and understanding
than extroverts do.
This particular system is only evolved in humans and is very beneficial in the workplace because it rewards introverts, allows them to plan ahead, and thoroughly think through
2. Introversion has a lot to do with creativity
Are many of the introverts you know creative? We thought so.
The reason for this is that introverts have a unique ability to turn their attention inward, to think about their own thoughts and deeply reflect.
Whereas extroverts get a higher reward for socializing, introverts have a greater “imagination network.”
The imagination network is associated with creativity, compassion and a greater ability to read and anticipate others’ thoughts.
These surpluses are regularly used by poets and writers but can really be used across all professions. We think this is a really useful skill to have at work.
3. Introverts aren’t shyer
One of the greatest myths about introversion is that introverts are shyer in nature.
This is simply not true.
According to the Quiet Leadership Institute, shyness comes from neuroticism, not introversion. In fact, many extroverts are very shy.
It also isn’t true that introverts have a greater aversion to people. That trait is actually tied to agreeableness. Introverts just don’t get as much of a reward in their brains from
gaining social status or interacting with others as extroverts do.
It’s also not true that extroverts always love attention or that introverts don’t like being around people.
They may just not like being the center of attention or “life of the party.”
4. Preparation is one of the introvert’s greatest strengths
Introverts are really good at preparing and thinking ahead. Instead of trying to change (you can’t really, anyway), play to your existing strengths.
For example, a really well-written email can go a long way and, while definitely different from expressing yourself more directly, it holds a lot of power being “ in the moment” does not.
“A lot of introverts are more comfortable with communicating in writing than verbally. Composing an email allows you time to think through what you want to say and deliver all of your points in detail. But if you’re in a conference room full of extroverts who are all “thinking out loud,” getting your ideas across can be a challenge,” according to the Huffington Post.
5. Introverts are great listeners
“You may feel like you’re at a disadvantage, but you’re not,” explained Salemi in the previously mentioned Huffington Post article. “You can play up your strengths, and one
of them is listening.”
“Introverts are naturally adept when it comes to actively listening,” said Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms Beth Buelow, according to TIME.
“We tend to be the friend or colleague you can call on when you’re upset or you have good news to share.”
This is a different experience from trying to have a conversation with an extrovert.
“Extroverted people are more inclined to jump into a conversation before fully processing what the other person has said. Not because they’re selfish or don’t care, but because they process information interactively,” Dr. Laurie Helgoe explained in the TIME article.
The truth is, as it’s always been, that people are really complicated and you can’t really separate them into neat categories. And that’s a really great thing.
So while introverts may not always be the life of the party, they really do have just as much to offer.
For even more benefits of being an introvert, read this.