Debunking The Misconceptions of Introversion
Written by: Angelie Kapoor, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Have you ever been described as shy, aloof or withdrawn? Maybe strange, a nerd or loner? Do people perceive you as being unfriendly? Possibly even as rude, snobbish, or insecure? Do you find social events to feel awkward or uncomfortable? If any of these questions resonate or rings true for you, then you’re likely an introvert.
Now just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. And I’m not just saying that because I happen to be an introvert myself. Many of the unflattering qualities used to describe introverts are based on misconception, misinformation and a lack of understanding. I remember when I first started high school. I was a quiet type of person, and some of my classmates interpreted me as snobbish or insecure. I was neither. I just didn’t speak until I had something to say and enjoyed spending time alone or with my small circle of friends.
You have to wonder if people are born as introverts. In my experience, when I look back through different stages in my own life, it seems that where we may find ourselves on the introversion-extroversion scale at any point of time in life has to do with situations, experiences and even maturity. It can be times and circumstances that can affect our tendency or level of introversion. In actuality, it seems that most people tend to be a combination of both, possessing strengths and weaknesses from both sides of the spectrum. This rings true for me as I’ve found that though I lean more towards introversion, I also possess extrovert qualities and call on them when needed.
I’ve learned that Introversion and extroversion also has a lot to do with energy. What gives us energy and what drains it. If you find that you are more energized when alone, and find that being around others makes you tired or exhausted, you are likely more introverted and tend to seek alone time to recharge. If you are someone who is energized from being around others and you find that you feel lonely and have less energy when you’re alone, then you are likely more extroverted.
Like all things, there are advantages as well as disadvantages to introversion. Some advantages or strengths to being an introvert are:
· We are great listeners – typically introverts tend to have excellent listening skills as they know the value of silence and how to utilize their powers of observation and thoughtfulness.
· We are highly observant – introverts tend to be very observant, being in the background, being watchful and taking things in. They are able to sit back and observe others, situations and things unnoticed. Quite often, they see or pick up on things others do not.
· We are highly empathetic – introverts tend to practice the skill of empathy due to our time spent alone and internalizing.
· We tend to lead with compassion and dedication – introverts tend to be excellent leaders who are compassionate and dedicated due to their great listening skills, their thoughtfulness, observant and empathetic nature and trustworthiness in how they deal with relationships.
· We make amazing friends who are in it for the long-term – introverts tend to have smaller social circles. You will likely find an introvert to be a reliable, exceptional friend due to their empathetic nature, thoughtfulness, dedication and loyalty.
· We are super thoughtful and considerate before we act or speak –introverts typically are not quick to speak or respond as they take time to process thoughts and considerations.
Just as there are strengths to introversion, there are also weaknesses. Some disadvantages that introverts may experience are:
· The most obvious disadvantage is that introverts are frequently misjudged or misunderstood. Some may take an introvert’s tendency to quiet observation, thoughtfulness, and enjoyment of being alone as being antisocial, shy, and insecure or even as rude or snobbish.
· We take time to speak or act – through our thoughtfulness and consideration prior to speaking or acting is a strength; it can be a weakness too. As you can imagine, this tendency makes some situations such as job interviews rather daunting and nerve-wracking.
· Being outspoken and visible is just not our thing – introverts like to be in the background and not the center of attention, which can make situations such as public speaking quite uncomfortable.
· We find social events quite awkward - Introverts find being around people to be draining, and you likely won’t find an introvert being the first to strike up a conversation. This can make social events uncomfortable and awkward for introverts.
· We have a more difficult time making friends – an introvert’s aloofness may be considered shy or antisocial. This may ring true for some introverts. However, introverts are just careful when · it comes to trusting and spending time with others.
After taking a look at some of the introversion's strengths and weaknesses, you are hopefully starting to see "the power of the introvert." The skills, natural abilities and tendencies of introverts are valuable assets if utilized in the right way. An introvert's power lies in:
Our excellent listening skills allow us to truly and fully listen when others speak or need to chat
Our power of observation will enable us to see things which others do not notice as well as get a complete picture of situations
We have the ability not only to see the complete picture, but also steps and sequences, how things align and connect
We tend to be very strategic and we are excellent planners
Though they may be few, we tend to have deeper, long-term friendships when we let others in
We tend to be very grounded and have a calm demeanor due to our time alone and our internal work
These “powers of the introvert” can spell success in all areas of life, including in the workplace and in business. It’s not always true that extroverts have the skills and abilities that are better suited for success.
In both the workplace and in business, introverts possess the abilities, the elements of success such as intelligent decision-making, having a keen eye for attention to detail, being highly strategic and being great at solving problems. Being outgoing, outspoken and a social butterfly is not necessarily a requirement for success.
Did you know that there are celebrities and well-known inspirers in various fields that are introverts? Here are just the names of a few which I came across:
Albert Einstein – one of the most, if not the most highly successful and known scientists in the world
Rosa Parks – one of the most prominently known historical figures whose actions influenced change
Steven Spielberg – one of the most successful and influential individuals in Hollywood
Eleanor Roosevelt – former First Lady, successful diplomat and activist
JK Rowling – the famous creator of the world-known Harry Potter
Warren Buffett – one of the most successful businessmen in the world
As you can see, “the power of the introvert” does indeed exist. Throughout history, there have been numerous introverts who have utilized their “powers” to accomplish and achieve great things. And as an introvert, you, too, can do the same. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can use this awareness to make adjustments as you need to achieve the best possible outcomes in any situation.
You can call and draw on your more extroverted qualities when you need to as well. You can make interviewing less daunting, attend social events feeling more comfortable and even give a speech with confidence.
Hopefully, this information inspires you to embrace these gifts and be more comfortable with them and yourself. I know for myself that being an introvert and seeing things from this perspective really helps me embrace my introversion and be grateful for these subtle gifts. A quote by Carl Jung simply but powerfully expresses this notion, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Angelie Kapoor, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
After 17 years of working her way up the corporate ladder, Angelie Kapoor is a Leadership Empowerment Strategist. She has years of experience, skills and passion for helping and supporting others to succeed as well as coaching and spiritual mindset tools which have positively impacted her life in various ways. With her achievement motivation and results driven approach, she helps ambitious, outgoing, hardworking spirits create a deeper level of fulfillment and balance in their careers and at home. Here is what she says about her work: "We are all meant to shine. We were all given all that we need to create and live the lives we truly want and desire. I help people, mostly women, discover their light, inner power and strength to approach accomplishing their goals and desires with clarity, positivity and empowerment. I help my clients grow and develop in a space where they feel safe, comfortable, are challenged, motivated, have accountability and are celebrated for their successes as well as who they are."