As somebody who has always felt less comfortable in large groups and more in need of alone time than many of my friends, I have often wondered what is different about me. During the past year, there have been countless articles and books written about introversion that have shed more light on this.†I have been amused to see that introverts have come to be a hot topic.
Why is it that we even feel the need to label these personality differences? Or worse, why do we judge them as better or worse than one another? Introverts are often made to feel that something is wrong with them because they donít thrive in huge gatherings or groups, and are labeled as anti-social, reclusive or just shy.
This is unfortunate because their numbers are strong; different reports estimate that between one-third to one-half of the population might be introverted. So it would be helpful to try to clear up some of the misconceptions about introversion.
I have heard introversion myths most of my life: all introverts are desperately shy and have little to no social skills; they hate groups and all they want is to be alone; since they like being alone, they are either depressed or sad all the time; they donít make good leaders or good speakers; they don’t do things that require them to be in the spotlight.
However, as a recent Huffington Post article pointed out, there have been many exceptional speakers and very successful introverts who counter these myths. Among the most successful introverts are Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein and even Gandhi.
What are the traits that tend to make introverts successful? All of the famous examples listed above said they do their best thinking and feel most creative alone, rather than in a group. The†quiet and the solitude allowed them to really flesh out theories, plans, books, etc.†Most introverts may share some of these character traits, such as enjoying solitary time and not necessarily liking big groups, but it doesnít mean they donít like people, or to socialize. Instead, many introverts need time alone to recharge and regroup.
Other characteristics that made these people so successful, according to Huffington Post’s article, include “intellectual persistence, prudent thinking, and the ability to see and act on warning signs.”
Can you relate to these qualities? Where do you fall on the introvert or extrovert scale? Take our quiz below.
Introvert or Extrovert?
talk as much as I listen.
listen more than I talk.
many friends and acquaintances.
a few people that I feel close to.
wonder what I'm missing outside of the house.
enjoy the unexpected time alone.
I usually reflect on what Iím going to say before I say it.
I usually think on my feet, as Iím talking.
I donít talk about whatís really important to me unless I feel close to someone.
People who know me are generally aware of whatís important to me.
I get restless when Iím alone too long.
I get restless when I donít have enough time to myself.
When Iím having a good time with others, I get energized and keep going.
When Iím having a good time with others, my energy runs out and I need space.
take time to read or walk or daydream alone.
spend time doing things with others.
see famous landmarks.
spend time in museums and quiet places.
be admired for my work, even though I'm not satisfied with it myself.
create something of lasting worth, but remain unknown.