For some people, solitude is the air they breathe
Isaac Newton formulated the law of gravity alone, without brainstorming or group discussions. Famous composer Frederic Chopin gave only about thirty public performances in his lifetime, preferring instead to play for small groups of friends. Dr. Seuss was said to be afraid of meeting the kids who read his books for fear they’d be disappointed at how quiet he was. Steve Wozniak built Apple’s first personal computer by himself at home. J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in solitude.
Introversion and extraversion are basic temperaments that are evenly distributed throughout the population. Whether it’s at a party or in a chatty classroom, it often seems that extroverts greatly outnumber introverts. But appearances can deceive. There are actually quiet people in every walk of life, and they aren’t even a minority.
So how many introverts are out there? Scientists interviewed different groups of people about introverted personality traits such as needing a lot of quiet time or preferring listening to talking. The result? About 47–55 % of the US population are introverts.
But what about business and politics, surely there is only place for extroverts there? Our business culture does seem to favor extroverts by emphasizing the importance of socializing, decisiveness and gregariousness. Yet one study shows that no less than 40% of all executives describe themselves as introverts. The most famous of them all was probably President Abraham Lincoln, known for his tendency to frequently withdraw inside himself, so much so, he would often be found alone in his library reading law books instead of socializing.
While studies show that extroverts tend to be happier than introverts, if you’re an introvert, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of sadness and misery.
There are several things introverts can do to increase their happiness and life satisfaction.
Most of them are quite easy too!
Consider These Ideas
> Accept yourself.
If you’re introverted, you’re introverted.
That can be challenging in some ways and a blessing in others.
You can’t change your basic nature, so you may as well embrace it.
Remember that you have many advantages over extroverts.
> Focus on the quality of relationships in your life, rather than the quantity.
Introverts don’t dislike people, but they do dislike shallow conversations and relationships.
As an introvert, your socialization needs to be meaningful.
You don’t need thirty friends.
You need a couple of good friends.
> Take time for yourself.
Introverts thrive on alone time, so give yourself plenty of it.
Create a lifestyle that matches your need to spend time alone.
> Acknowledge your strengths.
You’ll be happier if you remember that being an introvert is great in many ways.
Look at yourself and the extroverts you know.
What can you do that they can’t?
What are your strengths compared to theirs?
> Pretend to be an extrovert.
Studies have shown that introverts experience positive feelings after pretending to be extroverted in social gatherings.
The next time you’re at a party, pretend you’re an actor and act extroverted.
You might discover that you like parties more than you thought!
> Choose a suitable career.
A sales career might not be the best choice for an introverted person.
You’ll be happier if you choose a career path that doesn’t require constant communication with others.
> Avoid over-scheduling.
An extrovert might thrive with a daily schedule that includes a full day of work, meeting friends for dinner, and then taking a night class.
Introverts tend to need more downtime to recharge their batteries.
A simple life tends to work the best and can be very satisfying to an introvert.
> Take a day off when you need it.
Whether it’s taking a mental health day from work or backing out of a social commitment, take a day for yourself when you need it.
The alternative is over-stressing yourself or making yourself miserable.
If it’s not too detrimental, take a day off once in a while.
> Find activities you enjoy that you can do by yourself.
Avoid falling into the trap of just watching TV each night.
Look for things you can do that you enjoy that also help you to grow.
Take up an instrument, learn to play chess, read, or write.
What interests you?
Where you lie on the extroversion-introversion scale is believed to be quite consistent.
It’s a case of “you are what you are.”
Extroverts might have it a little easier, but there are many advantages to being introverted.
Decide today that you’re going to do what you can to have the happiest life possible, and then make that happen.