Even for the most open-minded person, stereotypes about certain groups of people can be unknowingly entrenched in our minds from a very young age. Society already tells us what to think even if we have no prior knowledge of the subject.
In a world where extroverts are praised for their preconceived outgoing and enthusiastic personalities, being an introvert can be difficult. Introversion is seemingly viewed as the lesser of the personalities and with that comes the unfortunate misconception that those with this personality trait are not likely to succeed in life.
These stereotypes stem from the idea that introverts are antisocial and shy recluses, that do not like being around other people, but that is not what introversion is in its entirety. While introverts do have a tendency to be quiet and reserved, Verywellmind.com defines introversion as an inborn personality trait, “characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation.” They focus more on their own inward thoughts and moods rather than seeking outward gratification.
Unlike extroverts who are stimulated more by spending their time amongst other people, introverts enjoy time alone. Introverts do not mind interacting with others, but the interactions can leave them feeling drained. But, wanting to occasionally be secluded does not equate to shyness, which is a common stereotype introverts find themselves falling victim to.
According to Promisesbehavorialhealth.com, shyness is, “a fear of negative judgment by others.”
Shyness and introversion are not one in the same, but they can sometimes overlap. There are introverts and extroverts alike who do identify themselves as being shy, but typically the cases are not extreme and it does not get in the way of everyday life.
Once the introvert feels comfortable in any given setting, that is when they begin to open up around others and become more social. Due to these misconceptions, like being antisocial and timid, there is a misunderstanding that introverts are not as successful as their extrovert counterparts.
And it’s because of this, introverts are perceived as non-leadership material. However, there are many traits introverts possess that have been proven to be beneficial. For instance, Lifehack.org regards introverts as creative, great listeners, independent, trustworthy and self-reflective. They are not impulsive beings, as they usually think before they act. They are viewed as sensitive and possess the ability to understand people’s thoughts on a much deeper level.
Additionally, some of the most influential inventors, writers, actors and leaders have deemed themselves introverts.
According to Inc.com, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling, Meryl Streep and Barack Obama are introverts, and the list does not stop there. Against all odds, these people have shown that introverts can be equally as successful as extroverts.
So, instead of bringing introverts down for their inborn traits, let’s begin to celebrate them.