As a true-blue Introvert, I am very familiar with the pressures of this Extrovert praising Western world. Being the center of attention, quick on your feet, speaking up at meetings, having large social circles, and a full social calendar are qualities that seemingly “successful” people have. Add to this, the fact that Extroverts outnumber Introverts (but who knows, maybe the number of Introverts is skewed, as we are less likely to draw attention to ourselves). Lacking some or all of these qualities can leave one to feel less than or like a failure.
As an Introvert I have a hard time making decisions. Especially really important decisions that require immediate answers. Remember the not-so-long-ago post re: apartment hunting? In times like those I tend to feel horrible because I feel like I should know the answers, especially when all the facts are in front of me. I also tend to forget that, besides “yes” and “no” being options, there is also “maybe”.
As Marti O. Laney states in her book “The Introvert Advantage”, “maybes broaden the world and open decision making to lots of prospects, views, and options.” In addition to allowing ourselves to explore “maybe”, we can also give ourselves more time to explore our options, and we can request for that extra time from others. Allowing for time to explore the “maybe” makes room for more possibilities to surface and for our Introvert brains to process in their most fertile way, which is with time and sleep. For us Introverts to “sleep on it” is our greatest ally.
With time and practice, I can use this knowledge to quiet that inner critic/critical parent voice that tells me “Well don’t ya know? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you have the right answer?” Now, instead of seeing my need for time as a fault, I am aware that taking my time is what’s best for me.
Introverts can be, and are, just as successful as any Extrovert. Introverts process information and spend energy differently than most people. Knowing how we do so can not only be useful in helping us tap into our strengths, but it can be amazingly empowering. If you are an Introvert, or know an Introvert that leaves you scratching your head, I highly recommend reading “The Introvert Advantage”. It’s full of research based information (without being dry) and helpful suggestions for situations such as work, self-care, relationships, and dating.
The true pay-off to investing time in learning more about how your Introverted brain works is put best by Marti O. Laney: “The more you are able to appreciate your introversion and relish it, the more you will be leaping into self-acceptance, understanding, and growth.”