Why Being an Introvert is an Advantage
Introvert or Extrovert
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you know? One-third to one-half of the population are introverts. Which means the other one-half to two-thirds are extroverts or somewhere in the middle.
Personally, I'm on the introvert side and I have the tests to prove it. Honestly though, I didn't even need a test. I have always preferred more subdued activities, interacting with people one-on-one rather than in large groups, and thinking before speaking. I get my energy from spending quiet time alone rather than going out with groups of people. Not to say that I don't enjoy socializing or conversing with others, because I definitely do. It's just that when I need to unwind, I prefer quiet over social situations.
Over the course of my life, I've often felt misunderstood because of my natural tendencies to introversion. I've been called shy, which I'm not and even aloof, which is equally untrue. I think that introverts often feel this way, especially today in a world that values extroversion from a very young age starting in school and continuing through to the working years. It's time for introverts to value who they are and stop trying so hard to be who they're not. It's also time for extroverts to value us introverts for the contributions we can make to the world instead of trying to change us. Read on to learn the unique benefits of introversion and how introverts can use these benefits to their advantage.
Benefits of Being an Introvert
Before extolling the benefits of being an introvert, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not knocking extroverts at all. I think there's a place for both in this world and that both types of people contribute immensely to society. But since this article is about the benefits of being an introvert in a world where many people actually think something is wrong with introverts, my focus will be on setting the record straight.
Here are some benefits of being an introvert:
- Independence: Introverts don't look to others as much as extroverts do before making a decision about something. Instead, they tend to weigh the pros and cons and the issues themselves and then come to a conclusion. This makes them more independent at work. On the downside, too much independent decision making can be seen as non-collaborative so there is a balance to be struck.
- Creative and imaginative: Introverts are deep thinkers and spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking things through rather than talking. This fuels their creativity and imagination.
- Self-reflective: Again, due to the tendency to think and to spend quiet time alone, introverts tend to be very self-reflective. This is a good thing since it helps introverts make necessary personal changes that can make them better workers, partners, and parents.
- Great listeners and observers: Because they're not spending as much time talking, introverts tend to listen more and observe more. They might hear or see things that others miss.
- Studious: Studying is an ideal introvert activity. It's quiet, thoughtful, and requires alone time. This makes introverts gravitate towards it and gives them a bit of an edge.
- Great at maintaining long-term relationships: Introverts don't feel like every acquaintance is a friend. Instead, they feel that their good friends are those who they know really well and have a history with. They value these friendships and place great value in maintaining them.
How to Tell if You're an Introvert or an Extrovert
Even without taking a test, there are ways to tell if your personality leans more to the introvert or the extrovert side.
- Thinking and problem solving: Introverts will prefer to think through a problem on their own before speaking up. Extroverts will prefer to think out loud as they solve the problem with a group of people.
- Communication: Extroverts love to meet with people in person so that they can see facial expressions and body language. They dislike writing long emails to communicate something they could just say in person. Introverts, on the other hand, would rather write the long email than meet in person. It gives them time to collect their thoughts and say what they mean.
- Making decision: Introverts are comfortable making decisions independently while extroverts like to have other people weigh in on their decisions.
- Source of energy: Extroverts get a lot of energy by being with other people. Introverts get their energy from quiet time and deep thought.
If you still don't know where you fall, take the quiz provided in the link above.
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Best Jobs for Introverts
If you're an introvert, why fight it? Play up your strengths by going into a career that is suited to you, not to an extrovert. Here are some jobs that you might try:
- Market Research: Market research can be a great job for an introvert since the primary focus is data analysis and report writing. However, there are some companies and jobs, particularly as you advance, where you'll need some extrovert traits too. Skills such as collaboration and building alignment with your research findings are sometimes required.
- Software Engineer: Not only do software engineers get paid well, the job is very well suited for an introvert. What could be better?
- Accountant: Although accountants get a bad rap sometimes, the job is suited for an introvert, is in high demand, and pays well. Days spent analyzing numbers instead of working directly with people will make introverts happy.
- Translator: A translator will spend much of their time translating, which means working alone when translating written materials or with a few other people when translating verbally.
- Graphic Designer: Spending time designing on the computer is a job that's very suitable to an introvert. Like marketing research, there could be some situations where the need to sell your work and get buy-in will require some extrovert traits.
- Physicist: Physicists do a lot of research, generally alone or in small groups, which is perfect for an introvert.
- Attorney: Being an attorney might seem more suited for an extrovert but that's just because of the way attorney's are portrayed on television. What you don't see are the hours of research and brief writing that takes place before the courtroom. These tasks are very well suited to an introvert.
- Actuary: Actuary's spend their days using math and modeling to determine risk. They're likely to use computers a lot and spend their days analyzing data, perfect for an introvert.
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