I have often been intrigued by people who think that loud people are the successful ones. Day in, day out I come across different sorts of people, and all of them believe in talking methods to influence others. They talk like experts in the field… as if they are gurus of life who know everything, can speak on any given subject and have gained life’s wisdom with their experiential knowledge. They believe in the power of their words and tend to think that their words influence their hearers. Most of them that I have met are extroverts of this kind. Extroverts are talkers, and I do agree 100 percent that they do have the power of verbal communication. If their hearers tend, to be introverts like me, they get to mistake my silence or my listening for lack of knowledge or as a person with poor insight. I have often noticed that they are not good listeners and don’t give the introvert an opportunity to talk.

So, in reality, are introverts poor in communication skills or are they not people who can influence others? Absolutely not! Introverts have great strengths of their own. Susan Cain, the international best seller of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking lists on the strengths of introverts.

Ten strengths of being an introvert are:

1. Quiet Temperament

Cain says that introverts have a quiet temperament which is their hidden superpower. I agree with Cain. Just because introverts are not great socializers, it doesn’t make them less powerful publicly. People with quiet temperaments have been great achievers and leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln (Cain, Mone and Moroz, 2016).  

2. Creativity

As introverts spend a great deal of time in solitude, ideas spring in their minds during such a time. Right from the CEO of Apple Tim Cook, to the creators of “Cat in the Hat” (Dr. Seuss) and “Harry Potter” (J.K. Rowling) – all forms of creativity have sprung from the minds of the introverts! (Cain, Mone, and Moroz, 2016).

3. Thinkers

Introverts are great thinkers, and most of their monologue occur in their minds. They take the time to think, think and think just the way others take the time to watch TV or listen to some music. Their quiet time, when they think a lot, it is also space for them to dream, plan, deal with their disappointments or frustrations; handle their fears or battle with their problems (Kahnweiler, 2013). Their constant thinking helps them to become better problem solvers and to rationalize and make decisions. They think through every single aspect that crosses their mind.

4. Preparation

Introverts are good in preparation whether it comes to doing work, handling a task, or even communication, they “really” prepare. Preparation enables introverts to be ready for any kind of situation (Kahnweiler, 2013). At work, preparation helps them to do their jobs efficiently. When it comes to communication, preparation enables them to say the right things at the right time. Instead of talking a lot of things, they tend to say what is required by using the right words.

5. Listening

Listening is one of the best qualities and strengths of the introverts. Since they tend to talk less, they listen more. They give a lot of importance to others’ non-verbal communications or body language (facial expressions, gestures, postures) and to the tone of communication. Their listening capacity helps them to be sensitive to others. They believe in engaged listening giving the space and opportunity for others to talk.

6. Prioritizing

Introverts are good in prioritizing work, their daily schedules and the people in their lives. Since they take time to prioritize, they tend not to mismanage any of their tasks. As realists, introverts do not believe in handling too many things at the same time. They are realistic about what they can handle and what they can’t (including people). Hence they tend to prioritize their work, schedules, communication with people and social interactions ensuring that it produces satisfactory results.

7. Focus

When it comes to focusing, introverts do the best. Kahnweiler (2013) rightly puts it “introverts seek depth over breadth.” This quality in them helps them to focus keenly by diving deep, whether it is work or relationships or knowing people. Because of their ability to focus deep, their ability to think critically, organize and make plans and implementation of the plan is done by getting into details.

8. Role Model

Introverts are quiet role models. Leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who were introverts lead their nations by being quiet influencers. They have stood as role models for others to follow without putting themselves at the center. What has attracted people to these quiet influencers is their modesty, quietness, gentleness, and warmth towards people. Introverts stand out as quiet influencers because they don’t use any approach to win people or adopt strategies to make others do their bidding (Kahnweiler, 2013). 

9. Stretch

Though introverts are always labeled as closed type personality with little room for socialization or getting out of their comfort zone, they do stretch at times and can come into the spotlight (Cain, Mone, and Moroz, 2016). They are like the rubber bands who pop out when required only to go back to their real self. Their ability to stretch and not be rigid is one of their strengths. 

10. Writing

Writing is the most natural and best strength of an introvert. Writing causes them to be free in their mind and being. It’s like a booster to them to write all they think freely and bring out their thoughts uninterrupted and honestly. Writing helps them to think through, refine their plans, generate breakthrough ideas and solutions which otherwise could have been difficult (Kahnweiler, 2013). As Kanhnweiler (2013) emphasizes that writing “pushes the brain to think longer, harder, deeper and more unconventionally than it normally would” which fits the introverts’ personality. 

References

Cain, S., Mone, G. and Moroz, E. (2016). Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. New York: Penguin Books.

Kahnweiler, J.B. (2013). Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

31 Comments

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  1. In this modern age of social media, more and more people are becoming aware of introversion, which in my case, being an introvert and all, means more people are willing to understand that there are people who really need their alone time. More so than others.

    The downside for this, I’ve noticed, is that a lot of people tend to romanticize introversion. Not that I see that in this article. This article does a good job of encouraging introverts, since it seems out in ‘reality’ the majority of people still don’t grasp the struggles of introversion. The romanticizing comes from the fact that a lot of people then think anyone who’s on the internet all the time is an introvert, when that isn’t always the case. It means people will call themselves introverts just because they want to relax at home, or perhaps not go to that party after all. Or that they don’t like people. That’s not introversion. Well, not all of it.

    About this article in particular, I don’t agree that all introverts are realistic. I myself am more realistic than many introverts I’ve met. It’s not a trait of introversion. Being a good listener, perhaps, since it’s true that a lot of introverts are focused inwards, so it makes sense that they would take in the information more often than give any. It depends on the type of person, really. A lot of the points here could be traits of an introvert or an extrovert. Admittedly the stereotype dictates that introverts are good at the things mentioned in the article.

    All in all, a good article to encourage introverts. Though if an introvert doesn’t see themselves sharing a lot of the strengths mentioned in the list, that doesn’t mean you’re not an introvert, nor that these traits are a necessity.

  2. A very positive article! People often tend to focus on the down sides of being an introvert, or they use introvert-ism as a punchline for a joke, however this article highlights the many strengths that introverts posses yet barely gain recognition for because they are private people.
    I particularly like the segment that says introverts know how to prioritize because that is a strength that not a lot of people recognize within introverts, yet makes the most sense. Introverts can be selective of the people the hang out with or the events they attend because of how such encounters can be draining to them. Therefore, introverts develop the keen skill of being selective with the activities they choose to participate in. They learn about who and what is important to them, and so they prioritize those people and those events over others.
    A very uplifting article that gives introverts the appreciation they deserve.

  3. Traditionally, extroverted individuals seem to be more rewarded for their ability to communicate and outspoken-ness. This article will give introverts some validation. I, a rather introverted individual as well, personally appreciates this article very much.

    However, while articles like these will be inspiring and appreciated by introverted individuals, is it possible that introverts start to use them as a self-fulfilling prophecy, or an excuse to be rude to others/to tune out the outside world? It is very convenient to quote ‘Sorry, I’m just an introvert’ to turn down parties, or to justify rude and cold behaviour to others. I feel that readers should be cautious to not allow such words to be too strong a reinforcement for certain behaviours.

    This article by the new york times was what triggered this thought! I thought it would be a good read for others 🙂 https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/opinion/sunday/am-i-introverted-or-just-rude.html?_r=0

  4. Thank you for appreciating the strengths of being an introvert. I believe everyone has their own strengths and they should be celebrated like this. But I was wondering if there were ways for introverts to project their positives out. I think the reason for feeling not as great as extroverts comes from external forces like interacting with people or getting a job. Is there a way to show how we are good listeners, thoughtful, and talented in our in ways. But, overall great article! As an introvert, this did make me feel proud of my qualities.

    • Thank you for your comment Janet. Yes, there are ways for introverts to project their positives. Perhaps I can write on that in my next article. Yes external forces influences the way how an introvert thinks. But our confidence can help us to break mental barriers and come out at crucial times. You have given another title for how introverts tend to be good listeners. Because they are thoughtful by nature and also are highly sensitive people, they tend to care for others feelings and emotions and hence turn out to be good listeners.

  5. I really love seeing introverts portrayed in a positive light, since so many portrayals are so negative! We’re always the butt of the joke!! I also really like the use of evidence pulled from the book to help get the point across. Although this might just be what I’m using to read the article, but it does bother me a little how the pictures kind of interrupt sentences and pararaphs. The structuring just seems a little off – without the pictures it would look perfect though! This article doesn’t exactly apply to all introverts – writing, for example, I feel like is more of just a general skill than a relation to your personality type – but nonetheless the way it’s written, and the information, it gives are all done relatively well.

    • Thank you Sophie. I agree that not all introverts are writers, but more are less these are generic introvert qualities, though we may have some exceptions.

  6. Introverts, unite! Almost all of them are true about me except for focusing and priorities, cause those shift because of my depression. Honestly, I think that we should realize are strengths and weaknesses as both extra- and introverts. For example, I have always been better in writing than speaking. Although I improved a lot since elementary school, I found only recently that I can express my words and emotions towards someone much easier through pen and paper and at the same time – reduce stress and/or anxiety. We should use those traits to help us evolve (and take over the world maybe? :))

  7. Go Introverts!! I love that you alluded to real life examples of people that I could relate to (Rowling and Lincoln). I already looked up to them and now, knowing that I have one more thing in common with, just humanized them so much more. But I was wondering, especially nowadays, the line between introvert and extrovert has been blurred so much, so what’s your take on that? Personally, I know many introverts with extrovert qualities and similarly, I know extroverts with introvert qualities. Which personality type do you think prevails and why? And how do some people have such a balance?

    • Hi Zon,
      The people who are a mix of both introvert and extrovert traits are called ambiverts and I think that’s the reason for such balance between personality types. Thank you for your comments.

  8. This was an excellent read! I have a few suggestions regarding spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.

    For each trait, my suggestions are as follows:

    1.First line, spelling – quite > [quiet]

    Word choice, orator – In addressing the public during campaigns and during his time as President, Lincoln was an orator by definition. I suggest to instead use the word gregarious, or sociable to describe the contrast in how extroverts express themselves.

    3. First line, spelling – monolog > [monologue]
    Third sentence suggestion:
    a) “In their quiet time when they think a lot…”
    b) “ Their quiet time, when they think a lot, also serves…”

    Punctuation – use semi-colon after “frustrations”

    4. Third sentence, missing word – “ …helps them to [do] their…”
    Last sentence suggestion:
    a) “ Instead of talking alot, they tend to be more (concise, succinct).”

    5. First sentence, noun choice – quality > [qualities] and strength > [strengths]

    6. Second sentence seems redundant given the statement before it, in the first sentence.
    Suggestion:
    a) “ Since they take the time to prioritize, they tend to not mismanage their responsibilities.”

    7. Third sentence, punctuation – comma after “deep”

    8. First sentence, spelling – quit > [quiet]

    9. Maybe nitpicky, but I’d suggest using the word, “dynamic” instead of the word, “stretch”. Keep the body of the paragraph as is.

    10. Fourth sentence, extra word – omit “to” after “helps”.
    Fourth sentence, word choice – through > (thoroughly)

    I hope you find this helpful!

  9. I totally agree with the ‘writing’ part about introverts! Since young, I’ve always found it hard to express myself freely. And sadly, I never learnt music/dance so these outlets were out. But I had pencil and paper, so I wrote. I would say, it is a blessing and a curse in itself, because at times, you spend too long thinking about something (because you’re so used to taking your time to think) and it frustrates people who are waiting for answers. Am I the only one who has experienced this? I certainly hope not.

    I would like to hear more about ambiverts though, thank you for writing this article anyway! It has provided insights to me.

  10. I cant disagree with these facts ha ha, I love it. Although its counterpart extroverts are the more spot lighted figures in this world, I feel as though introverts secretly are the most searched type. I also feel that this article pinpoints introverts in a new way shedding light on the misconceptions of us introverts so I thank you.

  11. Yes, yes, yes! Of course, none of these traits are exclusive to introverts, but I do believe introverts do tend to portray artistic, empathetic characteristics like these! Though I may be a bit biased, haha.

    I agree with a lot of these: I think introverts are usually more “in their heads,” daydreaming and fantasizing and planning. Listening is definitely an obvious one, which leads to a nice amount of sympathy / empathy and advice-giving, in my experience. I also find that introverts often put others first, but, again, I’m mainly speaking from my personal experience and therefore am very biased!

    I will admit that I don’t agree with the “role model” trait, as I find not many introverts are looked up to but rather overlooked, unless they are being considered a role model by a fellow introvert, ha.

  12. Being an introvert, I can say that I have these 10 traits. Thank you! Psych2go for this very interesting article.

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