- Introversion: definition
- Meaningful relationships
- Analytical skills
- More time/energy
- Career advantages
- Thinking deeply
- More privacy
In a society that glorifies extroversion, those who are quiet may wonder whether their personality type is something they are supposed to fix.
If the only way to get to the top is to engage with others, be a leader, and have exceptional interpersonal skills, how can any introvert succeed? If the key to happiness is having many friends, and being around people all the time, are introverts doomed to be miserable?
The thing is, you don’t need to be an extrovert to be successful and live a fulfilling life. That’s just the stereotype. In reality, your personality type does not determine your level of happiness, or how far you will get in life.
So many introverts become insecure because they believe their personality type is some kind of mental health issue. They think they’re too reserved, too quiet, or whatever, and lose faith in themselves.
And while there is such a thing as being too shy, or finding it difficult to interact with others (for example, if you suffer from social phobia), that doesn’t equal being an introvert. Let’s have a look at the correct definition of introversion according to psychology.
What is introversion, exactly?
The common definition of an introvert is someone who is quiet and reserved, and finds it overwhelming to interact with strangers for long periods of time.
While often that is the case, a more accurate definition would be that an introverted person is someone who tends to focus their psychic energy toward the inner world rather than the external world.
The term introversion was first introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung. He believed that while extroverts tend to direct their energy, focus, and attention toward the external world, those who are introverts prioritize their inner images, ideas, and intuition.
Typically, when an extrovert looks at an object (anything that belongs to the outer world), he or she will see the object “as it is”, and form an idea solely based on what they see.
Conversely, the introvert will first look at the object, then pay attention to their inner emotions and feelings, and only then form an idea of the object (based on what they see and think). Of course, this is a subconscious process — most of the time we won’t be aware of it.
While there is a clear difference between the two personality types, Jung made it clear that there isn’t such a thing as complete introversion or extroversion. You could say that someone is predominantly an introvert — because their personality and attitude is directed toward their inner world most of the time, or in most situations — however we all have a part of us that’s introverted, and one that’s extroverted.
So, again, one’s personality type is based on who they are and how they behave most of the time.
Now that we’ve looked at the definition, let’s find out what the 12 benefits of being an introvert are. Of course, there’s more, but these are, in my opinion, the most important.
Let’s start with creativity.
1. Introverts are creative
As we’ve seen, extroverts tend to see and accept the external world as it is. Usually, there’s no need for them to judge an object based on their own emotions. This makes the process of observation a lot easier and faster.
Introverts, on the other hand, tend to see the world through their own lenses. While this implies a longer, more thorough, more complicated thought process, it also favors creativity.
This is particularly true for the intuitive introvert. Through the power of intuition, he or she is able to create art that is truly original and innovative. In exceptional cases, their art will be ahead of their time, and difficult to understand for most people.
Besides intuition, introverts tend to be creative because of their rich inner world. They also love to spend time on their own, working on their own creative projects, so naturally they will have an advantage over those who are on the extroverted side.
Some of the greatest artists in history, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Vincent van Gogh, were introverts.
2. Introverts have meaningful relationships
As I wrote earlier, there is a common misconception about social life: many people think that in order to live a fulfilling life, we all need to have a lot of friends, and the more people we interact with, the happier we’ll be.
This may be true for some people, but it’s not a general rule. Typically, introverts prefer to interact with only a few like-minded people they can fully trust. When it comes to socializing, they focus on quality rather than quantity, and that’s what makes them happy.
We all have a limited amount of time and energy, so for those who are looking for meaningful, long lasting friendships and relationships, having too many friends could actually be a disadvantage.
It all depends on what you want, and what you feel is right for you. There’s no rules when it comes to happiness: although humans are social beings, and we all need to interact with others, there’s absolutely no need to make friends with everyone.
Introverts prefer to spend their time with a small circle of people, and that allows them to develop better, more fulfilling connections.
3. Introverts have excellent analytical skills
Introverts tend to be slower, especially when it comes to their thoughts. While sometimes this leads to indecisiveness, or overthinking, it can be a powerful asset when it comes to analytical skills.
Introverts are contemplative: they like to take their time and look at things, discover their purpose, their features.
Interestingly enough, some extroverts mistake the introvert’s thoughtfulness as stupidity. They don’t understand how someone could think for so long, without coming to any evident conclusion.
The truth is that the introverted mind excels at thinking deeply. So when it comes to solving complex problems, introverts may be able to come up with solutions that are just brilliant. When it comes to research and innovation, they find it easier to discover new interesting possibilities.
Does this mean extroverts are less intelligent? Obviously, it doesn’t. It simply means that each personality type has a different way to interact with the external world, thus a different way to think.
4. Introverts have more time and energy
It’s well known that introverts need to spend time on their own to fully recharge and regenerate their mind. If they’re constantly surrounded by other people, especially strangers, they’ll be exhausted and unable to concentrate.
But besides this, I’ve found that introverts tend to be smarter when it comes to managing their resources in general (whether that’s time, energy, or even money).
Because extroverts get energized by external stimuli, sometimes this leads them to waste their resources without realizing it. By constantly chasing new people and new objects, they may lose perspective, and fail to identify what’s truly worth their time and energy. While introverts may have the opposite problem (“missing out on life”, or not doing enough), they do have the ability to assess where to invest their resources.
5. Introverts are polite
The introvert’s calm and reserved attitude can be a blessing to those who interact with them. They’re quiet, and don’t like to speak unless they are supposed to; when they do speak, they choose their words carefully.
If you’re predominantly an introvert, chances are you are also very polite. You are aware of other people’s needs, and you’re a good listener. While occasionally you may come off as aloof, or even arrogant, most of the time people will appreciate this trait, and see you as someone they can trust.
There’s nothing wrong with being talkative, however talking too much can definitely be annoying. This almost never happens with introverts because they like to think before they speak (sometimes to the point where they’ll get lost in their own thoughts, and won’t say a single word about them).
6. Introverts are independent
Though no one can be completely self-sufficient, and we all need others to function, introverts tend to be very independent, which can be great.
Because of their attitude, introverts have learned to enjoy their free time even when they’re alone. They’ve learned to be happy regardless of what society thinks of them. They know they can get through the toughest times even when nobody supports or encourages them.
When we belong to a group, it’s easy to feel safe and have positive thoughts, so sometimes being alone is what truly tests our inner strength.
If you are an introvert, you still need to interact with others, however you don’t necessarily rely on them. You know that ultimately you are responsible for your physical health and mental health, goals and dreams, career and finances. Though being self-sufficient can be difficult, introverts tend to make it a priority, and this makes them grow and evolve.
7. Introverts are necessary
All personality types are needed. Each personality type has advantages and disadvantages. If you learn to discover your talent, skills, and natural strengths, and focus on those (rather than the things you aren’t particularly good at), you’ll be able to excel at what you do, and contribute to society and make a difference.
The world needs both people who are very logical/rational and those with great intuitive skills; both charismatic leaders and loyal followers; both inventors and builders; both mathematicians and artists; both risk takers and risk avoiders; and — you guessed it — both extroverts and introverts.
And a lot of jobs and career paths are actually ideal for introverts. For example, someone who finds it easy to work on the computer, on their own and for long periods of time, could be an excellent web designer, web developer, writer, translator, or marketer. An extrovert, on the other hand, could find the same jobs boring, and choose a career path that’s more suitable to his character.
Again, all personality types are equally important. Never assume that extroverts are better or more useful than introverts (or vice versa). Learn what your strengths are, and how those strengths can make you money and improve other people’s lives.
8. Introverts are deep thinkers
According to some studies, the brain of those who are predominantly introverted processes information slowly, but deeply. In other words, it takes longer for introverts to analyze a particular subject, but they’re also more thorough.
In some disciplines, such as philosophy, it’s often necessary to spend a lot of time studying and thinking, so you are able to develop new concepts and ideas.
Because introverts think slowly, and are able to look at the external world both objectively and subjectively (that is, pay attention to what’s tangible, but also their feelings and emotions), this makes them great philosophers, sociologists, or psychologists.
Plus, they find it easier to study, read books, and learn new things. So when they are not able to solve complex problems on their own, they are happy to put in the time and research.
9. Introverts think before they act
The main reason for this is that (as we’ve just seen) they think slowly.
There is such a thing as thinking too much, but in general, it’s worth to wait a little bit more, even if just for a second, before you act. Impulsivity can easily lead to anger, unnecessary arguments, poor decisions, and excessive risk taking.
The introvert’s calmness and ability to think allows them to stay out of trouble, and live a more balanced life. Sometimes failure is inevitable, however those who think before they act tend to make fewer mistakes. They may seem indecisive, but most of the time they’re simply being wiser.
10. Introverts can be minimalists
Most extroverts love objects. They keep collecting stuff that is beautiful and colorful, because that makes them happy. They can’t wait to buy the latest product, use it, and tell all their friends about it.
Conversely, introverts are more focused on their inner world, and typically don’t feel the need to accumulate stuff. This could mean less fun (at least from the extrovert’s point of view), but more freedom.
The minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an introvert, chances are you’ll find it ideal. When you own too many things, those things may end up owning you, especially if you’re a highly sensitive person.
Those who are quiet, calm, and reserved can find external stimuli overwhelming, so naturally they prefer minimalist environments. Much like crowded places, cluttered or messy rooms can make it difficult for introverts to relax and be themselves.
11. Introverts are clear on what they want
Too many people have goals that aren’t their own. They think they want something, but in reality that’s simply what society tells them to desire.
When it comes to finding your purpose in life, you don’t always want to be influenced by social media, other people’s opinions, or what you’re supposed to do. You need to focus and find out what you want to do.
Because introverts tend to be independent, they are usually very clear on their life goals. Introverts realize that their path in life isn’t necessarily that of everyone else. So before they listen to others’ advice, they tune in to their inner feelings, emotions, and intuition. Their values and ideas are more important than those of society, so when they dream big, they’re unstoppable.
12. Introverts have more privacy
Do you value privacy? Introverts certainly do. As we all become more comfortable sharing our ideas, pictures/videos, and personal data (especially online), we need to be careful in doing so: once we share something with the world, we won’t be able to go back, even if we change our mind.
Reserved people understand that while being open about their life can be a wonderful thing, sometimes you need to think twice before you share something — even with the people you love. Some of the things we experience in our life are private, and there’s nothing wrong about it.
Some are happy to share their life on social media 24/7, and some are so secretive they are a total enigma for those around them. What’s important is that you choose what to share with others, and if you’re an introvert, you probably find it easy.
Benefits of being an introvert: summary
Too many introverts think their personality type is wrong, and only focus on their negative traits — what they can’t do, or don’t like doing.
The truth is that those who direct their energy toward the inner world can have many advantages when it comes to work, health, relationships, and life in general. If you’re an introvert, you can excel at many things:
- You can be extremely creative and original
- You tend to focus on few, meaningful relationships
- You probably have excellent analytical skills
- You find it easy to manage your time and energy
- You are calm and polite
- You are likely to be independent and self-sufficient
- You are necessary to society, just like extroverts are
- You can be a deep thinker
- You always think before you act: you’re not impulsive
- You probably focus on quality rather than quantity
- You are clear on what you want and your purpose in life
- And finally, you have more privacy than the average person
Remember: your personality type does not determine your level of happiness, or how far you will get in life. You are unique for a reason — focus on your strengths and nourish them, and you’ll be unstoppable.