How to Be a Productive Introvert in a World That Loves Extroverts

5 proven tips from the bestselling author and TED Talk extraordinaire

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Modern society seems to be obsessed with extroverts. People say that we need to be loud and proud and shout it from the rooftops. But to show your power and command respect, you don’t always have to be in other people’s faces.

If you’re a natural introvert, there may be times when you feel forced to act out of character to be taken seriously and to ensure productivity remains at the top of your list. In this case, Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts is the ideal companion for anyone who often feels like they have to act in an extroverted way when they’re far more on the introverted side of the scale. And in this article, we’ll explore this book’s insights on the pros of being an introvert and how to use them to your benefit. So keep on reading!

Are introverts less able and less likely to succeed?

Far from it. Introverts have the power to be far more effective leaders than extroverts, with creativity and logical thinking just one power they possess. Also, acting in a way that doesn’t come naturally can lead to exhaustion and push away from your natural skills. As a result, you’re far less effective than if you embraced your introverted nature and learned how to make the most of it.

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas”

Susan Cain

For instance, feeling that you need to be more vocal when dealing with people one on one means that you can’t use your natural empathy to its highest degree. Being forced to work in a loud and highly collaborative environment means that you don’t get the solitude you need to focus on a task and unpick it. It often makes people analyze and come up creatively with new solutions to the problem at hand. This means you make more mistakes, miss things, and are generally less productive.

Sure, extroverts might be more “fashionable” these days, but sometimes going against fashion can be more fun!

Top 5 traits of an introvert and why they are useful in life

If you need a little more food for thought, let’s look at the top 5 traits of an introvert and explain why they’re so useful in life.

1. Creativity

Introverts are highly creative, as they like to think deeply and look at different ways to approach a problem or solve it. It helps you think outside the box and develop solutions or ideas that are more likely to succeed.

2. Empathy

Introverts are naturally empathic people and understand how someone feels from their body language and how they carry themselves. It is the perfect skill for a leader in the workplace and someone who can relate to team members personally.

3. Analytical skills

Working hand in hand with creativity, introverts like to spend time unpicking a problem and analyzing everything logically. It means a higher quality of work and less chance of making mistakes.

4. Good listener

The fact that introverts don’t feel the need to fill every silence with chatter means they can really listen to what someone says. Listening isn’t always about hearing words. Instead, it’s about analyzing body language and the words to understand what is going on. For a leader and team member, this is an efficient skill.

5. The ability to see the bigger picture

While an extrovert might rush into solving a problem, an introvert is more likely to consider the consequences of a decision. They may be slower to make a final choice, but they carefully plan what to choose and, therefore, are less likely to fail.

“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured”

Susan Cain

Throughout the book, Susan Cain highlights why these traits benefit productivity, self-esteem, and general decision-making in everyday life. Extroverts might get more column inches, but that doesn’t mean they’re more effective!

Understanding this point allows you to embrace your natural identity and work with it rather than against it. Learn to love who you are, and your confidence and self-esteem will soar in return. Life isn’t about trying to be someone you’re not, or about trying to fit in with the crowd. Attempting to do so has consequences on your entire life, productivity included.

Instead, learning to embrace your natural skills and personality will allow you to take your strengths and work on increasing their power.

5 ways to find optimum conditions to be yourself

We’ve talked about how you need to embrace who you are, but you need the right conditions to do so. So, what situations will make it easier for you to learn to love your introverted nature?

1. Seek out regular time alone

Introverts need solitude to recover from the fast-paced and loud lives we all live. Doing this will allow you to focus on your strengths and perform to the best of your ability. So, schedule in a little “me” time and never cancel it. While working, look for quieter environments, such as quiet zones, booths, and desks with screens around you. How about a full day of total “me” time every week? Perhaps on a Saturday and spend time doing the things you want to do alone. Head out for a coffee, go and see a movie, visit the spa, chill at home — do whatever you want to do without feeling the need to include others.

2. Learn to say “no”

Never be afraid to say “no” to something you can’t do. Introverts tend to feel that saying “no” is bad, but it’s right from time to time! It allows you to manage your time more effectively without overloading yourself and causing you to feel stressed out. For instance, if your friends call you and ask you to go out for coffee, but you want to chill out and recharge your batteries, don’t be afraid to say “no.” You can see them another time!

3. Use your natural creativity

It’s easy to feel like you need to use your logical brain more often. Yet it’s important to remember to embrace your innate creativity too and use it regularly. Look for creative solutions to problems, and don’t be afraid to suggest them, even if you think someone will laugh. Remember, people only make fun of things they don’t understand!

4. Focus on your health and well-being

To maintain your calm and emphatic nature, you need to look after yourself first to be a fantastic leader and friend. Make sure you get plenty of exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. It will allow you to remain productive and healthy at the same time.

5. Cultivate a positive mindset

It can be easy for an introvert to be dragged down by the demands of life, especially if you’re trying to work against your innate nature. Maintain a positive mindset as much as possible, perhaps using positive affirmations to help you.

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race”

Susan Cain

It never works when you are trying to be something you’re not. Feeling ashamed to be who you are because society wants you to be something different will lead to low self-esteem and a lack of general productivity.

The answer? Learn to appreciate your introverted nature and understand why sometimes being a little quieter is a better option than shouting from the rooftops! Throughout “Quiet: The Power of Introverts,” Susan Cain helps introverts feel in control of their personality. She highlights why the traits associated with introversion are far more beneficial than we’re lead to believe.

At the end of the day, do you want to live your life being someone you’re not? It’s like trying to force a square peg into a round hole — it just doesn’t work, and eventually, it chips away at the edges, causing damage. So look after yourself by being yourself, no matter what society says.

How to get the most of your productivity as an introvert?

As you’ve just read only the snippets from the Quiet: The Power of Introverts, this title still has more precious advice to offer. How to learn all its key ideas fast and efficiently then? We believe the best way is to read or listen to its 19-minute summary on the Headway app. This way, you’ll find out all secrets for introverts in as little time as possible.

Moreover, since Headway is a bite-sized learning app for fun and easy growth, it provides many tools for becoming a better you. Visual explainers, daily insights, challenges, summaries, daily new releases — all that and more is waiting for you on the app to make a first step towards elevating your life. So try Headway today and start your personalized growth!