Throughout Marvel and DC comics, a whole bunch of superheroes have been portrayed as having an introverted personality, with Batman, Spider-Man and Wolverine topping the list. Batman, for instance, works alone because he’s a genius and hiding from the world helps him think. Introverts are the new super heroes in fiction and in real life.
According to some, an introvert is more likely to succeed than a person with an extroverted personality. Introverts spend a lot more time listening than talking. They collect many ideas and implement the best ones in their work. They also tend to be more sensitive of others’ feelings, which makes it easier to approach them and get things sorted.
Some modern-day introverts who became huge successes
- Elon Musk
The founder of Tesla, SpaceX, Hyperloop and PayPal among many others, Elon Musk went from being a timid engineer to an inventor and business magnate who ranks among the world’s top 100 richest people. Musk had to put a lot of effort into not stammering when he went up on stage, but his hard work has definitely paid off, and he’s spearheading the upcoming age of the electric vehicle.
- J.K. RowlingHarry Potter creator J.K. Rowling may be among the world’s most popular children’s authors, but she has always been a shy bookworm herself. In fact, when she came up with the idea for Harry Potter in a train from Manchester to London, she didn’t have a pen and was too nervous to ask anyone for one.
- Michael JordanThe gigantic 6’6” figure of Michael Jordan may be intimidating for some, but not many know that he has a rather introverted personality offscreen. Despite failing over and over again, Jordan remained steady and determined, polishing his skills to become one of the most famous basketball players of all time. After retirement, he has hidden himself well from the public eye, rarely giving interviews or coming on talk shows. As a side note, NBA player Kobe Bryant is also an introvert, and his unwillingness to talk has often been misinterpreted as arrogance.
- Larry PageGoogle Co-Founder Larry Page doesn’t speak much in public or to the press – so many saw him as an odd choice to be CEO in 2011. Though Page wasn’t an outspoken ‘strongman’ CEO, he had a tendency to surround himself with extroverts. He listened to them for advice, then went ahead with what he felt worked best.
- Mark ZuckerbergZuckerberg was described as “shy and introverted” by COO Sheryl Sandberg. This is ironic considering that he’s running a social network with over a billion users. Zuckerberg has overcome this by building a unique persona around his introversion. Like Larry Page, he keeps company with other team leaders who augment and enhance his leadership skills.
As we can see, introversion is certainly not a handicap when it comes to success and management skills at even the highest levels.
Tips for introverts to succeed more easily:
- Before attending meetings, prepare yourself as much as possible. It will prevent you from going blank or getting confused when surrounded by people.
- Take regular breaks, every couple of hours or so. It will calm you down and help cope in an environment flooded with extraversion.
- Know it’s okay to ask for help, even if you’re in a senior leadership position.
- Find out what overstimulates (irritates) you, and try to figure out a workaround. Eg. if excessive noise and loud voices in the background are annoying you, get yourself a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
- Get someone with an extroverted personality to explain how they go about engaging with other people. Use this to develop your own communication strategy that takes up less energy, but also doesn’t come off as rude.
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