Motivational stories are crucial to understanding and replicating success in all aspects of life, and reading them can be particularly helpful when you are an introvert.
Can an introvert reach success in an extroverted world?
In almost every type of social setting, extroverts are popular, whereas introverts are usually relegated to the background. But the prejudices against introverts are not a new or recent problem.
In fact, for more than 30 years, the American Psychiatric Association has considered introversion a disorder. They judged that introversion inhibited the individual’s ability to integrate into society and succeed in our increasingly competitive world. However, motivational success stories of famous introverts remind us what the truth is.
Yet, when it comes to creativity, extraversion is not always an asset. Nikola Tesla believed that the tasks that we usually associate with creativity are in the realm of loneliness and introversion: to observe, reflect, meditate, write, draw, search, project.
“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
― Nikola Tesla.
In fact, both introverts and extroverts have their place when it comes to creativity.
Some people who are trying to solve a problem will prefer direct sensory contact and will rely on their feelings and emotions. This will be the field of choice for extroverts who need to be in direct contact with their environment and other people. But what about introverts?
Innovators Are Often Introverts
Innovators are often introverts with an original, individualistic, insightful personality. They prefer ideas to sensations and Susan Cain, in her book ‘Quiet: The Power Introverts In A World That Cannot Stop Talking‘, reaffirms the fact that introversion is often considered as an illness and that it must be treated.
She recalls that the present society is arranged for and suited for the extroverts. Whether it’s workplaces or schools, everything is done to encourage group work in open spaces. Cain points out that 70% of American workers occupy open spaces. From 1970 to 2000, in the United States, the average area of the workspace decreased dramatically from 500 square feet (46 m 2) to 200 square feet (19 m 2).
Some of the natural reflexes attributed to introverts are not unfounded since we have seen enough motivational success stories. For example, wanting to isolate oneself for silence and working more effectively is just neurological. A study conducted by UK researchers on 38,000 knowledge workers shows that excessive stimulation is a drag and negatively affects performance.
The simple fact of being interrupted in the execution of a task is one of the main barriers to productivity and increases the risk of errors by 50%. In addition, after an interruption, the return to the initial task, whether it is writing a report or computer coding, requires about fifteen minutes.
Solitude, something regularly sought out by introverts, promotes the acquisition of new knowledge. A simple walk in a natural environment, a forest or a park, for example, soothes the brain and results in easier learning.
Here are some motivational success stories that demonstrate the power of introverts.
The introverted leadership qualities of the 16th US President have often been studied by researchers and educators for their “geekiness, dignity and calm”.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told the New York Times in 2010, Zuckerberg, the founder, and CEO of the social network, is shy and introverted and often does not seem very friendly to people who do not know Zuckerberg well.
She added, “He really cares about the people who work here.” To this day, no one on earth shares a motivational success story similar to the FB founder’s.
Sir Isaac Newton
One of the key figures of science, Newton discovered the very laws of motion as well as universal gravitation. Newton was actually recognized for being a deeply introspective character who strictly desired and protected his privacy.
Albert Einstein is among the revered and respected physicists in the world. He has frequently been quoted as saying, the solitude and monotony of a true quiet life stimulate the creative mind. Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 and is best known for the theory of relativity.
Warren Buffett is known as the Omaha oracle and is considered one of the most successful introverts and business people in the world. Buffett said he initially had the “intellect for the business” but felt he had to sign up for Dale Carnegie’s seminar course, “How to Influence People“.
Michael Jordan is one of the best basketball players of all time. He is also one of the best-introverted athletes. He set so many records in basketball that are said to be impossible to beat by anyone ever again.
Orwell is known as one of the most influential writers in history. He wrote the critically successful novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Not only did he write novels, but he was also a journalist and very politically outspoken.
Orwell was known to be very private, had only a few friends and felt extremely uncomfortable in crowds. In fact, many of his encounters with people are said to have been awkward and forced.
Introverts are thrilled to add value to their team and to play discrete conductors. Since they do not seek glory, they don’t pull the blanket from under others.
Another point that adds to the above motivational success stories and advantage of introverts is that they trust their teams more than extroverted managers. In short, they have no equal to rely on and delegate and are extremely reliable.
- Susan Cain, ‘Quiet: The Power Introverts In A World That Cannot Stop Talking‘
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