I think introverts have a pretty substantial advantage over all their non-introverted friends. Why is this? The reasons couldn't be any more straight-forward:
- Introverts spend a certain amount of time every day alone, all to themselves, free from the world's largest interruption — people. Introverts can be often found in quiet homes, parks and libraries. And because they have this chunk of time everyday with minimal distraction, they get a lot of work done.
- Introverts talk far less than most other people. It is perfectly okay for two introverts to go for a walk and not talk all that much, just as it is perfectly okay for two introverts to be alone in a room and not talk at all. Speech is a very computationally expensive task. Thus, minimal talking frees up their mind to think about other interesting issues.
- Introverts lead a much more simpler life. This simplicity helps them concentrate on what is most important to them.
- Introverts are seldom swayed by the whims of society. They can therefore run their lives the way they want without being bogged down by social conditioning. To them, staying home on a Friday evening is about as normal as brushing their teeth each morning.
- Introverts don't like "hanging out". This saves them significant amount of time each day. Even if they forced themselves to do something as unintellectual as that, they would tire out quickly and would want to go back home to "recharge" themselves. This saves them a ton of time every day to be better utilized for other productive activities, such as thinking.
- Since introverts have so much lone time, they often busy themselves by reading. And anyone who reads that much can learn much more than their fellow non-introverted peers about any topic they choose.
- Introverts hate sitting idle. So if they're not reading, or arguing their point with other introverts, or running away from non-introverts, they spend their time thinking. Thinking to them is like preemptively arming themselves with ammo preparing for the next heated debate or argument.
- Introverts are self-absorbed about themselves. Their egos are their fuel. Hence, they don't need to find motivation extrinsically. If you possess this advantage, you should consider yourself enormously fortunate because most people fail to achieve their true potential solely due to a lack of motivation.
- Introverts think heavily before they speak. Their brains are always working, constantly processing, forming conclusions, and seeding other ideas. And since they seldom talk, they don't find it cumbersome to think before they speak as they have to do it so rarely.
- Introverts have laser-sharp focus. They have this tremendous ability to concentrate deeply and focus their attention to a single problem or issue for an extended period of time without getting distracted.
- Introverts are more objective in their decision-making which allows them to run their lives more pragmatically and intuitively.
- Introverts don't ask for favors and help unless they absolutely have to. This makes them really good at looking out for themselves and self-servicing themselves.
- Introverts usually don't have boyfriends or girlfriends because their fellow non-introverted competitors are always taking all the boys/girls they like. I generalize heavily here even though there are some well-noted exceptions to this advantage. Introverted guys try to find a nice, simple, and attractive girl willing to have a quiet, compassionate, and loving relationship, instead of an overly aggrandized girl who wants to go shopping all day and party all night.
- Introverts process information differently from other people. And since they are a minority, they can use this advantage to solve problems most other people can't. Your problem solving skills are largely dependent on the way you process information.
Now, let us not confuse introverts with social recluses. Introverts can be very social given the right circumstances, or simply alcohol. People often mistake the laconic nature of introverts as shyness. Some of the most effective Presidents of the United States and Prime Ministers of India have been staunch introverts. Unfortunately, I don't know enough social recluses to make a sufficiently knowledgeable comment about them.
You know if I had a kid today and I found out 5 years later he/she wasn't an introvert, I'd be kinda bummed out. I'd somehow feel like I'd been short-changed by god. But at least I'd have an interesting challenge in front of me. The challenge would be: how do I raise a non-introverted kid and turn him/her into someone who would be able to compete on a level field with other introverts?
So what do we take away from here? If you're a fellow non-introvert, or even a confused middle-man unsure of your own introvertedness like I am, I think exercising caution is the only way out. Because one day the introverts will strike, and when they do, they will strike hard. Because I know that when it comes to solving problems that require conscious and concentrated thought, the introverts will kick my sorry non-introverted ass any time of the day. They only lie low right now because they are a minority in our population comprising of overly enthusiastic/extroverted people.
To all the introverts in the world, I bow down to thee. I have tremendous and unabated respect for you.
You know who you are. Amen.
This post was influenced heavily by an article in The Atlantic called Caring for your Introvert. Apologies for any overlap in opinion.