What impact does inward projection have on how the world perceives you as an introvert?
Do you carry the same influence, power, and respect as extroverts? If not, how can you use your introversion to become a force to be reckoned with?
I once read, “You don’t get out of life what you deserve; you get out of life what you command.”
The inner city of New Haven, Connecticut, where I was reared, did not cultivate the dreams and aspirations of a bookworm who excelled at football and track. The things I did were not fashionable.
In that environment, things like journaling, investigating paranormal psychology, and rock collecting were not ideal. Today, people like author Malcolm Gladwell, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are rock stars, where once they would have been pejorative “Geeks.”
Now, more than ever, introverts can gain the power and influence they always desired.
I once asked a friend named Scheri, “What kind of guy was I in high school?” Scheri was an introvert who wore oversized glasses and high-water pants (pants so short that you could see the top of her socks when she walked).
Scheri said I was the kind of kid who could fit in any crowd. I could fit in with the high achievers and the cool kids. Interesting! I envisioned myself as a slightly cool nerd. I didn’t see myself that way.
I created my style and wore the Michael Jackson “Beat It” jacket years before he did. So, why didn’t I feel comfortable within any one group? Why did I always feel like a lone wolf?
And what if you never reach the heights of Gladwell, Gates, or Zuckerberg? How do you go it alone when your only cheerleader is yourself?
I started thinking about my life as a boy versus my life as a mature man. I’ve come to realize that parents and most people fall prey to the intellectual shortcomings of society.
Their intentions aren’t to hurt themselves or us, but such conditioning could short circuit the intellectual acuity of sensitive introverts, particularly INTJs (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judgment).
INTJs are contrarians who seek to ask and explore questions most people rarely consider. These deliberate, overly curious, and ambitious people represent 2% of the population, as characterized by the Myers-Briggs classification.
The website 16 Personalities suggests that people with the INTJ personality type are intellectual and develop a world inside their heads that is more perfect than reality. Based on several personality tests, I am an INTJ.
Famous INTJs include: Elon Musk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michelle Obama, Colin Powell, Vladimir Putin, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. INTJs possess a great deal of self-confidence comparable to none.
Previous experiences dictate that self-confidence is nothing more than a track record of success perpetuating itself with consistent effort. It is a conscious remembrance and cultivation of your skills and abilities.
Whatever you possess, others value that enhances your self-confidence. It is important to note that introversion has an upside and a downside.
The upside of introversion is the ability to spend large chunks of time introspectively, meditating on various topics.
Introverts have less need for human interaction than extroverts. If the human brain is the central command center for individual creativity and innovation, individuals who can spend a great deal of effort pondering problems and developing solutions have the edge over those without these proclivities.
The downside of introversion is that your love for being alone with your thoughts can affect your interpersonal relationship skills and your ability to communicate ideas with others.
Where extroverts might appreciate the give and take of social interactions, introverts might find such engagements exhausting. Unless you have learned to embrace the uniqueness of being internally motivated, you might begin to believe that your introversion is an albatross around your neck.
You can have the best of both worlds by moving more to the center in exhibiting skills that build self-confidence and fresh insights. You don’t have to resign yourself to obscurity because you can leverage your intellectual power by creating solution-based articles, books, podcasts, and videos.
Becoming a self-directed thought leader is the by-product of your natural inclination towards reading, writing, and solitude.
In a global economy, those that can diagnose problems, analyze best practices, and synthesize solutions become the “go-to” people. This is within the bailiwick of INTJs.
But not so fast!
To truly become a force to be reckoned with, introverts must exhibit a higher degree of boldness. Earlier, I recounted that my high school friend Scheri said I could fit in with any crowd.
What I didn’t say was that I had begun the process of reinvention because I grew tired of being bullied, based on my introversion being seen as a weakness.
It wasn’t until I started building a more significant presence through weight lifting, boxing, and martial arts that people started respecting me. My transformation was physical and philosophical. If the world only admired power and strength, I would exhibit “Silent Courage.”
I recommend having a more substantial presence and never letting people know what you think until you’re ready to reveal it. Your words resonate and have a more significant impact when you speak sparingly. Bestow profound concepts and nuggets on unsuspecting ears.
As they look at you spellbound, remain silent to let it all soak in or merely spoon-feed them your insights. That’s the evolution of power and charisma.
To become a force to be reckoned with requires self-confidence, solution-based intellectual property, and bold action.
With power, stealth, and grit, you will get what you deserve in life and what you command.
Edward Brown, M.S., is a director and applied researcher for the American Academy of Advanced Thinking (AAAT) and the inventor of the IBAR Critical Thinking Method.
Ed has trained attorneys and corporate managers throughout the southeast on developing effective leadership, decision-making, problem-solving, and advanced thinking skills.
He has advanced legal training from the University of Dayton School of Law and a master’s degree from Mercer University in Leadership Development.