Dear Strategic Introvert:
I am writing to you to thank you for positively influencing my life. I know this may sound strange coming from me, but you served as a role model throughout my formative years.
I couldn’t tell you this back then. I guess some of my admiration for you carried a bit of jealousy.
There weren’t a lot of strategic introverts in my community growing up. Well, there were some, but they tended to stay to themselves. They seemed to live within their imagination as they plotted and planned their future.
They were always participating in important stuff like the Model United Nations Club and the school newspaper.
Often, I gave you small glimpses of what I thought my future would look like, but my vision was always murky.
Not for you, though. You seemed always to have had your life all mapped out.
I don’t know what inspired me to write this letter, but I seem to be reflecting more about my life these days.
You always asked the most penetrating and profound questions as we were growing up.
I remember you once asked me, “What did it feel like to be voted Mr. Popular?”
I think I said something like, “I don’t know…I don’t think about it.”
But you wouldn’t stop asking the same question several different ways.
Finally, I said, “It feels like having power and respect from people actually listening to what I have to say.”
This explanation seemed to hit you in an emotionally profound way. Your eyes rolled up towards the sky as if to say, “I wonder what’s that like?”
It’s funny because my friends and I talked about you and your friends a lot in secrecy.
Nothing bad. We marveled at how smart you all were.
I remember walking past a group of you all one day and overheard you all debating about the pros and cons of existentialism versus nihilism. I didn’t even know what those words meant but copied them down to look up later (I had to sound the words out since I didn’t know how to spell them).
You all were so focused and enthralled in the debate that you didn’t even notice me watching.
I felt like you all were like a group of grown-ups talking about the state of the world.
And we were still in high school.
As I write this letter, that day is vividly clear in my mind. I said to myself as I walked down the hall, “I will never be that smart or insightful about the things that matter.”
You all seemed so serious and responsible at such a young age.
I am glad I never had to compete against you intellectually.
Anyway, after college, I took a job in marketing, where I have been for the last 17 years.
I like the people I work with. They are a bunch of extroverts fighting to share their ideas for new product launches.
I am up for a management position.
By the way, did you ever become a lawyer?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you have your own law firm. You had that kind of drive, discipline, and determination.
As I close, I want to thank you again for being a guiding light in my life. People are always saying that there are no more leaders and role models in the world.
I beg to differ. Leaders and role models are all around us.
They may not be celebrities, but they are there. And in many respects, more important.
Well, you are more important than any celebrity I have admired.
Thank you so much for being my friend, and if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have become the person I am.
Thanks a million.
Your Friend Forever,
PS: If you are ever in town, let’s catch up. Lunch is on me.