Contrary to popular belief, some introverts desire as much attention as extroverts.
It is misleading to believe that all introverts operate the same way for the same reasons.
The age-old struggle of nature versus nurture must be addressed as it relates to how personality types interact with their environment.
Recognizing how certain personality types interact with their environment is far more intriguing than pitting personalities against each other.
Would you go to a boxing match where two “no-name” fighters compete, which lacks intellectual vigor? Or would you rather watch a movie where the hero has an inventive idea that promises to disrupt an established industry, and the good guy must discover a way to win?
I choose the latter because it is far more informative in providing the tools for navigating a competitive and complex world.
I recently watched a documentary on Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame. Musk had two challenges that would shape his drive and motivation throughout life—bullying by other children at an early age and a contentious relationship with his engineer father.
The real-life “Iron Man” has a knack for introducing new and innovative ideas theatrically.
As an introvert, does Musk desire attention or fame?
I would suggest that he has a compelling drive to see his far-reaching ideas come to fruition and disprove the doomsday predictions of adversaries.
For those introverts who crave attention due to early experiences of contempt and rejection, fame is a natural desire for empowerment.
However, introverts that follow the introvert archetype don’t necessarily desire attention; they merely want recognition for their contributions as a conduit for positively impacting the world.
The desire for introverts to be publicly acclaimed for their brilliance through problem-solving initiatives is not exclusive to extroverts.
Rong Wang, a musician, and audio engineer responded to the Quora forum question “Do introverts secretly like getting attention?” by saying:
It truly depends upon what kind of attention it is. Do we secretly want to get up on a stage and speak to a crowd? Not really, no. Do we want that beautiful person we have admired and studied from afar to see us and happily give us their undivided attention for just a few moments? Absolutely.
Would we like to be recognized in print for innovating some technique that facilitated our completing some herculean tasks in record time and with minimal effort or cost? Yes, we would. Do we want to be interviewed live on TV or the web about it? Not really, no.
The Quora responses to introverts liking attention ran from severe repulsion to acceptability by respected leaders.
Interestingly enough, these introverted respondents were not in their bedrooms writing their private thoughts in a journal but sharing insights to millions of Quora visitors.
The takeaway is that seeking some form of acclaim, admiration, or recognition is a human desire.
Introvert Intellectual Needs and Preferences
It is well established that introverts enjoy solitude to reflect and replenish their energy.
What isn’t discussed often enough is the aspirations of enlightened introverts who wish to make significant contributions within the field of ideas that germinate in isolation.
In other words, the field of ideas is nirvana or paradise for these introverts.
The joy of seeing mere ideas come to life is what introverts live for.
And although they don’t need the pomp and circumstance that comes with outstanding accomplishments, they do want their names attached to their achievements.
In software development, for every introvert who desires innovation to be open-sourced, another introvert wants it to be proprietary.
Many assume that software developers are altruistic introverts who want to add value to the world with little to no recognition and no financial gain.
Such a perspective disavows the importance of the environment again.
Suppose an introvert grew up in a more affluent household where philanthropy was preached and practiced. In that case, open-source software might be favored because it is copyright free and has unlimited opportunities for usage.
However, in an environment where education was valued but limited financial resources were available, less affluent introverts would see education and ideas as a pipeline to economic prosperity.
Anecdotally, lesser affluent introverts might favor proprietary software and innovation because it reduces insecurity and the crushing blows of poverty.
The will to overcome the throes of poverty is an equal opportunity provider for introverts and extroverts alike.
Pundits and researchers would do well by developing information that delves deeper into the hypersensitivity of introverts and their relationship with their environment.
Discovering new vistas on how introverts maneuver in a power-driven world with only their drive, intellect, and wit as resources are the breakthrough opportunities for the future.
Social media experts suggest that attention is the new currency. For introverts, the attention is not for themselves but their creations.
As social media users grow sadder and more insecure about their lives not stacking up to celebrities, introverts who remain under the radar will continue to create problem-solving ideas, products, and services that will win in the end.
Strategic introverts play the long game as a way of discovering work that aligns with their personality.
They realize that meaningful work is the key to happiness. And essential work should be highlighted and rewarded.
Do introverts want attention?
Yes, they do. But on their terms.
Bainbridge, C. (2021, Feb. 22)/ Introvert social needs and preferences. Verywell Family. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3IQ3BuD.
Wang, R. (n.d.). Do introverts secretly like getting attention? Quora. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3IMs3x9.
“Elon Musk” by jdlasica
“Elon Musk Dreaming of a Brighter Future” by jurvetson