Many introverts are like deer in the woods. They react to every sound, movement, and potential for danger.
And this danger can be real or imaginary.
Like extroverts, fear for introverts can come in wide varieties, but strategic thinking introverts’ worst fear is the fear of failure or underperforming.
A deeper dive into this fear ties into the fear of rejection and embarrassment.
Consequently, these introverts overthink and overwork themselves to acquire a sense of personal freedom, control, and independence.
For strategic thinking introverts, freedom, control, and independence determine one’s quality of life.
But where does this fear of failure and need to succeed derive?
Fear of being judged
Whether intelligent, well-behaved introverted students were selected to participate in exclusive extracurricular activities or seen as the teacher’s pet, these introverts feared being judged. Where their actions should be viewed positively, in many communities, academic achievement is frowned upon. So, these introverts propelled themselves to academic and professional excellence, where success became the best revenge.
Fear of physical abuse
Introverts are notorious for being the targets of bullies. At an early age, many introverts were seen as self-disciplined, needing little external motivation to complete tasks. This self-motivation garnered attention from underperformers, causing them to abuse introverts out of envy. This early abuse caused introverts to learn how to protect themselves physically and mentally as they matured while remaining quiet and aloof.
Fear of not living up to a standard
Success standards are created externally and nurtured internally. While enlightened introverts evolve to evaluate the validity of societally based measures, they never quite get away from the socialization process we are all engineered. They may reject materialism but become intellectual snobs. Consequently, they change and raise the bar of success from material possessions to academic prowess.
Fear of a purposeless existence
Strategic thinking introverts are existentialists. They embrace the notion that the only meaning of life is the meaning you give it. Generally, they have dabbled in organized religion, eastern philosophy, and even atheism in pursuit of a deeper meaning for life. When they realized that life had no absolute truths within one domain, introverts integrated various concepts from different sectors of philosophy to create their framework. They developed a holistic system from diverse ideas.
Fear of loss
Like many humans, introverts fear loss over acquisition.
Dr. Shahram Heshmat, an associate professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield, in discussing loss aversion, said:
…Loss aversion is an expression of fear. This explains why we tend to focus on setbacks than progress. Negative emotions, such as criticism, have a stronger impact than good ones, such am receiving praise. As Charles Darwin once said, “Everyone feels blame more acutely than praise.”
In this context, introverts are not fearful of losing material possessions but their self-identity.
Every new perspective or idea must be evaluated through a self-created system to assess its validity. The life of an introvert is built on a foundation of education, experience, and a wealth of academic knowledge.
From the pain and degradation experienced early in life emerged a skyscraper. Skyscrapers rarely collapse, but this representative example does not dissuade introverts from becoming concerned that it may.
Introverts turn pain into progress. Initially, advancements made by introverts emerge out of fear and degradation.
In their reinvention, pain and deprivation subside and are replaced by self-confidence and a track record of success.
However, a nagging paranoia persists from negative past experiences that never go away.
Introverts learn to live with these negative experiences and chalk them up to a virtue that keeps them focused and ambitious.
How ambition helps introverts overcome fear
Tom Farr, a blogger, storyteller, and screenwriter who teaches English Language Arts to high school students, said,
Not only do introverts make great listeners, but they’re also mindful of their environment and the things happening around them. Because they’re observant, they’re able to notice both the mistakes and successes of others and pick up on what to do and what to avoid to succeed.
Ambitious introverts embrace the idea that success is derived from satisfying the self-interested needs of others.
Identifying the needs of others requires studying what others say, do, and complain about.
When introverts discover solutions to these confessed problems, they are positioned to reap the rewards through financial compensation and influence.
This ambitious requirement to succeed through problem-solving helps introverts overcome fear by becoming results-driven.
In the end, introverts’ worst fears become the catalyst for their most significant achievements.
It appears oxymoronic for freedom, control, and independence to come out of fear.
But creativity is turning raw material into masterpieces.
And introverts are truly academic artists.
Farr, T. (n.d.). 10 reasons why introverts are more likely to be successful. Lifehack. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3xkJpNe.
Heshmat, S. (2018, March 8). What is loss aversion? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3OdfLAj.