Why Introverts are Often Misunderstood and What They Can Do About It


And Why I Champion the Cause of Introvert Empowerment

In a previous blog post (which went viral), “How Introverts like Guy Kawasaki and Pete Cashmore are changing the rules of the game with Online Branding?”, I shared my journey and how Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” changed my life forever. Interestingly, Susan also points out that introversion has three cousins, “shyness, sensitivity and seriousness”. Yet these three traits of introverts are often misunderstood and need a perception correction.

Let us take a look at how introverts are misunderstood and what they can do about it.

Myth / Misunderstanding 1- Introverts are often Nervous
Fact-Introverts are Shy

Recently when I was invited to speak at a public platform for 2 minutes, I began with a dose of humour, “It takes me 2 minutes to settle down with a new audience. By the time I will settle down, my time would be over”.

Introverts are shy and tend to act as extroverts (in speaking, mentoring etc) when they are passionate about the subject. The shyness of introverts is often misunderstood as nervousness, and they need to correct this perception. Sometimes one can correct this perception by being straightforward about it or stating the fact in a humourous way.

Myth / Misunderstanding 2- Introverts are often Moody
Fact- Introverts are Sensitive

Introverts have above average sensitivity (and some of the highly introverted people are also HSP or Highly Sensitive People). They can easily read the energy of people, their body language, when people are being fake, when people are disguising base feelings with higher emotions and so on.

Sometimes they can be disturbed by the unauthentic behavior of some people and withdraw as they get turned off. The paradox is that their sensitivity is both a blessing as well as a curse for them. It is a curse when the sensitivity makes them uneasy or when their faces becomes the indexes of their minds. Sensitivity is also a blessing as they can identify fake people and fake behavior very quickly.

Highly introverted people are also likely to be empaths, intuits and spiritual healers.

Myth / Misunderstanding 3- Introverts are often Loners
Fact - Introverts are Serious

Introverts are not loners, though they want their alone time at regular intervals to recharge their batteries. Unlike the popular perception that introverts dislike people, they actually love to bond with few people (and have professional relationships with the rest). Introverts usually do not enjoy small talk and tend to prefer serious/ deeper discussions.

In fact, introverts do not enjoy superficial stuff and prefer taking a deeper dive, be it in discussions or relationships. That's exactly why they often tend to build lifelong bonds. Introverts also prefer to be alone than in uncomfortable company. They are usually comfortable in their own company in any case.

Passionate People are Often Misunderstood

Passionate people are often misunderstood (as if they have a hidden agenda behind the enthusiasm). As Susan Cain points out in her book, "Introverts tend to have one or two strong passions ......and are more likely to be driven by inner reward (passion and satisfaction) than outer rewards". Unfortunately their passion is likely to be misunderstood too.

Introverts are Gifted Coaches

Introverts also tend to be highly effective coaches /mentors as they tend to understand the needs of individuals/ coachees very well. Recently during my session on "Personal Branding and Inspirational Storytelling" at International Coach Federation (Delhi NCR chapter), I had an interesting discussion with the coaches / audience on the topic of introversion (towards the end of session). I believe, "Introverts are gifted with coaching/ mentoring skills and my interactions with coaches validated my views."


Personal Branding as a Empowerment Tool

I can empathize with introverts because I have been through the pain myself. Over the years, I have learnt to adapt to situations and balance introversion and extroversion. Yet I remain an introvert at heart and ambivert in my behavior. Since 2012, I have been championing the "cause of empowering of introverts" and have successfully worked with several introverted clients. 

In an aggressive (and often pushy) world we live in, personal branding becomes an empowerment tool for introverts, and they can learn to pull in their audience. Introverts are also likely to look within all the time (to introspect if they have gone wrong), and as a result, tend to focus on personal development and self-improvement rather than playing the blame game. 

So my dear introverted reader, you just need to learn to manage the perception and remember introversion is a strength in today's world and not a weakness anymore. 

Feel free to write to me at amit@dramitnagpal.com, if you still have queries or doubts.
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Brief Profile
Dr Amit Nagpal, PhD is a Business Storyteller, Speaker and Digital Storytelling Coach. He is one of the pioneers of digital storytelling in India. 

After working for more than two decades in academics and corporates (including publishing, television and digital marketing), he realised teaching is his meditation and storytelling is his Nirvana.

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