Right before starting 10th grade, a relative told me that high school was all about being outgoing and popular. As a fairly quiet, awkward guy, that really stuck with me. For the next three years and on into college, I tried to be the most gregarious person I knew how to be. Until one day in a student lounge, an acquaintance told me point blank, "You’re so fake!"
In an effort to fit in and be well-liked, I was offering the world an obviously inauthentic self. I was trying to be something I wasn’t. So began my quest to get in touch with who I really was. In 1997, my fiancée (now wife) and I came across a book that introduced us to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I finally had a name for what I was: an introvert!
But who wants to be an introvert? In a world that generally favors extroverted traits, like being gregarious, thinking quickly on one’s feet, and having the gift of gab, life can seem difficult for those of us who are more reserved, unable to endure a lot of social stimulation, and need more time to process information.
We’re often misunderstood and left feeling undervalued and exhausted. But as I’ve discovered more about introversion and embraced how I’ve been naturally wired, I’ve come to realize that being an introvert can be pretty terrific, and going with the flow of my natural wiring makes all the difference in the world. It’s great to be an introvert, and here are some of the reasons: