I hear this question a lot. And it’s not hard to figure out why. So, CAN introverts be confident, then?
Let’s have a look. But for the purpose, its important to define ‘introvert’.
The Cambridge Dictionary* defines an introvert as “someone who is shy, quiet, and unable to make friends easily”. However, I consider this definition not only to be lacking in detail, but also to be incorrect. I find this much more in-depth description from New World Encyclopedia** far more exhaustive:
“The introvert is introspective and finds meaning within, preferring their internal world of thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and dreams. […] Thus, one who is introverted is more likely to spend time alone or in contemplation, as these activities are rewarding. They may avoid social situations entirely, not because they are shy or misanthropic, but because they choose to. Introverts often enjoy long, one-on-one conversations about feelings or ideas, and may give excellent public presentations to large audiences. However, they find solitude, alone with their thoughts, nourishing and restorative.“
That one hits the home run. Not only because it’s more detailed, but because it makes the important distinction between introversion and shyness.
As you may have gathered, shyness is strongly associated with low confidence and self-esteem. And so, this is what makes so many people confused.
So in other words, while shy people tend to be introverted, not all introverted people are shy. And in yet other words, just because you’re introverted doesn’t mean you’re non-fident.
On the contrary, some of the world’s greatest achievers were introverts***. And I don’t just mean faceless, corporate suits hiding behind huge desks in tall glass buildings. We’re talking Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerberg, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Beyoncé Knowles, Emma Watson, Christina Aguilera, Steven Spielberg, Warren Buffett, J.K. Rowling, Michael Jordan, Harrison Ford, and Marlon Brando here.
The reason so many people ask this question, it would seem, is that in our highly media-oriented culture, introvert behavior and the daily doings of introverts isn’t something we’re exposed to at all.
Think about it. Introverts keep to themselves most of the time. So, do the introverts’ sitting around and minding their own business get sought out by the media? Does it make for great news and entertainment?
NO, duh. What does make for great news and entertainment are the outward directed actions and creations of, well, extroverts, mostly.
And really, can you even blame any media outlets for not doing a reality-style docu-soap about 10 introverts in a house not talking to each other? I mean, I wouldn’t wanna watch myself silently working at my laptop and occasionally eating for 7-8 hours every day.
And yes, I just used myself as an example. Because I’m largely introvert. And yes, I still mostly choose to spend time alone. But I’ve learned to love speaking and performing in front of crowds, and mingle with people at events. Hell, I’ve even learned to accept the social Top Ramen that is small-talk.
So, straight from the horse’s mouth:
It’s not the introversion itself that keeps anyone from doing anything. It’s simply the lack of confidence. They’re two different things.
Just because introverts keep to themselves doesn’t mean they can’t do any of the things that extroverts do. On the contrary, if you’re an introvert, you can be one of the world’s richest business people.
You could be the world’s most talented and successful basketball player. Founder of the world’s biggest social media. One of the world’s most popular and biggest-selling authors, musicians and movie directors. And did anyone say president of the United States?
The proper question, then, is not can introverts be confident?. Rather, it’s can introverts be confident in a culture that values extrovert behavior?.
And fortunately, the answer is a solid yes.
*** https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/23-amazingly-successful-introverts-throughout-history.html; https://www.feelingsuccess.com/famous-introverts/; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/15/famous-introverts_n_3733400.html