Written by: Ashok Kumar
Do you feel difficulty in starting conversation with strangers and connecting with people in a group? Do you prefer to listen, and if you have to speak, you speak after thinking. Do you spend time with yourself lost in your own thoughts and feel relaxed and charged when you are alone? Do you prefer to be self-involved rather than being in limelight of social surroundings? Ok...Ok.. enough questions. If your answers were YES to all, then chances are you are an introvert by nature and if answers were NO, then you are an extrovert. However, according to famous psychologist Carl Jung, you, me and all have both introversion and extraversion traits, but one of these is dominant in us, which makes us introvert or extravert by nature.
There is nothing wrong with that, except a common perception among people that the talkative, outgoing extrovert person, as opposed to the introvert, is more likely to be successful in business, politics, sports, arts & entertainment or life in general. This wrong perception has grown to the level of treating introversion as some sort of disease and introvert person is sometimes ridiculed or misunderstood by others as being arrogant, cold or anti social. From family gatherings to friends group, from board-room to court-room, from political theatre to art theatre, extrovert is enthroned in leadership positions and introvert is just ignored.
In all such social situations, our society seems to value talkative, loud, gregarious, outspoken and sociable personality traits of an extrovert. Whereas the considerate, reticent, soft-spoken, serious, sensitive and thoughtful traits of introvert are treated as second grade. This is despite the fact that 30%-50% of the population of world comprises introvert people. The reticence of introvert people does not mean that they don’t like people, on the contrary, introverts also like people as much as the extrovert, though in different manner. In fact, they value deep relationships over shallow friendships, meaningful talk over small chit-chat.
Now to challenge this social bias towards extroversion, Susan Cain in her best seller book “Quiet-The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” has taken up cudgels on behalf of the introverts. According to her, many research studies have proved that deep listening abilities of introverts make them better leaders. Introverts are more committed to a cause and work without rest to its conclusion. She has even gone to the extent of observing that one reason of sub-prime crisis of 2008 in the USA was the over zealousness of the extroverts. Susan Cain has provided in this book few names of world leaders who are/were introvert by nature. Here, in this article, on the basis of some online research, I have added a few more names who despite their introvert nature, rose to became top leaders in their respective fields.Abraham Lincoln: Most respected American president, who was introvert to the core and even fell into depression one time.
Mahatma Gandhi: Father of Indian nation, Gandhi provided a much needed leadership to the Indian freedom struggle against British rule.
Nelson Mandela: Nelson Mandela was instrumental in freedom of South Africa and was President of South Africa. In his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”, he says that he was introverted, serious, observer and loved solitude more despite being gregarious.
Barak Obama: First African American to become President of the USA, Obama is considered by many as an introvert.
Charles Darwin: A naturalist scientist, father of theory of evolution on earth.
Isaac Newton: Physicist, mathematician and father of theory of gravitation.
Albert Einstein: Theoretical physicist and father of theory of relativity.
Pablo Picasso: Famous painter, sculptor, printer, designer
Bill Gates: One of the richest people on earth, founder of Microsoft, philanthropist.
Warren Buffet: Considered as most successful investor of the world, philanthropist, and one of the richest in world.
Jeff Bezos: Billionaire entrepreneur, founder of Amazon.com
Larry Page: Computer Scientist, co-founder of Google.
Mark Zuckerberg: Billionaire entrepreneur, founder of Facebook.com
Steve Wozniak: Inventor, computer engineer, co-founder of Apple Computer.
J.K. Rowling: Author of best-selling Harry Potter series.
Steven Spielberg: Hollywood film director of several Oscar winning movies, screen writer, producer, studio entrepreneur.
Richard Gere: Hollywood film star of several hit movies.
Amitabh Bachchan: Indian film super star.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Hollywood film star, body-builder, businessman, politician and served as Governor of California.
Michael Jordan: American professional basket ball player, entrepreneur.
Sachin Tendulkar: Most successful Indian cricket player.
The above list contains names of a few of numerous successful persons in their respective fields and is an humble attempt to show that introverts are in no way inferior to the extroverts. They are just different from them. So, enough reason for introverts to rejoice.
I am sure you have names of many more successful introverts. Please write in the comment section. And if you liked the article, please share it with friends who you know are on facebook and twitter etc.
Photo credit: Flickr
Photo credit: Flickr