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Is It Harder for Introverts?

by Dr. Robert Glover on Oct 2nd, 2013.     9 comments

life-is-not-fairLife isn’t fair.

I know you probably heard that a million times from your parents while growing up. Even though you probably didn’t like being told this, it is nevertheless true.
 
Some people seem to have all the luck, while others can’t buy a break. From who our parents were, the temperament we were born with, the color our skin happened to be, all the way to the country in which we were born – life has been a roll of the dice.
 
We live in a social world, where high social intelligence and confidence pay great dividends. It seems like the natural extroverts get the girl, get the job, and get the promotions. It just doesn’t seem fair.
 
If you are naturally shy, introverted, or socially anxious, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Since childhood, you’ve noticed that other, more outgoing people seem to naturally make friends, easily attract women, and always catch the breaks.
 
It is no secret that extroverted people appear more confident, seem more well-liked, and have more doors opened in life. Does that mean that it’s harder for introverts to have social confidence, influence, and success?
 
No. Introverts just have to challenge themselves in different ways.

All successful people I’ve ever known have had to challenge themselves to get out of their comfort zone in some significant way. Every person who has ever had any kind of meaningful success has had to overcome obstacles and challenges.
 
I am always moved when I hear recovering alcoholics or drug addicts introduce themselves as a “grateful, recovering addict.” They have taken what most people would consider a curse and turned it into a blessing. Why? Because it woke them up and led them to a life of conscious choice.
 
Yes, being introverted or socially anxious presents unique challenges for achieving social success. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means you have to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself in your own unique ways.
 
Here’s my point. If you are shy, introverted, or socially anxious, it’s a copout to justify being lonely or isolated because life’s easier for other people. That’s just an excuse for staying in your comfort zone and avoiding risk. You believe your excuses because they serve a purpose – they keep you feeling safe.
 
Take out a piece of paper. Draw a small circle somewhere on the page. That’s your comfort zone. Everywhere else on the page is where life happens. This is true for everybody – not just introverts!
 
Having low tolerance for frustration and discomfort is not the same as being introverted or shy. It is just an excuse to keep doing what comes easy. People who want more out of life must eventually confront their excuses and rationalizations, challenge themselves, learn new skills, soothe themselves, and start practicing. There is no shortcut or magic pill.
 
Check out every one of my classes on TPI University. Every single teacher has overcome significant challenges to get really good at what he is teaching. If I want to learn something, I always pick the guy who has struggled to master what I’m wanting to learn over the guy to whom it came easily. I pick the teachers at TPI U in the same way.
 
I was a terrible dater, but I decided I was going to learn how to date. Now I’m teaching it. I bumbled my way through two marriages. I learned from my mistakes and now teach men how to show up and be conscious in their intimate relationships. My Nice Guy patterns always put a lid on my business success. Since challenging myself in this area, I’ve watched my business take off and enable me to live anywhere in the world.
 
My good friend Roger Nix was haunted by anxiety, insomnia, insecurity, addictions, and panic attacks. He challenged himself in all of these areas and is now building a successful practice as a life coach and teaching Fierce Relaxation and Moving Beyond Stuck.
 
David Hamilton was paralyzed with social anxiety and introversion. He decided he didn’t want to live that way. He read books, took courses, attended workshops, and hired coaches. He went out and practiced. He’s now a dynamic social introvert, life coach, and teacher of Authentic Social Influence.
 
Donald Baker has severe ADHD, but he channeled his unique brain wiring into leading outdoor adventure expeditions. He then turned his knowledge about maximizing what some would consider a disability into a booming therapy practice. He has helped thousands of men and women with ADHD “maximize their brand.” He now teaches Back From Distraction for men with ADHD at TPI U.
 
Get my point?
 
OK, you’re shy, introverted, socially anxious, and/or socially inexperienced. So what? It’s your unique gift. It’s your brand. It’s your big stick upside the head to wake you up and get you out of your comfort zone.

No more excuses.
 
It’s up to you. Are you going to stay in your comfort zone, surfing the internet, downloading porn, watching television, avoiding people, hiding in your cubicle, feeling lonely, holding onto resentment, and feeling terminally unique?
 
Or are you going to be the grateful, recovering……. who decided to find a teacher, build a support system, get out of his comfort zone, and kick some serious ass?
 
What one man can do, another man can do.
 
Like for most people who have overcome obstacles to achieve success, it helps to have some kind of coach or teacher to show you the skills and attitudes you need to succeed. If you could do it all on your own, you would have probably already done it by now.
 
Don’t go it alone!
 
Robert
Robert Glover's Signature
If you have challenged yourself in some powerful way, especially in terms of shyness, introversion, or social anxiety, please share your story below. I really want to hear it. Your story can inspire others.


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Topics: Confidence Facing Fear Personal Growth Social Intelligence

9 Comments

Graeme says ...
Great post! I am one of those people who can demonstrate that this is indeed possible. Only a couple of years ago I was a very shy, introverted person with social anxiety. I would never have made the effort to talk to strangers or do anything new. It was just too scary.

But I decided that was a horrible way to live, and so I started to challenge myself to change (as well as being "pushed" by a change in life circumstances - separation). I read No More Mr Nice Guy, started doing the exercises, started to talk to people, and joined a local social club. It was hard at first, but changes came very quickly, and now today I can honestly say that I LOVE socialising! I have made so many new friends, I go out several times a week and have a great time, and I am no longer afraid to introduce myself to strangers and talk to them. And this new-found confidence has definitely transferred over into other areas of my life (dating, work, family, business).

If you'd asked me a year or two ago if I could ever do that, I would have said no. But now that I look back, it wasn't all that difficult really, it just took a commitment.
Manny says ...
Beautiful post! Everything resonated so much with me. I have no story yet, but Ffom your last note, what suggestions do you have on where to start looking for a coach or teacher?
Eric says ...
Up until a few years ago, I had allowed many of may anxieties to shrink my life down. Towards the end of my marriage, I vowed to live differently and set about finding ways to overcome some of my anxieties, or at least live with them more effectively. With a lot of patience, support and effort, I knocked over some huge fears and made important changes in my life.

One of those changes was to do with my social life. My whole "nice guy" thing had me hiding from potential friends and feeling not good enough. As I started to accept myself, I came to see that my vulnerabilities were actually what bonded me to people. In time, I cultivated kinder friendships and let my more judgmental friends drift away.

Joining social systems like Meetup has also been a huge help. I can remember how nervous I was going to my first meeting, but the nerves dropped away by the second or third gathering. Today, I feel no nervousness at all in new groups.

I still see ways in which anxiety shrinks my world, so my efforts to enlarge it are ongoing. It feels like a struggle at times, but I accept the struggle. It's not like introversion is all bad ... it definitely has its benefits!
David Hamilton | SocialExpression.NET says ...
Great comments here guys. Thanks for sharing. I too used to be shy, socially anxious. I'm still introverted and that ain't changing. That's part of my strengths now that I know how to balance it out. I'm a "social introvert" and I love it. I have a huge network of contacts both personal and business that I've built up in the last two years, using the new confidence and social skills I've learned.

@Eric - I agree that meetup.com is really great to get started with. Then from there social circles/networks can pan out.

@Manny - I'm actually a Professional Confidence Coach and the course instructor for Authentic Social Influence. That is why Dr. Glover has brought me on to teach the ASI course. Last round we had some great results for the guys that dove into the work and fully participated. It's a great place to start practicing new skills to get out there and become more socially savvy, if that is what you are looking for.

@Graeme - great to hear you've learned to be social. You've hit on that key point...commitment is huge. Being persistent and following it through until it becomes an integrated skill is the master key. Along with having the desire underneath to fuel that commitment and persistence.
Richi says ...
Hello

I am NOT an introvert. I am sometimes so extrovert that people don't believe me when I tell them that I am shy and anxious.
When I feel "most myself" I am quite explosive, but I notice that this sometimes is a way of hiding from normal interactions.
I am also always on guard and checking for what I am doing, people's reactions, and it drives many people away, too. I seem not to be able to integrate the positive feedback when I receive it, just the negative.
It is not a good life, and I feel guilty since I ve got most of what I want.
More so, I feel for the Pick Up industry, and that messed my mind even more, telling me I had to be ways I am not, neither want to be.
I am glad I found this site, which responds to my needs, and mind form.

I ve always envied those who could connect easily, mostly with women, and I never understood which barrier kept me from doing it. somehow, what makes me cringe the most is when people try to get close, I push them away.
I m not sharing a success story, and my life is not so grim neither, but I felt I could open up, here.

Thanks
introverted pm says ...
Sorry, but your blog post shows that you don't understand introverts.
Jayson says ...
The author of this article is confusing shyness with introversion. They aren't the same thing.

An introverted person is simply someone who prefers close relationships with a few people as opposed to being superficially connected to a large social circle. Introverts also relish alone time - they genuinely enjoy their own company. They also generally don't like being in large, "party like" gatherings. It's not that they can't "function" in such environments. In fact, they can play the game, and often do it well. But it is draining on their energy, and the sooner they get out of there, the better. They simply prefer one on one connections. That’s what brings meaning to their lives. That and alone time.

A shy person is someone who wants to be a part of a larger social group, but is scared to participate, and so they keep to themselves. If am in a cafeteria reading a book as an introverted person, I might notice a gathering of people having a good time at another table, but I really have zero interest in joining the group. I like being on my own and reading my book. The shy person who is at another table really wants to join that group, but doesn't do so out of fear of being rejected. It’s not the same thing.

Another example: an introverted man who is interested in asking a woman out on a date will do so. Being introverted is not a passive state. You still take action in life and go after the things you truly want. You're just more inner directed. Since asking a woman out on a date is a one on one connection, it's something that the introverted person is comfortable with. The shy person just won't ask the girl out because they fear rejection and embarrassment.

What this all comes down to is what Carl Jung used to talk about: the world is divided between extroverts and introverts, and that both groups are equally capable of attaining happiness and success in their lives. It's just a different personality orientation. The problem is that it is hard for many extroverts to understand introverts. The same is not true when it comes to introverts. They understand extroverts, but they just don't want to be that way. As an introvert, I have zero desire to be an extrovert. I don’t envy extroverts in anyway. I understand their value and what they bring to society, and many times I enjoy my interactions with them. I think it’s great. But I have something to offer as well.

Lastly, I disagree with the author's notion that social confidence and extrovert behavior is more valued in our society. Especially in the economic domain. There is a wonderful book called "Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain that illustrates how introverts are extremely valuable to our society and in the workplace. Introverts, for example, are known to be more creative as people than extroverts and more attentive to detail. They are also reflective, careful thinkers. They bring a counterbalance to the extrovert world that is necessary for societal progression and economic success. Several of the greatest men in our country's history such as Abraham Lincoln were known to be introverts. He may have not livened up the party or had a million and one friends, but he was highly effective as president.
Hook says ...
This person doesn't seem to know how it is to be an introvert. Because he keeps throwing shyness, and socially anxious and bundeling it up with introversion. Introverts have their own unique personality apart from these other people. The author doesn't seem to understand that.

What if I DON'T want to date or get out and talk to people?? Does that make me a failure in life? Cus I don't do what YOU and Others like to do?

What if watching TV, reading a book, drawing, or surfing the net alone makes ME happy? Does that make me worthless?

You can face your fears or get out of your comfort zone all you want, but don't tell me I'm a coward for not doing so. If being comfortable and happy being alone and not DEALING with other people makes me happy, than I can give a rats @** what you think of me. I'll die happy knowing I did what made me happy and in the end that's all that will matter. I won't be thinking of what other people wanted me to do on MY death bed.
Andrew says ...
I have Asperger Syndrome, which is a mild form of Autism, many times I have felt hopeless about how it will affect my chances of getting a girlfriend, but deep inside I don't want to let it stop me

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