10 habits of highly successful introverts, according to psychology

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Highly successful introverts can be found in all walks of life, and they’re each totally unique. 

But they share certain skills and habits in common. 

These are habits that put them on a path to success in their personal and professional life, and make them well-respected and highly fulfilled. 

They are excellent habits for all of us to reflect on and take a look at, particularly if we are introverted or know somebody who is and we want to maximize our success and well-being in life as an introvert. 

Let’s dive in! 

1) Savvy networking

Introverts tend to prefer time alone, but that actually makes them better at selectively seeking out and fostering networking opportunities that are meaningful to them. 

Whether at a work event or at family and recreational gatherings, they are able to form close networks with a tight group and get to know folks on a deeper level. 

This is deeply valuable and leads them to fostering many helpful connections and friendships. 

As business networking specialist and psychology writer Andy Lopata explains

“Introverts may not always feel comfortable at large networking events but can manage their energy effectively to have good conversations there.”

2) Continuing to learn throughout their life 

Successful introverts turn their bookishness and highly perceptive nature into a major advantage. 

They keep learning throughout their life, putting their naturally more inward-looking tendency to work on their behalf. 

This pays off in droves, with neuroscience consistently demonstrating that introverts tend to have more cerebral ability than extroverts.

“One Harvard study found that introverts’ brains work differently, and have thicker gray matter compared to extroverts,” notes neuroscientist Friederike Fabritius.

“Another study that scanned brains of both introverts and extroverts found that, even in a relaxed state, the introverted brain was more active, with increased blood flow.”

3) Being selective about social connections and collaboration

Introverts have less gas in the tank when it comes to external social energy.  But this can actually be an advantage if it’s oriented in a smart way. 

To do this, the introvert is selective about who they collaborate with and form connections with both professionally and personally. 

They don’t accept every invitation and they don’t befriend everyone or work on projects with everyone: this generally leads to higher quality output and friendships and better life satisfaction for the introvert as well. 

“Find ways to collaborate with others that don’t overstimulate you. Take time to digest and reflect, and understand your tendency to mull things over for a long time before taking action,” advises psychology researcher Alice Boyes Ph.D.

Speaking of selectivity… 

4) Saying no and setting boundaries with no shame

Because of their limited desire for front-facing activities, the introvert naturally becomes better at saying no and setting boundaries. 

This ends up paying off numerous dividends.

While the extrovert may enjoy more enjoyable parties and social times broadly speaking, the introvert often becomes better at guarding their energy and emotional labor. 

They are able to say no and not feel bad about it, because they have already built up a reputation as somebody who is more introverted and not as open to going out or meeting up.

This gives them more latitude for how they choose to spend their time. 

5) Gaining clarity and creativity from time alone

The introvert finds their time alone to be empowering and refreshing. 

They use their time alone to fuel up their dreams and plans for the future and to stimulate their creativity. 

Far from being a waste of time or spent stewing in loneliness, this time alone is an idea lab where many new discoveries, theories, philosophies and creations are formed. 

As bestselling psychology author Susan Cain writes:

“Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions—from the theory of evolution to Van Gogh’s sunflowers to the personal computer—came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.”

6) Effectively preparing and planning ahead 

The introvert is able to effectively prepare and plan ahead because of their more inner-facing nature and tendency to be introspective. 

They use their intellectual capacities to plan ahead for what’s coming and make fallback options for unforeseen circumstances that may arise. 

They can still get hit by surprise, of course. 

But this capacity to plan ahead and envision the future and its potentialities is a habit that stands the introvert in very good stead. 

7) Hearing the deeper aspects of what people are saying

The introvert hears the deeper aspects of what people are saying and practices active listening. 

Their high EQ (emotional intelligence) helps them to understand the emotions of other people and their needs and desires behind what they say. 

They don’t just hear the words, they hear what’s behind the words. 

This ability helps the introvert have deep and lasting personal relationships and to connect with people at a fundamental level in all areas of their life. 

8) Ability to focus closely and long-term on work and projects

The introvert is able to focus closely on what they are doing and work on long-term projects in a highly concentrated manner that benefits them. 

They make enormous progress that can often be lost to distraction and outer intrusion by those who are more extroverted or who have more demands put on their time externally. 

They are able to focus on what they enjoy and what’s meaningful to them without losing focus and without losing enthusiasm. 

As Fabritius observes:

“Because they enjoy spending time alone, introverts tend to be more willing than extroverts to put in the hours alone necessary to master a skill.”

9) Staying true to themselves without seeking outside approval

The introvert tends to have a habit of being very in touch with themselves.

They stay true to their values and ethics and don’t try to masquerade as somebody else or change who they are to gain approval or recognition. 

This inner confidence stands them in good stead and allows the introvert to seek out meaningful relationships and one-on-one connections that allow mutual growth and understanding. 

Avoiding large groups gives the introvert the power to be more selective and authentic in who they let into their life and allows them to shut out the need for approval from the mob.

As work psychologist Ellen Bard observes:

“First characterized by Jung, typically an introvert gets their energy from their internal, rather than the external, world and thus, as in my own example above, is likely to prefer more limited engagement with large groups.”

10) Taking criticism and feedback into account and learning from it

The introvert has high EQ and makes a habit of learning as much as possible. 

This includes trying to learn from feedback they receive and taking into account criticism and the sadder aspects of life to learn from and grow from. 

The more they learn and the more they observe human nature, the more the introvert transforms into the kind of individual who forms groundbreaking and powerful observations and creations that touch humanity. 

“The people who really captured human social nature, who really were able to capture the social psychological aspects that we all universally understand, were writers like Hemingway or psychologists like William James,” points out Yale psychologist Anton Gollwitzer.

“They were able to do this, and they tended to be introverted, melancholy, observant, reflective about the world.”

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