5 habits of successful introverts who always move forward in life

Sometimes, we introverts get a bad rap, right? 

Extroverts get to be the cool, charismatic, and confident ones, meanwhile, as introverts, we’re seen as quiet and shy at best and rude and antisocial at worst. It’s easy to see why it might be tempting to try to be more like the extroverts. 

The thing is: making progress is all about playing to your strengths and developing the habits that get you where you want to go. And as an introvert, there are some specific practices that you’ll be able to develop easily, that’ll no doubt lead to success. 

If you’re wondering what some of those practices are, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’m sharing 5 habits of successful introverts who always move forward in life. 

It’s time to forget about trying to imitate the extroverts, embrace who you are, and start paving your way to success.  

Ready? Let’s jump in. 

1) They listen to understand

Listening is one of the most underrated and underutilized skills out there. You know how it goes when you’re talking to someone, you hear the words they’re saying but really you’re just thinking about what you’re going to say next. In other words, you’re listening to reply.

Amazing things can happen when you start to practice active listening, which is listening to understand.  

Think of it like this: instead of just waiting for your chance to talk, you’re truly listening to what’s being said. Not only do you catch the words, but the feelings and intent behind them too. This makes conversations richer and people feel more connected to you which is key to being successful. 

Successful introverts have developed the habit of listening to understand because it comes naturally to them. Studies show introverts take longer to process information than extroverts, which just means they take a little extra time to understand things before moving on. 

This is one of the main reasons introverts find it easy to listen to understand rather than just to reply. The last thing we want to do is jump in before our thoughts are fully formed, we want to understand first. 

Susan Cain, author of ‘Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking’, confirms “Introverts often prefer to have completely worked something out in their minds before they start speaking–one reason they usually don’t speak up right away.”

Next time you feel the pressure to jump in just because that’s what everyone else is doing, pause and remind yourself that listening to understand is a habit of successful introverts, one you can develop easily. Stick to your instincts and make a habit of engaging in active listening.

2) They optimize how they work

Everyone’s got their own style for how they work best, right? 

Some people are early birds, and others are night owls. Some prefer to work in short, sharp bursts and others need dedicated focus time. Certain people like to work in a busy environment, others like solitude to work. 

Successful introverts optimize how they work by leaning into their strengths. They take advantage of hybrid working to achieve peak productivity

Some key things they do include;

  • Schedule focus time to process and do deep work
  • Balance social fatigue by working from home a few days per week
  • Increase productivity by minimizing unnecessary in-office ad-hoc requests

Veronica Wortman Ploetz, a senior leader and successful introvert maintains habits that made her productive at home. “I’m much more diligent about when I will accept meetings on the calendar,” she says, “and I make sure there’s space between them, even if it’s 15 minutes.”

If you want to be a successful introvert, it’s time to take control of how you work and start playing to your strengths instead of responding to a world created by extroverts, for extroverts. 

3) They’re selective about socializing

Another habit of successful introverts who never stop progressing in life is that they’re selective about socializing. It’s no secret that introverts don’t get as much from socializing as our extroverted counterparts, right? 

You might be wondering how being picky about when and where you socialize is a habit that leads to progress and success. 

Let me explain: as introverts, we don’t have as much energy for being around others as extroverts do, especially in large groups. Introverts and extroverts need different levels of stimulation and reward. We get what we need and we’re ready to go home long before extroverts.

By being selective about socializing as an introvert, you conserve your social energy for interactions you find rewarding. For most introverts, this usually means small gatherings or 1-1 chats that allow you to build deep connections and have meaningful conversations. 

“Introverts feel like they can only get quality time with people one-on-one, but extroverts can get their social needs met in group gatherings.” as noted by Sophia Dembling, author of ‘The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World’.

Start prioritizing and being selective about how you socialize and watch your life move forward in ways you never even imagined were possible.  

4) They practice self-care

Like it or not we live in a world that’s more suited to extroverts, which means as introverts, we have to go the extra mile to look after our health and well-being. Successful introverts already know this and they prioritize self-care.

Introverts are more sensitive to dopamine meaning it doesn’t take much to make us feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. To help manage this, successful introverts have a few habits that keep this in check. They;

  • Set boundaries to stop them from feeling drained
  • Take time out alone to recharge
  • Meditate and practice mindfulness to quiet a busy mind

Dedicated time for self-care is beneficial for everyone but for introverts it’s crucial.

“Creating time and space for self-care is very important for introverts when they internalize stress,” explains licensed therapist Heidi McBain. “Alone time gives introverts a way to relax after a stimulating day of interacting with others.”

As an introvert, what does your self-care routine look like? 

5) They prioritize time for thinking and creativity

We already talked about how introverts need alone time to recharge their social batteries, right? 

The thing is: as an introvert myself I’ve realized that I need alone time to recharge for sure, but that’s not the only reason I prioritize time alone. This is also when things start to click for me and my creative ideas come alive. And I’m not the only one.

Sociologist and writer, Anna Akbari PhD agrees “But like a true introvert, I recharge in the quiet, solitary moments. It’s where I do my best thinking. It’s where I gain clarity. Creating ample time for solitude makes me a better person.”

There are also countless successful introverts including Steven Spielberg, J.K. Rowling, and Bill Gates who credit their success to having time and space to think. Gates even spends two weeks each year in a cabin in the woods just to think and strategize

As introverts, we tend to do our best work in solitude, we just can’t get the same results around others. Alone time is about more than recharging, it’s also about getting creative and thinking. If you want to tap into your true potential as an introvert, carve out time to let your creativity flow.  

Final thoughts

The truth is: It doesn’t matter if you’re introverted or extroverted

One isn’t better than the other. They’re just different and they both have benefits and drawbacks. Like with anything in life, you can focus on what you don’t have and feel miserable. 

Or you can embrace what you’ve got and double down on your strengths. There are many advantages to being an introvert and lots of habits you can develop that’ll help you to move forward in life. Which habit are you going to start developing first? 

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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