Many of the introverts I work with have the secret (or not so secret) desire to be an extrovert because that symbolises for them everything they think they want. It’s the fantasy of being the movie star/pop star/celebrity who everyone looks at adoringly because they are so charismatic and look like a god or goddess.
It’s the social acceptance that we naturally crave because we’re still wired tribally at some primitive primal level. And your status in the tribe determined who you could sleep with and who wanted to sleep with you, how much you got to eat and the quality of what you got to eat, what you got to wear, what possessions you had and could protect so they couldn’t be taken away from you. And even to the extent that if you got kicked out of the tribe that was literally a death sentence because you couldn’t survive on your own, you were too easy a target for not just animal predators but the human predators without the protection of your tribe.
So this wiring for being part of the tribe limits us in ways we don’t think about, that we aren’t conscious of, but is so powerfully there that kids that don’t fit in at school cut themselves or starve themselves because they are anorexic or just feel everything from depressed to suicidal because they “don’t fit in” in the way that they want to fit in… And be accepted and valued, and ultimately loved.
Yet it’s a delusion that we crave, the extrovert isn’t any happier, the celebrity isn’t any happier. In fact the disparity, the gap between who they see themselves portrayed as, and who they know themselves to be can cause as much or more distress.
So if the dream of becoming a pop star isn’t going to help what should the dream be?
The aspiration to really be you, the courage to really be you in all of your difference or deviance is the path to success...
Most people as I’ve said above desire to be normal, to be part of the tribe, to fit in. Yet “normal” the norm, the standard the average is by definition not successful.
It's that safe place in the middle of the herd where most people find comfort that again by definition is mediocre, is meaningless and leads to the same unhappiness and depression that not being here leads to.
And so most people numb themselves out, with drink, drugs, alcohol or living life through TV.
As introverts we find our escape into the story of others in fiction, in fantasy while fearing to tell, to live our own story.
Yet you can’t win the game where the rules are set against you, you win the game by playing by rules where you can win. For us introverts that’s not being extrovert, but at the same time that doesn’t mean we have to be inhibited.
Introversion does not equal Inhibition.
So how to you as an introvert set the rules so you can win?
The question I ask my clients is: “What do you want?” And it’s a question I ask them to keep in mind: “What do I want?” Because so often what you think you want is what others want for you, what your parents want, what your family wants, what our friends want...
And the more you focus on what you want on how you are “deviant" or don’t fit into the “norm” the more you can set the rules so you can win.
But it takes courage to be a deviant to stand our from the crowd.
But the more you are you and the more you get what you want the more you have a life that you love and the more you can inspire others by your example. The example of being the best you, you can be. Which of course is very very attractive, it's the real secret of charisma.