Introverts, along with the other outliers of society, are more significant than people think. The outskirts of our culture are lined with artists and outcasts; revolutionaries and vagrants; wanderers and monks; freaks and geniuses. All these people are united by the fact that they don’t fit into the narrow definition of what is considered normal. Thus, they are pushed to the edges of society, where it’s lonely and destitute. Except, really it’s not.
The edges are where the real story is observed and told. It is where truth and beauty and connectedness form. In practical terms, the fringes of our culture are where insight and mastery occur.
From a distance, we can see the world objectively. Just as a satellite views more from outer space, introverts are able to observe more from the fringes. The greatest thinkers of all time set themselves apart from the rest of society. Aristotle, Gandhi, Einstein, Picasso and Hemingway all inhabited the edges of our culture.
Not only could they see more when distanced from the crowd – they also understood more. In quietness they could hear the subtle messages spoken between words. They were able to turn over ideas in their mind until they were fully baked and ready to be delivered into the world. Thanks to insightful outsiders, we have abstract art and the theory of relativity. Because one man knew the power of standing alone, the entire country of India gained its independence.
People take for granted the power of introverts, just like they underestimate the strength of every outsider, misfit and outcast. Together, outliers form a powerful segment of society. You see, ‘normal’ people are actually not the majority. They are a noisy minority that overestimates their own significance. There are more geeks than jocks; more poor than rich; more workers than bosses; more freaks than cool kids … you get the idea.
I am not a Lady Gaga fan, but she is a great example of the power of outliers. She represents strangeness. She champions fitting out. She is the mother of millions of “little monsters” who also feel like they don’t belong. She and her fans exemplify the massive influence that fringe dwellers have on our culture.
There might be fewer introverts than extroverts, but there are still a heck of a lot of us. United, we wield enormous influence in this world. This can be seen in the recent explosion of introvert articles on the Internet. Some extroverts have been complaining about all the introvert listicles spreading like wildfire across the Web. They’ve heard enough about introversion. They’re tired of us forcing them to see our perspective (only we’re not really because they can easily click away).
For a very short period of time, extroverts have been feeling what we’ve felt our whole lives: bogged down by the opinions of a noisy few.
Sorry, irate extroverts who can’t handle one more introvert listicle – you’ll find no sympathy here.
There some who say that it were the Wozniaks and the Teslas who changed the world, rather the Jobs and the Edisons – even though the latter could sell better.
I also agree on Lady Gaga. Had that same feeling when I saw her as guest in a TV show. Am not a fan of hers either, but appreciate the message.
You must have heard about the Avaaz community, I have reason to suspect their main contributors to be introverts too :).
Last but not least: thank you for sharing all these wonderful articles! Even with all my education and soul searching I still had doubts about myself in the noisy world of extroverts that seems to dominate large parts of my life. I can relate to almost everything, although perhaps men and women introverts might differ on some minor points.