There are a lot of misconceptions about introverts — like that they’re antisocial, unfriendly, shy or lonely. But in many cases, being an introvert can actually be an asset.
Introverts are people who get their energy from spending time alone, according to Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength. “It’s kind of like a battery they recharge,” she says. “And then they can go out into the world and connect really beautifully with people.”
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Motor Behavior found that introverts take a longer time to process information than extroverts. Kahnweiler says this is actually because they process more thoughtfully than extroverts do — they take extra time to understand ideas before moving on to new ones.
While we’re all often flooded with messages that we need to speak up and stand out in order to be successful, introverts can actually achieve even more if they hone their natural strengths, says Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms.