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Quietly Fabulous: 8 Successful Introverts Prove the Negative Stereotypes Wrong

Quietly Fabulous: 8 Successful Introverts Prove the Negative Stereotypes Wrong

It may be hard for some of you to believe, but not every rich and famous person in the world got there by being boisterous and in-your-face all the time. In fact, some of the most intelligent, successful people are the quietest and most self-reflective among us. Many of the people on this list actually owe their success to the fact that they spend a good amount of time listening to and learning from others, and are not turned off by the notion of having hours to themselves with which to practice their craft.

1. Albert Einstein

Einstein is arguably the greatest mind in human history. Theories which he hypothesized decades ago are still being proven to be true years after his death. His theory of relativity has basically shaped theoretical physics and astronomy since its publication. Of course, none of this would have ever come to pass had Einstein not spent a great deal of time in deep thought. His dedication to the field of physics and astronomy required long hours of quiet study, but the results of his efforts changed the face of mankind forever.

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2. Steven Spielberg

The creator of Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park is a known introvert in the movie industry. But how else would he gain the knowledge and skills necessary to create the silver screen masterpieces he has throughout his amazing career if he had not spent thousands of hours watching and studying other directors’ works? The next time you tell your friends you can’t hang out, and then spend the next five hours watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix, think of Spielberg.

3. Mark Zuckerberg

It definitely is odd to think of the CEO and founder of the most popular social network in the world to be a bit, well, anti-social. But while the young billionaire is often at the heart of many large-scale presentations and speeches, he prefers genuine connection and intimate relationships to keeping a large posse of followers around. Think about it: he invented Facebook in his dorm room. If he hadn’t spent so much time creating the website in his room, you wouldn’t be able to waste so much time on Facebook in your dorm room!

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4. Larry Page

It’s incredibly ironic that the co-founder of Google, a system which caters to the needs of billions of people every day, is considered to be an introvert. We tend to think of introverts as people who aren’t really in tune with their fellow man, but seeing as Page has predicted societal trends correctly for the past two decades, it’s safe to say he’s actually more in tune with humanity than most of us are. However, despite the fact that his company is omnipresent in today’s world, Page himself remains “personally reserved” and “unabashedly geeky.”

5. J.K. Rowling

Rowling has gone on record to say that when the idea for the character of Harry Potter struck her, she was stuck on a delayed train with no pen, and was actually too shy to ask for one. Of course, being shy is not synonymous with being an introvert, but it is a tell-tale sign that she would rather think and work alone without bothering or being bothered by others. Had she not been stuck on that train for hours longer than originally planned, perhaps she would never have dreamt up the character who would make her a billionaire.

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6. Warren Buffett

The world-famous billionaire investor may have had a keen eye for business ventures from an incredibly young age, but he initially lacked the “businessman persona” needed to actually put his ideas into action. Since interacting with others didn’t come naturally to him, Buffett enrolled in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” seminar early in his career. As with most of his other decisions, it’s pretty clear this investment turned out to be a great one for Buffett.

7. Steve Wozniak

You would think someone with an awesome nickname like “The Woz” would be a boisterous extrovert. But, like everyone else on this list, Wozniak loves working alone. In his autobiography, Wozniak writes: “Work alone. Not on a committee. Not on a team.” The sentiment in this short piece of advice is clear: he believes his ideas are his and his alone, and should not be homogenized by working with a group of people who may distort his original vision.

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8. Barack Obama

The leader of the free world is a known introvert. This might seem counterintuitive to such a high-profile position, since the President will always have to work with committees and groups consisting of people who may or may not agree with his policies and ideas. However, as previously mentioned, introverts believe in their own ideas wholeheartedly, and won’t bend for anyone else simply to appease the masses. Such a stoic, solitary personality, free of indecisiveness, is exactly what is needed to lead a country to prosperity.

Featured photo credit: Albert Einstein painted portrait _DDC9392 / thierry ehrmann via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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