The whole nature vs nurture debate is mainly
confusing and down-right ridiculous.
Here are some facts about me;
I’ve never liked the schooling system who
(cost-efficiently) teaches many students in
I’ve always hated disliked
group assignments, big crowds and
I get mentally tired really fast from heavy
stimulating environments whilst others seem to
be “recharged” by them.
I need a lot of quiet/down-time to recuperate
Yet – I’ve always been forced to be
more outgoing, speak up more, make faster
decisions and become more sociable altogether.
Since the talkative, decision-maker has been
idealized (Oprah, Bill Clinton, …) as
opposed to the reserved cerebral type (Warren
Buffett, Bill Gates, …) in our current
But here’s the thing; both can thrive
equally well – if put in the right
Here’s my thorough conclusion on how you
– as an introvert – can thrive
professionally in an extroverted society;
Why Are Strengths Important?
In a world of 7.3 billion you have to find the
things you’re strong at and build your
career around those. The world is simply too
competitive of a place to not put yourself up for
a biological advantage. There’s many
different aspects that need to be taken into
account before you should pick a career yet you
may stumble in the dark as no-one has really ever
taught you about this subject.
People always say;
“You can become whatever you want to
You just need to find your one true passion and
you’ll be able to glide across the rainbow
on your pink, fluffy unicorn.
Ok – maybe not so literally.
But here’s the point I’m making;
You can only perform optimally from
“A person can only perform from
strengths, and cannot build performance on
“Successful careers are not planned. They
develop when people are prepared for
opportunities because they know their
strengths, their method of work, and their
“It takes far less energy to move from
first-rate performance to excellence than it
does to move from incompetence to mediocrity.”
– Peter Drucker
It’s imperative to
find your strengths
to position yourself in environments where
you’ll be able to thrive
Do Talents Exist?
You often come to the conclusion that other
peoples’ good fortune is derived from a
factor outside of their control, that their
favorable achievements can be attributed
Jim bought a nice car, what a lucky (insert
Wow, little Tommy passed all his exams. Yeah he
got that intelligence from his parents!
Whilst you’re inclined to blame unfavorable
circumstances of someone else on factors like
their personality, work ethic and so-on;
Jimmy can’t sit still in class? He’s
always been unruly..
Jenny broke up with her boyfriend? Yeah,
she’s very emotionally unstable.
You might not do this out-loud but subconsciously
every person does this because we have an excessive self-regard tendency
(meaning we like ourselves a lot..)
Additionally we’re mostly oblivious to the
inner workings/habits of other people and
underestimate situational factors.
Humans are poor judges of
by having an excessive self-regard tendency (which
is necessary for your self-image), are oblivious
to what goes on on the inside of another person
and overvalue situational factors in others’
This obscures your view of talents and the
actual work involved.
Talent does not exist in my opinion.
They’re just projections of social bias
combined with an excessive self-regard tendency
that needs us to explain why others are doing
better than us.
The things that matter most for expertise (the
ability to provide consistent, near-perfect
deep domain expertise (knowledge) combined with
hours and hours of beating on your
The most important accelerating factor
being the age you start.
Research suggest that;
People who start young take less time: both
onset and the rate of expertise acquisition are
Child prodigies? Not so much.
Remember golf-god Tiger Woods? He must’ve
gotten that wicked golf-gene-talent at birth! The
most talented/naturally gifted player of all time?
Nope – the truth is that he immersed himself
in the sport from early childhood. He played more
hours of golf at age 5 than any of you will ever
do in your lifetime. At age three, he shot a 48
over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course
(which is ridiculous)
Mozart? The musical genius and piano prodigy? He
started composing from age five and was immersed
in music from birth.
what they’ve been wired to do
after constant exposure to these subjects.
what they’ve been born to do.
Another study concluded that;
“There is little evidence to suggest that
any of the innate differences between people
that might conceivably contribute to
exceptionally high levels of performance in
particular domains have influences that are
predictable, specific to particular domains or
skill areas, and identifiable in advance of the
time at which unusual degrees of competence are
exhibited, as is believed to be the case with
innate gifts and talents.” –
Ascribing peoples’ success to talent makes
us feel better about ourselves – yet
it’s a myth.
If we want to condense “talent” into a
formula, here it is;
Start as young as possible and develop deep domain
expertise by hours upon hours of beating on your
Many people look for their talents and passions to
“develop their life purpose” not
they design it themselves. Skipping from subject to subject never really
sticking with something they can build up to
Become Who You Want To Be?
Alright! So if natural talent doesn’t
exist my mommy was right after all and I can be
who I want to be! :D
Nope – wrong again.
born as blank slates.
As any mother of two can (anecdotally) confirm
that their two toddlers where not alike from the
Temperament is the governing
factor for separating and selecting individual
Temperament refers to inborn behavioral/emotional
patterns that are observable in infancy and early
What later will form your
“personality” is a blend of this
inborn temperament, your cultural influence and
The most heavily studied subject in temperament
(and most important IMO) is
the difference between extroverts and
The “man of action” and the “man
What’s An Introvert?
Opposite to popular belief is that introverts are
not marked by their shy, introspective character
(mainly) but they are the ones who score high on a
trait called “high-reactvity” which
they react more heavily to outside
than other people. Whether these are sounds,
scents, tastes, sights and touch (all the 5
The source for this difference can be found in the
amygdala of our brain which is part of the limbic
system (an evolutionary
ancient structure in the brain
– meaning it has been there a looong time
“Introverts” have more highly
Without going all-out nerd on you –
I’ll just explain it simply;
The amygdala is the part of the brain that
receives your sensory input (5 senses) and tells
the rest of the brain and the nervous system how
to respond. Introverts react more strongly to
sensory input because they
have excitable amygdalas.
Children with highly excitable amygdala have a
higher heart rate, dilated pupils, tighter vocal
chords, more cortisol in their saliva (stress
hormone) and have more rapid eye movements when
Why does this matter?
It indicates a lot about
the amount of stimulus a person enjoys.
You can see introversion and extroversion as a
“filter” from the outside world.
Introverts respond more heavily to stimuli which
“drains” their mental batteries. They
prefer calm environments to perform optimally and
“recharge”. They become bored less
Extroverts require higher level of stimulus to
perform optimally. They “come alive”
under people and heavy stimulating environments.
They are bored more easily.
The point is finding an environment that’s
suited to your desired level of stimulation so you
can perform optimally.
Alright, what’s the deal Simon? How come
they are this different and what’s the
advantage of this?
Origin Of Introverts
There’s no real advantage since this
sensitivity to stimulation is an
It allows two different survival strategies. (which has actually been found in other
vertebrates as well)
Survival Strategy 1: Increase Reproduction
The low-reactive (extrovert) is the go-getter in
the world, always geared to react with the stimuli
provided and has a thicker filter for the world
making him better suited to accommodate the
competing demands on his attention (BIG reason for
why they are so social). He likes to be in highly
stimulating environments and will perform best in
those. He gets bored more easily. He’s more
aggressive & outgoing. He has commonly more
sexual partners compared to introverts caused by
his gregarious nature.
“geared to react”
Survival Stategy 2: Increase Survival
The high-reactive has a thinner filter for the
world, taking in stimuli more deeply. These are
the ones that could spot danger faster than
others. The ones that observe and process their
environment more deeply which enabled them to
avoid many dangers, failures and wasted energy.
They process information to make optimal long-term
“geared to inspect”
Are You An Introvert?
A quick way to test if you’re a high
reactive/introvert is by squeezing a few drops of
lemon juice on your tongue and see how heavily you
react to that by producing saliva.
Compare it to your friends! (yeah, they’ll
probably give you a weird face)
Strengths Of Introverts
“Once you understand introversion as
preference for certain levels of stimulation,
you can begin consciously trying to position
yourself in environments favorable to your
The point of all this is finding a happy medium
between over-stimulation and boredom to function
Because introverts are more sensitive to stimuli
most likely to excel in theoretic
& aesthetic fields which provide a low
stimulating environment. Fields like music,
nature, art and physical beauty.
Here are some considerations you
might take into account;
Limit surprises and search for a highly
Find autonomous work
Reduce necessary social interactions to a
minimum to sustain clear focus (and not drain
your mental batteries)
Make a darkened work-environment without
Work with/on things instead of people (or
small-groups at the most)
Make time for reading, planning, analyzing,
writing and researching
Skip on small talk (you’ll most likely
hate dislike it anyway)
Select a small group of really close friends
instead of a lot of more superficial contacts.
Be open & put in some extra effort to stay
in touch. You’ll need them in the
Speak up more and let your ideas be heard
– They’re probably interesting
Jobs like programming, science fields, music,
bodybuilding (not really a job), writing,
inventing, financial planning, engineering (any
kind), investing, designing, consulting are
strong-suits for introverts.
NOTE: Temperament can be stretched
to do tasks we would normally refrain from (public
speaking, networking, parties, … ) IF
it’s about things we consider important.
It’s like a rubber band – which can be
stretched – but not indefinitely.
We still perform optimally under our biological
We’re getting pushed by society to be more
gregarious, take on more group work to stimulate
“creative thinking”. We encourage the
rapid decision-makers but don’t promote
Don’t listen – just position yourself
where your strengths are able to shine.
Here’s what I want you to take away;
Everyone has an inborn temperament but
there’s no such thing as biological
predispositions for certain skills (e.g.
You should choose your skills/job based on your
temperament (although you can stretch yourselves
in situations when it’s necessary.)
Team up with a member of the opposite
temperament to gain valuable insights and profit
To become an expert in a field (and you must)
I’d advice to choose something
you’re already good at (and you like) and
build on that. BUT if
it’s totally not suited to your
personality – switch. Introverts will
never be top-performing news anchors, party
hosts, pr managers or group coaches.
The point I’m trying to make is to play
according to your temperament to put yourself in
places that can be used to further develop your
I believe any skill can be learned trough practice
and there’s no such thing as inborn talent
but there are certain areas in which you excel
better because of your biological disposition.
And that’s exactly the advantage
Are You An Introvert? How Has It Influenced
Anyway, thanks for reading the article. If you
have some more questions or input – leave a
comment in the section below.