Then it occurred to me that at the very basic level, God created two kinds of people. There are those who are mainly talkers, and then there are the listeners. Why is that you ask? Imagine for a moment if we all were talkers. Then who would we talk to? On the flip side, if we had mainly listeners, then who would we listen to? With this realization, I accepted that I am the listening type and others are the talker types. And we both need each other.
In our society, broadly speaking, talkers are thought of as extroverts and listeners as introvert. With this said, I wondered, while we introverts don't talk much, what do we do that makes us special? Why did God make us for He doesn't make anything without a purpose? As I reflected on these questions, 5 overarching reasons came to my mind. They are:
- Natural Listeners: Have you ever wanted, needed to talk to someone who would give you undivided attention, really listen to what you have to say without interrupting or cutting you off, patiently take the time to understand you and your views? This is one of the areas where introverts really shine because since they are not talkers, they are naturally great at listening, both to what you say and also to what you don't say.
- Discoverers and Problem Solvers: When I think about many of the scientists, researchers, engineers, mathematicians, technology types, I find many of them are introverts. They have immense patience to quietly persist, focus intensely, think in depth and pay attention to the smallest details as well as at the same time see the big picture and the interconnectedness. They can go in great depths in to specific subjects and stick to it for long long periods of time, which is what is often required to come up with something new, and to solve complex problems. In fact, my observation is that many of our subject matter experts, particularly in technical and scientific areas, tend to be introverts.
- Knowledge Bearers and Sharers: I find many introverts, possessing strong writing skills, patiently sit at their computers putting out journal articles, blog posts, publications, books and so on. All this serves to educate and inform. That in turn influences decisions, actions and ultimately outcomes for many.
- Natures Glue: Introverts in my experience don't like too much change. As result, whether it has to do for example with a job, a project, relationship, a business, introverts prefer to stick. Having the desire for predictability and stability, they prefer to stay for long periods and as a result serve as a stabilizing force. They also serve as a calming presence for they don't get overly excited too easily, and they tend to think before they talk. In today's uncertain fast changing climate, such calmness that introverts naturally exude is so welcomed and so refreshing, at least to me as an introvert.
- Strong Long-Range Planners: Introverts don't tend to jump into new areas very quickly. While this can be a disadvantage in crisis situations (areas where I find extroverts tend to be stronger), when it comes to long-range planning, creating order out of chaos, solving complex problems, introverts are generally very strong. They can patiently think ahead, develop and analyze options, identify gaps and problem areas before they become costly mistakes, and come up with solutions and alternative approaches. Many times because they are such patient thinkers, they have the strong ability to also sit back, reflect, see the big picture and identify how various pieces connect.