The Superpowers of Creative Introverts
Have you ever been asked what your superpower would be, if you were a superhero? I always struggled to pick between being able to fly and being invisible. The most introverted answers I can give: the two superpowers that would let me escape extroverted situations…
More than being a fun game to play when you’re six, this is a great question to ask yourself throughout life. Your superpowers don’t have to be extraordinary or win you any awards, let alone save the world… they are simply the abilities you have that come easier to you than most, and that energise you more than most.
Individually, they may not strike you as special at all – in fact, you might not be aware of them at all – but when you do identify them and start to harness them more, you start to see evidence of your true capabilities.
Stop focussing on your kryptonite!
Introverts tend to be especially critical of themselves, because of our tendency to focus inward so much. Unsurprisingly, treating yourself too critically can easily reduce your self-esteem. Low self-esteem makes life a lot more challenging. In short: you want to bolster your self-esteem, not tear it down.
It does serve us to be critical when it comes to honing our skills; being able to accurately assess where you’re at is one of the core ingredients to getting to where you want to go. But there will be nothing to assess and improve at without first acknowledging what your superpowers are.
Not sure what your superpowers are yet? That’s OK: here are some ideas to get the ball rolling, based on what we know about the nature of introverts.
1. You’re probably considerate of others
This is particularly helpful when it comes to communication with others. It means an introvert doesn’t give too much away and can be more deliberate and diplomatic in their speech.
It also makes us less quick to make judgements – which, when done without much thought, can land an extrovert in hot water.
However, overthinking can lead to unnecessary anxiety. Anxiety about speaking your mind can mean you appear closed off and distant to others and hinder real connection forming, which is vital for trust and forming long-lasting relationships.
2. You’re probably a deep-thinker
What they say has gone through a natural mental filter, which tests how accurate, important and appropriate something is.
This means that a 1-to-1 conversation can be very rich and full of depth, leading to more meaningful friendships.
The downside to this is that it takes a while for our thoughts to mature and develop to a state where we’re ready to let them out into the world. This is definitely a drawback in heated, fast-paced debates.
It also means on the whole we’re averse to small talk – but that doesn’t mean you’re a walking disaster at networking events. You can find out more about how to connect authentically as an introvert at this Masterclass on Self-Promotion for Creative Introverts.
3. You’re probably very focussed
You can pay close attention to those you are speaking to. Which is great if you’re speaking to one person, but even at a larger scale this will be appreciated. For example, a lecturer in a theatre will often be able to notice if there’s someone paying true attention to them: and this will mean a lot to them.
The problem is for introverts who in turn, also need to focus quite intensely in order to get a good understanding of something. This is particularly true for highly sensitive introverts who struggle to maintain focus in an overstimulating environment.
4. You’re probably super attentive
As a result of our focus, introverts also make for great at paying attention to others, making for great listeners. There is a difference between passive listening: which usually looks like someone who is purely being quiet out of politeness, and is really just waiting for their conversational partner to finish speaking. Active listening however looks like someone who has all their attention focussed on you, and who is getting ready not to just speak their own opinions or to steer the conversation in their own self serving direction, but to dig deeper into the last thing you said.
The downside is that introverts can also pay too much attention to what others are thinking about themselves: which can cause stress and anxiety when doing something that exposes you to the public.
The trick is to turn the spotlight around: practise caring less about what they think about you, and more about what you can offer them through your attentive gaze.
5. You’re probably highly independent
Since introverts enjoy working in solitude and often spend time by themselves, they learn to be pretty independent. Studies have shown that introverts work well when they are by themselves which allows them to become more independent. They are able to do things by themselves without depending on other people which makes them self-sufficient.
Compared to extroverts, who very much rely on the responses and feedback of others, introverts are less concerned with their outside world. This gives introverts greater ability to be selfless: to create from a place that is not driven by vanity or muddied by the opinions of others.
6. You’re probably quite empathic
They have the ability to tune into their communication partners and this is done through intuitive strength rather than using any sleazy influence tactics.
Mirror neurones are a real thing that both introverts and extroverts have, but could it be that introverts, are more able to tune into them?
Empathy is a great skill, whether it comes naturally to you or you learn to develop it. It means people are quicker to trust you and feel less threatened by you.