Can an Introvert find happiness in America?

by Bella

I’m not going to complicate my life by taking on a job that doesn’t suit my personality even if it does pay more. I know who I am now and what I want from life. Everything changed once I embraced being an introvert.

I was recently offered a job that pays 50% more than what I currently earn, which isn’t much, and I turned it down. I’m an introvert who knows how to blend exceptionally well into our extroverted world. The job was definitely suited for an extrovert and was totally wrong for me. Fortunately, I know that more money ≠ happiness, and that working in a job that’s well suited to who I am does.

Employers like to take advantage of my people skills by putting me in positions that require more time dealing with people than my introverted personality can handle. In the past, I didn’t know that I was introverted. I’d worked so hard on fitting in as an extrovert that I had even fooled myself. Because I was good with people, I kept accepting positions that put me in constant contact with them, and inevitably, I would burn out. 

Introverts need time away from people, time to think and recharge their batteries. Despite the negative connotation that our society puts on introverts by labeling us anti-social, loners and worse, there’s nothing wrong with us. In fact we play an important role in our society. We are the thinkers, and the extroverts are the doers. We’re just two side of the same coin, each equally important.

A couple of years ago, I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, and it helped me to understand who I am and how to make the best of my skills as an introvert. I highly recommend the book to introverts and extroverts alike. Susan Cain does a brilliant job of explaining how and why America and much of the western world has come to value extroversion. If you haven’t got the time to read the book, you can get the concise version by listening to her Ted Talk on the subject.

So many things about me make so much more sense after reading her book, not only my career strengths, but also how I choose to live, my creative endeavors and my personal relationships. I have found my way in this extroverted world and found a place where my introversion is valued.

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