Shy And Successful: 11 Reasons Why The Introvert Has The Edge

by Dan Scotti

Sure, you might not have been the life of the party in high school. Maybe you've always waited for some girl to give you a wink, or at least a smile first, before introducing yourself.

You weren’t the quarterback of the football team and you weren’t the leading role in any school performance. You’re shy. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing.

Like your hair color, or your eye color, or your favorite food – it’s just one aspect of your livelihood that makes you, you. And you’re not alone.

According to Indiana University’s Research & Creative Activity department, 40 percent of Americans are in the same boat as you are: You all were probably just too shy to introduce yourselves and say hello.

Shy people have a lot more in common than timidness and the occasional awkward trip to the club on a weekend.

Although there’s a good chance you won’t be the most social at the office holiday bash in a few months, I’ve learned over time that being bashful will bestow you with a different edge.

You’re listening rather than talking...

Although shy people may not always let you in on it, we know what’s going on – and just because we're not talking, it definitely doesn’t mean we're not listening.

In fact, we're probably listening more carefully. You’d be surprised the things you can pick up on when you’re not worrying about where the spotlight is at a given moment.

...So you’re never backpedalling.

Sure, there are definite advantages to using that mouth of yours, but at the same time, it's important not to underestimate the situational power of a closed mouth.

While being extroverted about your own opinion can open up avenues for you to pursue certain opportunities, be wary of burning bridges along the way.

Not everyone will agree with you; hey, people have opinions – that’s how this life thing works.

But there may come a time where you might rub someone the wrong way because of something you said and then, bam! Two weeks later, you’re now jobless and left scratching your head.

The key to success is working towards the same goal with people who don’t share the same opinions as you. Shy people will be able to thrive in that setting.

They’re more self-aware.

Although you, and everyone else in the room, might find some kid at the bar boasting about himself to be annoying, it’s pretty likely that he won’t.

Science has told us that braggers will always underestimate how annoying they’re being when caught in the act. This study provides proof that “self-promoters” are less aware than their shier friends.

Observations are the key to success.

My 22 years have taught me that life is nothing more than a constant sequence of trials and errors. Nobody is perfect, and as much as everyone loves to tweet about living life “regret-free,” "nobody" doesn’t have regrets, either. At least not a few.

Shy people are always observing others in addition to themselves. They’ll be cognizant of the mistakes made by others and try to avoid making the same ones.

As for their own mistakes, shy people will be level-headed about their slip ups and observe ways to avoid repeating the same mistake down the road.

When they do talk, people will be more likely to listen.

It seems like every group of friends has the one “shy kid” who rarely comes out of his shell. But when he does, everyone welcomes it with open arms. I guess it’s like a less-is-more type of relationship.

Although shy people may appear to provide commentary at a premium, it doesn’t mean they have nothing to comment on – they just might not feel like commenting at the moment.

Ultimately, shy people aren’t mutes; they’re just shy. When shy people do feel like commenting, however, people will listen.

They’re less likely to make fools of themselves socially.

Nearly all people make a fool of themselves at one point or another – some more often than the rest. As I’m sure you can already assume, a little alcohol in one’s system surely doesn’t hinder the aforementioned statement, either.

Granted, it does sound a bit ridiculous, but shy people will typically NOT be the ones with their shirt off standing on top of the bar singing along to Taylor Swift. Hey, it’s real.

Social lives exist, and if one of your friends is very loud sober then there’s a good chance that when drunk, he becomes KINDA unbearable.

They’re mysterious, and that gives them an edge.

People who wear their hearts on their sleeves are usually passionate people, and passionate people typically become powerful people. That’s why certain people just appear to have that “it” factor and you can recognize it immediately.

With shy people, however, it’s far less difficult to gauge. Shy people are passionate too, it just might be that you aren’t fully let in on what they’re passionate about.

Subsequently, people won’t be able to see their cards -- at least not the ones they’re playing with. That mystery will provide them with an edge.

They’re more sensitive to the things around them.

A study done by Science Mag shows that shy people might not solely be extra-sensitive regarding potentially harmful things – like rejection – but also rewarding things, too.

According to psychologist Mauricio Delgado, increased activity in a neural area known as the striatum could be the underlying cause.

However, the irony of it all resides in the fact that Delgado notes this excess striatal activity might help shy people overcome the anxiety of stressful situations, but it won’t help them overcome their shyness!

They’re easier to trust.

People who talk often do just that: they talk OFTEN. This won’t necessarily welcome any secret tellers to come hither. Shy people, on the other hand, demonstrate restraint over their thoughts and proper filtration of their own words.

Shy people will always be more approachable, especially regarding important things not designed for the ears of the masses.

They might be "fidgety," but they also might be smarter.

When you see some shy kid sitting in the back of class, uncomfortably toying with his fingers, don't underestimate the motion of his mental gears. In fact, according to Lindsay Holmes, the "nervous habit" might also be linked to mental processing.

As part of the "cognitive load hypothesis," as explained by Holmes, when one's own "mental capacity" for problem solving and critical thinking reaches a maximum, the body will "dump" the excess cognitive load onto other systems of function, like bodily movement.

Therefore, nervous fidgeting could be a sign of some serious complex rationalization behind the scenes.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It