To the quiet ones: it’s time.
Time to show the rest of humanity how to thrive in our new, isolated world.
Life will not go back to normal after this. What is normal, anyway? Some studies suggest that for every two months we now think of as “normal,” we will need to practice two or three months of social distancing. The patterns you’re building now will be required for the future.
Dynamic leaders and charismatic speakers defined the last century. The heroes of 2020 will be the thinkers, the learners, the quiet ones. The world wasn’t ready to listen to introverts. It is now.
You can already tell this is the case. Who are we looking to now for peace and comfort? Scientists and professors. People who weren’t chasing followers or spotlights. Those who have spent their entire lives tucked away with books, studying. At least a few of those people knew something like COVID 19 was coming.
This virus thing moves around in silence, growing quietly. It makes sense that its opposite force is also quiet, methodical, and thorough: an introvert.
Relieved of big groups and meetings, extroverts will learn what we introverts have known all along: great work can be done in isolation.
If you’ve been online in the last few weeks, you’ve seen a lot of people reacting poorly to a life of social distancing. However, there’s a group that has barely been affected at all. The work of introverts will not be disturbed. There is no learning curve to overcome. There is no change in work style or schedule.
Those who succeed in the coming years will be those who were built for this time.
Before, you didn’t have to understand your technology because you could go bother Robert from IT. Now, Robert is at his home 50 miles away, and he’s also trying to figure out how to keep all the servers running despite the fact that the entire work force is in different places. So, you will have to figure out how to join a Zoom call on your own. We introverts solve our own problems because we don’t want to talk to anyone.
Before, you didn’t have to think about other people’s schedules because they were always sitting right there. Now, you will have to empathize enough to remember people’s lives. Sarah has 3 children, so she can’t be interrupted before noon. Zeke your designer moved 2 time zones away to take care of his sick mother, so he squeezes in his work mostly at night. Anne, your boss, wants to meet at 5 A.M. each morning to handle the crisis. Introverts already know how to manage this variety because we keep quiet and watch people.
Before, you didn’t have to reflect on your life because you could find noise to cover up the doubts and fears between your ears. Now, you can’t escape your own thoughts. The dark ones are scary, right? We introverts have been trying to handle them for years.
If you are an introvert, it’s time to double down on what you already do best. Learn. Listen. Study. Write. Think. Create deep bonds with only a few people.
If you’re an extrovert, stop talking. Watch the introverts. Keep your eyes on those of us who have been living in our heads and in our walls for as long as we can remember.
We will show you the way forward.
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