Susan Cain is on a mission to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of all. Through her work at quietrev.com and book titled Quiet, she’s enlightening the rest of the world about us, introverts. I have to admit I love the book Quiet, and I’ve probably read it twice already, but it got me thinking that if her work took hold and people started to understand introverts, we’ll lose the one competitive advantage we’ve held onto for so long; the tendency of others to underestimate us.
Calling it a competitive advantage might sound counter-intuitive in this modern life, because not only do people out there want to accomplish great things, what’s more important is they want others to know they’ve accomplished great things. So why do I think being underestimated or being a wallflower is a competitive advantage?
Let’s start with the HOW of WOW as defined by the blogger Michael Hyatt. “The essence of WOW is to exceed the customer’s current expectations.”
Maybe it’s because we’re quiet, or we tend to limit our interactions with people, or we don’t immediately speak our minds in group settings, other’s expectations of us can be quite low, so when you do something to exceed those expectations, we immediately become memorable. My earliest memory of others’ low expectation of me happened when I was really young. I was in the bus and I spoke to someone in Arabic, and they commented, “I didn’t know you spoke Arabic.” Someone else in the bus commented, “I didn’t know she spoke at all.”
There are many perks to being an introvert, but the main ones related to this topic are;
- The power is always on your side. In a competitive environment, people don’t exert themselves because they think you’re no threat.
- It’s simply amusing to watch others interact with each other using non-verbal communications assuming that you’re too dumb or blind to notice anything.
- You don’t really need the external validation. This is not to say that you don’t feel good when you get it but you don’t feel horrible when you don’t. Did that make sense?
So I’ll leave you with a quote from Sun Tzu’s Art of War,
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Tweet this
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