I was born and lived in extroverted societies and communities. I grew up in an over-protective family. I started to think that the world did not seem designed for me. It expected a cheerful, playful, and communicative boy. And since I wanted to please those around me, I tried to match those expectations. It was not an easy endeavor, and I was not often successful at it.
Little by little, I noticed that there were other quiet, shy people in the world and in my life. Somehow, I did not identify with them and did not use them as role models. I wanted to be an extrovert instead, just like the world thought I should be and could be. If only I stopped being so “lazy.” Much later in life, I came to the realization that being an introvert was just another way of being in this world and that many good role models for humanity and in my life are, were, and forever will be introverts.
A number of my teachers were introverts. In fact, the best of them were introverts. From them, I learned the most. They were sensitive to my ignorance-driven curiosity and cared about my learning. I felt secure with them. They did not expect me to be cheerful.
The IT field, where I spent my professional career, is filled with introverts. They are the best professionals in their fields: knowledgeable, detail-oriented, and hardworking people. With them, I did and managed the best projects of my career. I held them in high esteem, and they also held me in high esteem, even when I was their manager.
At some point in my life, I felt I had overcome all the shortcomings of being an introvert in this business world of ours. But looking back today, I feel they were not really shortcomings but traits that made me the respected professional I was—solid traits that made those teachers the best in my world and gentle traits that made those shy coworkers of mine the best coworkers I could ever wish for. I am convinced of it now. I wish I had figured it all out way back then! But I am still learning.