What kind of life in society is considered a success? In obituaries we see ‘was a great person/parent’ and all kinds of statements, but never do we see ‘This person was successful. In their time alive, they accomplished all the most important things in life.”
How are we to be successful anyway according to the mass society all around us? Upon examination it seems nearly impossible.
Even if one has a happy marriage and great relations with all their family members, maybe they have difficulty getting along with their boss at work because of all the time spent with loved ones instead of work.
Even if one does great at work and is the boss’s favorite, maybe they’re workaholics distant from their spouse and family. They’ve done well at the office because they put in those necessary extra hours.
One area of excellence excludes another in a competitive environment and yet extrovert ‘success’ requires excelling in every one of them.
The result is a society of illusion where everyone strives to appear to have the best of everything in their lives. One’s most publicly visible assets, a house and car are naturally the most important means of deception.
Though extroverts try to wake introverts up to ‘reality,’ they in fact live in a fairy tale land of their own making where every family has its own castle and magic carpet. The price of illusion is a lifetime of servitude to the image they wish to project. Never having known anything else, they are driven by vague notions of ‘success’ that they thrust on everyone around them in turn. They devote themselves entirely and without question, but do they ever really reach ‘success?’
Many introverts out of desperation go looking for ways to become more extroverted, but would ‘success’ in converting necessarily be salvation. Even if one got more resources and recognition by becoming extroverted would one have eliminated the ability to experience happiness from these gains? Would one end up lost in the maze of social comparisons, only happy or sad as others seem worse or better off?
To feel anything other than unfulfillment as an extrovert, one must hurry to have(or the appearance of having) a steady and loving marriage/relationship, a steady, highly paid, emotionally fulfilling job, a house, cars, an active social life, a fulfilling family life, a solid benefits and retirement package, above average, well-behaved children.
These criteria might even sound fairly ordinary but most people never come close to actually achieving them, even if they appear to do so. It’s difficult to maintain marriage, family, friends, children when working a job that actually pays and provides benefits. Even if one gets benefits, not many people can spend long enough in a single job to really benefit from them. Even if one actually has the qualifications and social contacts to get one of these salary jobs, it’s still not enough to really pay for a house and cars, just for the appearance of being able to pay for them. Even in the best of worlds where someone manages to somehow have all the bases covered, it’s an exhausting, stressful, demanding, noisy life to live. Even in this best case scenario, this is the bare minimum one must do in the mass Western society before one has permission to be even moderately happy or successful.
In the current social climate, it takes an introvert to step back and realize that real life is by nature messy and imperfect. That one can’t ‘have it all.’ That succeeding in one thing usually means sacrifice in another.
Once one starts asking questions, the whole idea of extrovert ‘success’ is sadly delusional. Happiness or sadness is all about expectations.
If one has unrealistic expectations, one can never really end up happy. Success ends up being a theoretical ideal to which one tries to mold themselves. Happiness is distant and intangible.
If one has realistic expectations, happiness is fairly easy to come by. Success lies in making one’s peace with an imperfect, chaotic, transitory life. Happiness is immediate and obtainable in our everyday lives.
The extrovert path to happiness and success is long, complicated, and comes with no guarantees.
The introverted path allows the possibility of happiness so long as one has clothes to wear, food to eat, and people to bond with.
It all goes back to a fundamental difference.
Loud things are grandiose, convoluted, and bloated
Subtle things are elegant, simple, and minimalistic