Are people with high IQs more commonly introverted?

Many high IQ, high profile people certainly seem introverted.

Albert Einstein believed a quiet life to be essential to having a creative mind.

Bill Gates is considered an introvert, but he is not shy.*

Warren Buffet, despite being a great storyteller, had to overcome his fear of public speaking.

On the other hand, many famous historical figures, also with high IQs, were considered extroverts:

Leo Tolstoy.

Pablo Picasso.

Winston Churchill.

Steve Jobs.

Why do we then tend to see high IQ people as more introverted? A lot of it has to do with their behavior:

  • Alone time. Whatever their field of study or work, they need to devote time to do the research, create original work, become better at what they set out to do. To do all of it, they need to spend large stretches of time on their own.
  • Deep work. To make progress towards achieving a goal they set for themselves, they devote a good part of their day (and often night) to uninterrupted work, making them unavailable to other people’s calls, emails, and requests for conversation.
  • Laser focus. Regardless of whether they’re doing analytical or creative work, their focus allows them to observe, learn, process information, engage in critical thinking, and create something that is original. They prefer to complete these activities in a solitary environment to maximize their concentration.
  • Achieving mastery. People with high IQs don’t view their intelligence simply as a gift of nature. They know that to optimize it they also need to cultivate it regularly: they get strategic with their goals, they plan out what they need to do, and then they do their work consistently and independently, every single day. For them, moving forward is not a temporary condition; it is a lifestyle.

*Contrary to popular belief, introversion and shyness are not one and the same. Shy people have trouble with social interactions, but they seek them out and place a high value on them. Introverts, on the other hand, are not averse to social engagement, however they tend to become overwhelmed when they’re exposed to too much social activity, so often they withdraw to spend more time by themselves.


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