Thriving As An Introvert: Yaron Engler of On Being Men On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A…

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Thriving As An Introvert: Yaron Engler of ‘On Being Men’ On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts

Photo Credit: Casey Moore

Time and Space — The first and most straightforward piece of advice is to create time and space to be alone. It’s something I have to remind myself of often. So, that’s my initial suggestion: look for spaces, places, situations, or conversations that allow you to embrace your introverted side without feeling pressured. It might sound a bit peculiar, but sometimes during social events I’ll just go to the toilet, close the door, and stand there for a few moments, taking my time to recharge.

In a world that often rewards outspokenness and social networking, introverts can sometimes feel sidelined or overlooked. The workplace, educational institutions, and even social settings can often seem engineered to suit the strengths of extroverts, leaving introverts searching for a space to flourish.

However, introversion comes with its own set of unique strengths — deep thinking, the ability to focus, empathy, and keen observational skills — that are invaluable but often underestimated. The question then becomes: how can introverts not only survive but also thrive and succeed in environments that seem skewed towards extroversion? In this interview series, we are talking to introverts, business leaders, psychologists, authors, career coaches, organizational leaders, and other experts in the field who can talk about “How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts”. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Yaron Engler.

Yaron Engler is a facilitator, speaker, educator, and drummer. He is the Founder of On Being Men ( , a space that enables men to tackle real-life problems, grow personally, and succeed by promoting open communication and finding their life’s purpose. He has been involved in artistic and educational projects across Europe, the USA, Asia, and Australia, and he was a featured speaker at TEDxJaffa.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us your “Origin Story”? Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Israel with my two parents and my older sister. Childhood was great, but at the age of 10, I changed schools, and that’s when I started to face some challenges. It was around this time that I began to feel like I didn’t quite fit in with everyone else, who seemed to effortlessly blend in social situations and in school.

For instance, I remember around the age of 13, during my teenage years, how my friends began going to parties and clubs meant for people our age, and they always wanted me to go with them. I didn’t want to go. I felt a complete lack of interest, combined with a strange sense of missing out. Part of me wanted to join them and be a part of the fun, especially when I saw the excitement on their faces. But when I pictured myself in those places, it was the last thing I wanted to do. A few times, just to avoid feeling left out, I went along, but it only confirmed my discomfort. I truly didn’t like it.

This feeling of not fitting in continued to appear throughout my life. I remember entering new social circles, where some guys appeared to have known each other for a decade, while I struggled to figure out even the basic aspects of joining the conversation. I mean, I was literally unsure of how to position myself physically to engage with the others.

These challenges happen even today. I’ve always managed to form deep connections and make close friends, but it takes time and a quieter environment for me to truly connect. Places that are crowded and noisy have always posed a challenge for me which is quite strange for people who know me as I am a drummer and quite known to be be not the most quiet guy… For many years, I thought there was something wrong with me, but with time, I’ve come to accept that I’m simply an introvert. In fact, I’ve come to realise that there’s something profoundly valuable in being an introvert. Over the years, I’ve discovered that the connections I build with other introverts often run much deeper than those with more outgoing individuals who have an immediate sparkle about them.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do professionally, and what brought you to this specific career path?

I’m juggling two careers simultaneously. The first is as a touring drummer, a dream I had since I was a young boy. I’ve had the privilege of touring worldwide with some incredible productions and alongside great people. Most of my work has revolved around renowned dance companies like Rambert, Akram Khan, and Hofesh Shechter. The most recent adventure was touring with “Peaky Blinders — The Redemption of Tommy Shelby,” which was great fun. Despite the many challenges on the path, I’ve managed to turn my passion for drumming into a fulfilling career.

My second career started just over a decade ago when I became a father. Suddenly, the demands of touring and constant travel seemed more daunting, and my enthusiasm for doing just music started to drop. This became a turning point for me. I began asking myself: What do I genuinely want to do? What is my true new purpose?

This led to a journey of introspection, reflecting on the elements of my career that truly resonated with me and left a profound impact. While performing at venues like the Sydney Opera House and entertaining large audiences had moments of some glamour and gratification, it didn’t hold a special place in my heart. The moments that truly mattered were the intimate ones, where I engaged in workshops and community projects. Through music, I connected with people’s inner qualities, minds, and mindsets, and helped them see themselves in a more positive light.

I’ll never forget a workshop we conducted in Hastings, here in the UK, where a participant held just a cowbell and a stick. We formed a deep connection, and it was clear that she had discovered something profound within herself — her own self-belief and confidence. I could literally see the transformation in her eyes, and these moments often moved me to tears. There were numerous other instances with students and community projects where I could see the profound impact of working with people to help them improve their self-perception.

In that period I discovered the world of coaching and in 2014, I was introduced to the concept of men’s groups and men’s work. Although I didn’t fully grasp the concept initially, I met some men who were engaged in it which I saw as inspiring role models of masculinity, something I had been missing in my life. They embodied a unique blend of strength, purpose, and emotional depth that felt strangely familiar, and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my life. As a result, I created “On Being Men” which provides a challenging yet nurturing space for men interested to find confidence, clarity, and courage to live life on their own terms. This is my life’s mission.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Thriving As An Introvert. In order to make sure that we are all on the same page, let’s begin with a simple definition. What does “Introvert” mean to you?

For me, an introvert is someone who requires a fair amount of alone time to recharge themselves. A simple example of this is my experience at social events. There is a moment when I just need to find a place where there are no people, even if it’s often just the toilet. It’s not that I don’t want to interact with others, or that I have some kind of social phobia. It’s simply a consistent need for solitary moments to reflect and get grounded.

Another way to describe an introvert is someone who lives life from the inside out. This means that external distractions have less influence than the desire to spend time in reflection or engage in deeper and more meaningful conversations with people.

Can you help articulate a few of the challenges that come with being an introvert?

One significant challenge for introverts is the feeling that there’s something wrong with them. We exist in environments and situations that are tailored to make introverts feel out of place. Whether it’s the cinema with its multitude of screens, popcorn, and sugar, or the gym with its 76 TV screens on each wall, everything around is bubbly and noisy. It feels like everything is designed to pull us out of our own selves. Even when we step outside onto the streets, there’s advertising everywhere, and the default option for socializing often involves going to a pub for a drink. It’s a world that values external experiences above all else. Going out is typically viewed as a positive thing, and if you express a desire to stay home, as I often did as a child, people may question you with a “Why? What happened?”.

We live in a culture where engaging in meaningful small talk is considered to be more normal than simply being quiet. People can chatter endlessly about trivial matters, with little genuine interest in the conversation, and that’s considered more normal than two introverts sharing a quiet moment with a smile. Even though nothing may be said aloud, there’s often a profound conversation happening within.

Unfortunately, many introverts never reach the point of understanding that it’s perfectly fine to be themselves. Once you find peace within yourself and you connect with someone else who appreciates you as an introvert, it can lead to beautiful, humorous, deep, beautiful, and loving connections. So, yes, the first and possibly biggest challenge is the deep feeling that something is wrong with you. There isn’t.

Another challenge for introverts relates to understanding boundaries. When you enter a relationship, you’re almost automatically granting someone access to your personal space. If you don’t know how to establish clear boundaries, it can result in conflict. Especially if the other person doesn’t understand your need for space and interprets it as rejection, it can lead to misunderstandings and tension in the relationship.

Another major challenge for many introverts is that their voices often go unheard. Be it in a business meeting or a gathering where opinions are shared, introverts tend to wait patiently instead of pushing themselves into the conversation. Unless there’s a strong leader who ensures everyone gets a chance to speak, introverts’ voices can be drowned out, which is unfortunate because they often possess a reflective and observant perspective which can be super valuable. This is one of the reasons I’m passionate about the work we do at “On Being Men”; it provides everyone with an opportunity to share and speak.

I’m sure that being an introvert also gives you certain advantages. Can you tell us a few advantages that introverts have?

Well, one very obvious one happened in 2020 when COVID kicked in and suddenly everybody had to stay isolated at home. This situation was a paradise for an introvert like me. I absolutely loved it, yet I know that for many extroverts it was really challenging.

Another advantage of being an introvert is the ability to create truly deep human connections with others. The extroverted way may seem exciting, but it often feels like a way to avoid diving deep into meaningful connections. I believe everyone craves profound connections, and introverts have a unique capacity for deep empathy and understanding of what’s really happening in a relationship.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being an introvert? Can you explain what you mean?

The biggest myth, as I mentioned earlier, is the belief that we introverts have nothing to say. When I lead workshops or work with groups, there are those who speak up and those who stay quiet. It’s easy to assume that the quiet ones have nothing to share or don’t want to share, but this is a big mistake because many individuals who appear reserved actually have a wealth of insights to offer; it’s just that the circumstances may not be the right ones for them to do so.

Another myth is that introverts are inherently shy. I don’t believe that introverts are necessarily shy. If they come across as shy, it’s often a result of the environment not aligning with their needs. When the conditions are right, and they feel truly heard, introverts are more than willing to express themselves and share their thoughts. There are often super valuable insights into what they have to say.

Similarly, the misconception that introverts prefer to be alone is not accurate. Introverts crave connection, but it’s a deep connection they seek. They prefer being alone to engaging in shallow interactions. When they are provided with the opportunity for meaningful connection, introverts can thrive and truly come into their own.

Do you have any role models who are also introverts? What have you learned from them that can help introverts navigate the challenges and benefits of introversion?

Hofesh Shechter, a choreographer I’ve had the privilege of working with for many years and who’s also a good friend, has been a significant role model for me as an introvert. He holds a special place in my heart because he’s guided me to view life from a unique perspective. I see him as a “mega introvert” who has become reasonably famous, and as a result, he has to constantly interact with many people and the press. I know that this level of exposure can be quite challenging and demanding for him, but he does it because he understands that it’s an essential part of fulfilling his purpose. I know he’d let go of this part if he could.

Seeing his path taught me a lot about the fact that living with purpose is not always a smooth or effortless journey. It has taught me the importance of accepting aspects of the path that may not be enjoyable or easy and that despite all those obstacles I need to keep going.

Photo Credit: Casey Moore

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the “Five Things Introverts Need To Thrive & Succeed In A Society That Seems To Favor Extroverts”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

1) Time and Space

The first and most straightforward piece of advice is to create time and space to be alone. It’s something I have to remind myself of often. So, that’s my initial suggestion: look for spaces, places, situations, or conversations that allow you to embrace your introverted side without feeling pressured. It might sound a bit peculiar, but sometimes during social events I’ll just go to the toilet, close the door, and stand there for a few moments, taking my time to recharge.

2) Boundaries

Become really skilled at creating boundaries that give you the freedom to recharge when you require it. For example, have an honest conversation with your intimate partner and explain your need for alone time, making it clear that it’s not a reflection on them. It’s simply your way of reenergising. Help them understand that this solo time will actually enhance the quality of the time you spend together.

Same goes for the workplace. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to recharge — even a quick walk or a few deep breaths can help. If it works for your job, aim at having more flexible hours or even working from home occasionally. Explain to the people involved that this helps you become more efficient and productive. And remember, setting boundaries is something you’ll get better at over time, and it’s all about finding that balance that works for you.

3) Remember that there’s nothing wrong with you

Embrace your strengths and what makes you unique by connecting with other introverts. This can help you overcome that feeling that there’s something wrong with you just because you find small talk or socialising a bit tough. You’re not alone in this, and it’s much more fulfilling to be yourself instead of trying to be someone you’re not. Seek out fellow introverts for deeper, more genuine connections and relationships that really matter. You’ll discover a lot of positive energy in these connections.

You can also read or listen to books that resonate with you and help you understand yourself better. I’d suggest checking out “Courage” by Osho which emphasises that there’s nothing wrong with you and sheds light on the problems with all the noise in the world around us. The key is to educate yourself from a perspective that there’s nothing that needs “fixing.” It’s about embracing who you are.

4) Discover and live your purpose

Discover your purpose and understand that it’s a crucial part of your life. The way I see it, an introvert is someone who looks inward for answers, and this can give you a deeper connection to your purpose. Instead of trying to fit into someone else’s expectations, introverts can use their alone time to really figure out who they are and what they want from life. It’s a rewarding journey, full of meaning. This applies to everyone, but introverts might get there a bit faster. Consider it one of your strengths, your superpower.

5) Trust your gut feeling

You’ve probably noticed that there are some people you can connect with very quickly. There’s something in their eyes that transmits a profound self-awareness. When you encounter someone like this and make eye contact, you immediately sense that there’s a deep connection present, and you don’t need to say anything; it’s just there. Somehow, it goes beyond mere friendship. Trust your gut feeling when you notice it. Allow yourself to use and refine that radar because these types of connections will make you feel really good.

How should an introvert navigate social relationships and networking, activities that are often touted as extroverts’ forte? Do you have any advice for introverts in these areas?

A simple thing you can do is to research events before attending. Understand the event’s values, setup, and the type of people who will be there. Define your own objectives for these networking opportunities. Knowing why you’re there and how it aligns with your goals makes it easier to start conversations.

Another simple thing to do is to reach out to event organizers, even if it means discussing your concerns. In well-supported events, organizers are often willing to assist by connecting you quicker to relevant people.

Another more courageous approach is to flip things around a bit especially when it comes to networking events. What I mean is that instead of attending networking events as a participant, you can go as a speaker. When you are on stage and speaking, you’re viewed with a certain level of authority, and it becomes easier to initiate conversations. People perceive you as an expert, which can prompt them to approach you for discussions.

And after all that and although it may feel uncomfortable, just take the plunge and initiate conversations. Embrace your uniqueness and start by acknowledging your challenge. Use your discomfort as a tool to connect with others. Avoid trying to conform; instead, be authentic to yourself. Use your introvert radar to identify individuals who may share your challenge, and share a smile. This can create an instant, deeper connection with someone facing similar hurdles. You can start the conversation mentioning that you’re an introvert and that this is a challenge for you. In most cases this could lead to a very interesting conversation.

What are some practical tips you can offer to introverts who want to succeed in the workplace, which is often geared towards extroverted behaviors?

We already discussed this a bit earlier but basically if you have a job, it’s because you bring something valuable to the table, so now you can see how within your workplace you can start to apply those ideas. You might be able to create all of them straight away but start from the first one that seems most tangible.

Keep it practical. For example, if you feel more at ease sitting in a quiet corner during meetings, don’t hesitate to express this preference or make sure you come early enough to take the space that will bring the most out of you. The more clearly you communicate, the better the chance of creating a work environment where you can truly excel. It might feel a bit odd or uncomfortable initially, but it will lead to a better reality for yourself and as a result a better outcome for the company you work for. It’s really important to spend some time understanding what your needs actually are so that you can convey them to the people around you with clarity that can lead to better outcome.

Have you noticed any specific ways that being an introvert affects mental health or overall well-being? Any tips for introverts to maintain good mental health?

It comes back to the point of self-acceptance and a deep understanding that there’s nothing wrong with you. Trust your inner voice, understand your needs, and learn how to communicate them to the people around you, both at work and at home. Read articles, books, or find relevant YouTube videos that will help you see that there’s no problem with being an introvert and that there are actually many benefits that come with it.

And I guess, if we’re talking about mental health, it’s important to mention the difference between being alone and feeling lonely. As mentioned earlier, for an introvert, being alone is bliss. It creates a feeling of safety, energy, calmness, focus, and warmth. But there’s a fine line between this and feeling lonely. Loneliness has a different texture. It comes with sadness and a sense of emotional disconnection. So, if you’re feeling lonely, reach out to people. This could be friends or family, attending social events either online or offline, or maybe consider volunteering somewhere.

Another good thing to do is to build connections with other introverted people because they will be there for you in moments of loneliness with deeper understanding and empathy if you need it.

In your opinion, are societal views on introversion changing? If so, how do you think this impacts introverts positively or negatively? Can you please explain what you mean?

I think that at least in the UK, there is more openness to different approaches. For example many shared workplaces are designed to accommodate different working styles. There are more quiet spaces for individual work as well as larger boardroom-style desks, just as an example. It does seem that there’s more understanding to the fact that we can’t approach everything and everyone in a one-dimensional way.

I can also see it at my kid’s school where they have designated quiet rooms for kids who might need some time away from the crowd. My kids have used these spaces several times and it really helped them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There is a phrase that I created for myself which I live by, and I think it is very much about accepting my introverted nature. It goes like this:

“Lead with your heart and let your head follow instead of leading with the head and living a life of regret in your heart.”

I have always been observing the choices people make in life, and I’ve noticed that those those who live in their heads and put their hearts in second place create quite a rigid reality, which, to me, feels like an unpleasant route to regrets in the long run. I strongly believe that we are here to love and be loved, so this rigid path doesn’t seem attractive to me. On the other hand, people who lead from their hearts create warmth and love, and I connect with them much more. I truly believe that this kind of life is also much more courageous. The thing is, the mind does have an important role. It needs to serve the heart because the heart alone can get very chaotic and disorganised. So yes, I let the heart lead my choices, direction, and purpose, and then the mind is there just behind, to make sure everything is going in the right direction and makes sense.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’ve already launched my movement, which is exactly what “On Being Men” is about and we’re aiming to reach 8 million men. Imagine the positive impact these men, growing in clarity, confidence, courage, and self-awareness, can have. It’s an ideal space for introverted men who often lose themselves in a world dominated by extroverted role models to discover their power and build strength infused with empathy. We provide spaces for genuine conversations and transformative practices that lead to continuous growth. With more men on board, we’ll create a ripple effect that will benefit not only the men themselves but also their families, communities, and society as a whole.

And as an important side note, there’s one person I really want to speak with about this project and that is Steven Bartlett. I believe he would genuinely understand what we’re doing and will be able to help the vision of “On Being Men” come to life. So I’m sharing this here to create the ripple effect that will make that connection happen.

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Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thriving As An Introvert: Yaron Engler of On Being Men On How Introverts Can Thrive & Succeed In A… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.