Autonomy can be a form of power.
Modern society likes to glorify the extrovert and shame the introvert. Higher social status is regularly given to well-liked people with lots of friends. Thus, extroverts often make better first impressions because picture the extrovert as more confident, open and friendly.
The culture of glorifying extroversion is designed to encourage it. But why? Because knowledge is power. There is a quote from the popular show Game of Thrones by Lord Baelish a.k.a “Littlefinger” that says: “A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always keep your foes confused, if they don’t know who you are, what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next”.
The quote from Littlefinger describes the biggest fears people have of introverts. The fear of not really knowing who they are, what they want, what they think or what their intentions are. This can make introverts intimidating to some people because they seem harder to pin down and relate to.
Ultimately, this speaks to how restless and uncomfortable people can get in social situations where things are not always open, obvious and apparent. The typical sheep will find anyone deviating from status quo social expectations to be threatening, odd or intimidating.
However, society needs most people to be sheep to avoid complete chaos. And historically, the human race has thrived due to strong social bonds and trust. But, while teamwork can improve efficiency for the group, it can also suppress and limit the individual.
Michael Jackson remains a great example of the lone wolf due to his extreme individualism. His career started as a member of “The Jackson 5”. However, he only become an international superstar after he broke away from the group and followed his own path. We see similar examples of this with people like Justin Timberlake, Billy Idol, Phil Collins, Beyoncé, and many more.
The group will always try to suppress the unique traits of the individuals within it. This is exactly what’s happening when people have negative reactions to introverts and loners. The “group” is working to attack, shame, and suppress the unique traits of the individual.
The advantage the lone wolf has in the world is agility, flexibility, and wisdom. Solitude allows a person time to think, plan and reflect without outside “noise” pushing them in a certain direction. It can make a person more productive and efficient in whatever they choose to do. Think of it like ordering a pizza by yourself rather than trying to order a pizza in a large group of people. In the group, everyone has to agree on the size of the pizza and what toppings it will have. The process takes longer, and everyone must compromise.
When you order your own pizza, the process is fast and easy. You also get exactly what you want. No compromise needed. You are free to experiment with different toppings. Maybe you create an odd combination of toppings that turns out to be amazing, but would have been rejected in a group setting.
Separating from the group allows time for creativity and focus. More importantly, it allows time for clean and original thinking without the judgement or preferences of the group. This can lead to greater self-knowledge, higher levels of wisdom, and a stronger understanding of exactly who you are and what you want.
Once the individual knows exactly who they are and what they want, they are in a much better position to thrive in the world and join groups of people who help their cause rather than sheepishly following groups of people who limit their cause. This may ultimately lead to having stronger and healthier social bonds.
The lone wolf can enjoy a life of purpose that comes from within. The lone wolf spends their life working towards their own cause. As a result, they are more flexible and adaptable to change as well as being more self-reliant and resilient. The lone wolf is better able to plan for the further and position themselves properly for coming change.
The sheep, on the other hand, spends their life following someone else’s cause. The sheep is often ill prepared for rapid change because the sheep is not self-reliant. Rather, the sheep relies on the group for safety and protection. When something strikes the shepherd, the sheep is left lost, confused and vulnerable. A perfect target for a well-prepared wolf.