Are you secretly – or even unknowingly – an introvert trying to adapt in an extrovert-favored world?
Studies show that one-third to one-half of Americans are introverted.
But given the overriding “culture of personality” – which does not value introversion and all its positive qualities – you may be constantly trying to live up to the “extrovert ideal”. In fact, you may not even fully realize or accept that you are an introvert at heart.
In the second grade, I receive an honorary certificate – gold stars and all – for having read 32 books. That’s likely a sign of my true disposition. But as an adult, I took on high stress, high profile jobs that were not necessarily a good fit for an introvert, who typically needs to retreat periodically from over-stimulation.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Cannot Stop Talking by Susan Cain took my breath away Just a few pages in, it became a life changing read for me. Cain shares this aspiration as a core purpose of her book:
If there is only one insight you take away from this book, though, I hope it’s a new found sense of entitlement to be yourself.
In Quiet, Cain shares the cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology that underpins our current understanding of introversion, turning on one light bulb after the other as she proceeds.
Introversion is not black or white. Some introverts are shy, but others are not. Some are highly sensitive, but others less so. Introversion and extroversion lie on a spectrum and you may sit at the far end or closer to the middle. On top of that, you may be able to consciously and effectively turn on extroverted qualities in moderated doses.
Quiet makes a compelling case for the urgency of finding balance as individuals and as a world. Cain paints of clear picture of how world-shattering events like environmental travesty and stock market crashes can emerge from a system dominated by extroverted urges.
This book is about introversion as seen from a cultural point of view. Its primary concerns is the age-old dichotomy between the “man of action” and the “man of contemplation,” and how we could improve the world if only there were a greater balance of power between the two types.
Although this is not predominantly a self-help book, the information, research, and insights Cain shares will help you accentuate the beneficial aspects of being an introvert. At the same time, you will learn ways to protect yourself from over-stimulation in a turned on world. However, if you are already comfortable as an introvert and familiar with research on the topic, it’s possible the book will not resonate for you in the same way it did for me.
I found Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Cannot Stop Talking a very potent. If you are curious you can also read a synopsis of some of the key points Cain presents on introversion in Quiet and Society’s Extroversion Bias at this ~ this space.
Or plunge right in and watch this 19-minute video The Power of Introverts with Susan Cain. I was riveted the entire time.
Where are you on the introversion – extroversion scale? Is it where you are meant to be? Are you comfortable there?
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