Reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking certainly leads to thinking about the world we live in, our own ladders of inference and the value we place on personality.
I encourage you to watch her TED Talk – link below.
I am a firm believer that we all need to be true to ourselves, who we are at our core. Only by being true to our core can we be our BEST selves.
In her four-part book, Susan Cain walks the reader through what she calls the historical change in the U.S. from a “culture of character to a culture of personality”; the "ideal" extrovert persona; the biological differences between introverts and extroverts; the role of nature vs. nurture; the role of free will; how introverts and extroverts think and act differently and why; when introverts should act more extroverted, and, in conclusion, encourages everyone to be true to themselves – to find their center.
She provides an introvert/extrovert assessment – the more trues the more of an introvert you are, the more falses, the more of an extrovert you are. If you have an equal number of true and false responses, then you are an "ambivert."
I am an ambivert and found this book to be an easy read, insightful and thought-provoking.
Did you know that Dale Carnegie was an introvert? He grew up a farm boy, went into sales and became a public-speaking icon during the rise of the extrovert ideal.
Did you know that Dr. Seuss was an introvert? In fact, he rarely went out to meet children for fear that he would disappoint them with his reserved personality.
On Susan Cain’s website she has a manifesto. Below are a few statements worth pondering:
- Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
- Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.
- “Quiet Leadership” is not an oxymoron.
- “In a gentle way, you can shake the world,” - Ghandi
She has three calls to action:
- To stop the madness of group work/group think.
- To go to the wilderness more – unplug and get outside of our heads.
- Look inside our suitcase (our personal bag of books) – what do we have in there, and why? Share more of what you have in your suitcase.
In conclusion, some thoughts:
Are we creating environments that have the right balance of group work, and brainstorming, as well as individual creativity and innovation? What do we need to do better on this front?
Do we make getting out of our heads a non-negotiable in our lives, making getting out in nature a priority to recharge?
Do we share what we are interested in? If not, why? Do we think others won’t be interested, or do we not make time for it?
Find your core, be true to it, don’t let the predominant culture dictate who you should be.
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