Have you ever felt awkward when it comes to speaking up? Felt more tired than energized from a social situation? Then perhaps you too are an introvert. 50% at least of us are, but according to this book by author Susan Cain, many of us deny our nature to the overall detriment of society.
In Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Cain argues the virtue of the introspective self by demonstrating how Western society became the land of the Extrovert Ideal. This idolizing of extroverted qualities: gregariousness, lack of caution, excitedness, etc. all became so overwhelming in society that we now strive to correct children as young as 5 from their "failings" of being shy, or reserved. In modern society, shy, cautious and brainy have become taboo - which kinda explains a lot if you pay any attention to American politics!
Cain, in her own introverted way, establishes a rallying call for introverts to recognize themselves and to value their own unique abilities. It's also a great read for extroverts to learn about the other half and how they can better learn from their quieter companions. In the end, the book isn't about introverts or extroverts being better than one another, but about how society needs both sides of the coin to function best.
I found this book to be incredibly gratifying for me as I noticed many introverted traits within myself. I've struggled with shyness all my life, to the point where one teacher even told my mom that I "would never amount to anything" because of my shyness - a classic example of an extroverted misjudgment! By reading this book, I've learned to take pride in my introverted qualities and to recognize them as valuable strengths I can use to lead others, instead of as failings that I have to overcome.
Qualities that make me an introvert:
- As much as I love my friends and socializing, I absolutely need and crave alone time
- I HATE small talk and mingling and therefore always dread large parties
- Although I prefer working in a team, I prefer to work in a team where we work on tasks alone and meet only to discuss issues rather than trying to work and accomplish tasks together, which I find less efficient
- I prefer to wait for others to approach me than for me to approach them (people are scary!)
- If I make even the slightest social gaffe, I obsess and rethink it over and over in my mind even though the other party probably has long forgotten it
- I rarely volunteer first for anything and am usually the listen-first-speak-later type
So, are you an introvert? If so, what do you think is your best introverted quality?