If you have felt awkward your entire life sensing that somehow there’s something wrong with you because you’d rather stay curled up at your living room sofa on a Saturday night with a cup of tea and a good book than dress up, go out and have some some drinks with a group of friends at a fancy, loud bar, well, let me tell you Quiet has been written for you, as I felt it was written for me. Many others are claiming the same and feeling quite good about.
This 2012 book by Susan Cain that I just run into a couple of weeks ago by reading an article, is intended for those of us who have been hearing since childhood: please, mingle, socialize, come out of the shell. “Now as an adult–Cain explains–you still feel a prang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book.”
Cain’s work on introverts is nothing short than superb. And moving. Especially if you are an introvert yourself. But if you are not, chances are you are married to one, you work or study with many or you parent one. The number of introverts is pretty high (and more and more are disclosing themselves.) The issue is that being one has never been very popular and we’ve done the impossible to “overcome” our quiet nature for the sake of resembling a culturally appropriate model of being cool: extroversion. The author claims–and I couldn’t agree more–that extroverted leaders in all areas, work or academic, are overrated where the great majority of the tasks are in groups and characteristics like patience, solitude, sensitiveness are consistently underestimated, especially in our Western world. That is why a sense of not-being-in-the-right-way persists a lifetime for all quiet ones.
The interesting and quite revolutionary I dare say about this, is the overwhelming amount of research data she provides on how physiologically different introverts process information from the senses; how they perceive and react towards external stimuli, and how effectively they perform when having instances of individual self-reflection and work. So, the millions of times we felt there was something broken or unadjusted in us, it turns out, it is just fine. This is who we are. “If there’s only one insight you take away from this book,(…) I hope it’s a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself”.
I can assure you dear reader that you will take more than one insight. Cain covers a wide range of areas and even gives ideas for a better adjustment: childhood, adulthood, parenting, school environment, teaching, work related aspects, business, leadership and even cultural differences.
Imagine the effect it could have on our communities if we had a better, fairer balance of power between introverts and extroverts. If we let introverts thrive in their concentration, insight, sensitivity and quietness, we might have more problem solvers, more thinkers and more accomplished humans.
“Introverts are offered keys to private gardens full of riches”. Isn’t it nicely said? That’s how the writer’s work in this book goes: thorough, crafted, respectful, insightful, sensitive.
I truly wish you a great reading!
Susan Cain, who is–as you might’ve imagined–an introvert herself, gave a Ted talk which is now one of the most popular ones of all times, co founded Quiet Revolution, an organization dedicated to unlocking “the power of introverts for the benefit of us all”. This is one of the latest articles on her and the Quiet community.
This time I invite you to make different type of connections: personal ones. To your own life or to the life of others that surround you.