Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Introvert Power!

I just read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

It's all about introverts, extroverts and how they interact with each other and the world we live in. Cain covers all kinds of topics, from the workplace to relationships, to school kids. While it largely reads like an academic book, it was filled with really interesting facts and tidbits of information.

For example:
  • American and Europeans are genetically more prone to be extroverts than Asians and Africans. Why is that you ask? Because Europeans and Americans are descended from the "migrants of the world." To go off and be a world traveler takes a sense of adventure found much more commonly in extroverts. The Americans and Europeans of today are descendants of those early travelers, who passed along those traits.
  • I love the idea that Cain introduces of "rubber band theory," saying that we are basically like rubber bands at rest. An natural introvert can stretch himself to be an extrovert when needed, a born extrovert can stretch to be an introvert at times. "We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much."
  • This one was less a important message and more a quote I just liked: "When you go to a football game and someone offers you a beer, says the personality psychologist Brian Little, 'they're really saying hi, have a glass of extroversion.'"
  • Pretty much everything in life falls on a spectrum, and introverts and extroverts are no different. This next takeaway from the book is the one that 'spoke' to me the most. 
 Introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly... Our lives are dramatically enhanced when we're involved in core personal projects that we consider meaningful, manageable, and not unduly stressful, and that are supported by others. 
I think that right there explains how I can be more classically extroverted at times, but my natural state is much more that of an introvert. I am perfectly happy spending time on my own, being in big groups or having to be 'on' all day exhausts me. But at the same time, quiet has never really been a word used to describe me. When it comes to my job or volunteer work in my community I'm perfectly comfortable leading a group, speaking up and being heard. Just don't ask me to do that all day, then go to a happy hour or out to dinner that evening.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, Quiet really is an interesting read. I'll say again that it's pretty academic. It reads more like a text book at times than anything else, so give yourself some time to get through it, but the insights you'll gain from it are worth the effort. 

No comments:

Post a Comment