Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Key Takeaways
By Ritika Dawadi
Author Susan Cain has beautifully explained the struggles and powers of Introverts in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Cain has carefully elaborated everything from the gifts of an introvert to the circumstances in which a person with an introverted personality should pretend to be an extrovert ; this book is a must read for introverts and extroverts alike.
Here are some key takeaways from the book:
Introverts should sometimes be capable of behaving like extroverts - For the sake of significant activities or ideals, every introvert must be willing to put a temporary pause to their introvert side and become an extrovert - albeit momentarily. The body language of an extrovert might be tremendously advantageous: a skillful flip to a mundane conversation, standing ground more firmly when you want something desperately or holding eye contact for just a fraction of seconds longer. Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health.
Introversion and shyness are two different aspects - Shyness involves the constant fear of being judged negatively - presumably a subtle form of social anxiety, introversion on the other hand is the tendency to be drawn into the world of inner thoughts and feelings. Introverts are easily overstimulated, therefore require time alone to recharge themselves. An introvert prefers solitude and wandering in their own minds. A shy person does not necessarily enjoy their own company but is afraid to interact.
There is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best idea - The more a person talks or opens up, the more we simultaneously assume them to be a charismatic leader. Introverts, unlike extroverts, often are good at taking initiatives but are more inclined to listen to others and lack the interest in dominating the setting- introverts are more interested to hear ideas and add suggestions. Having benefited from the talents of their followers, introverts are then likely to motivate them to be even more dynamic. We don't need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.
Introversion is not something that needs to be cured : Staying true to your nature and embracing your authentic self is supposed to be your primary motive. If you are an introvert, find your own wave and flow with it using your abilities. Don’t undervalue your talents and trust your gut. After all, as Susan Cain has evidently quoted in the book,”everyone shines, given the right lighting”. We know from myths and fairy tales that there are many different kinds of powers in this world. One child is given a lightsaber, another a wizard's education. The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of power, but to use the kind you've been granted. In this case, introversion is your special power, so embrace it.
Introverts vs Extroverts Extroverts often find themselves in an emotional state we might call “buzz”—a rush of energized, enthusiastic feelings.
Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
Spend your free time the way you like, not the way society wants you to : Being an introvert has always been criticised, from the fact that they do not talk much to deeming them unsociable because they are too much in their heads. Or at school introverts might have been prodded to come “out of their shell”—that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same. So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth.
Introversion and Criticism : Introversion- along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness- is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.
Introverts are generally cautious and sensible in nature : Highly sensitive people tend to be keen observers who look before they leap. They arrange their lives in ways that limit surprises. They're often sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, and coffee. They have difficulty when being observed (at work, say, or performing at a music recital) or judged for general worthiness (dating, job interviews). But there are new insights. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive (just as Aron's husband had described her). They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, and physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions -- sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments -- both physical and emotional -- unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss -- another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.
A Manifesto for Introverts
1. There's a word for 'people who are in their heads too much': thinkers.
2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later.
5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.
6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
7. It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
8. 'Quiet leadership' is not an oxymoron.
9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
10. 'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.' -Mahatma Gandhi