“Introversion is not the same as shyness. Shyness is the fear about social judgement. Introversion is more about, how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So, extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.” In this TedTalk, Susan Cain discusses how important introverts are to society. She talks about how over the course of history, we went from a time where introverts were greatly admired and valued, to a world where extroverts are now the more favored type of people. She emphasizes that neither of these types of people are better than the other, but that introverts deserved to be valued more so again. She even discusses that there are people who can be classified as Ambiverts, which are people who can be considered both introverted and extroverted. But, introverts specifically can be very beneficial!
Introverts really do have a lot that they can offer to our communities and work places. One of the issues that Cain mentions is how introverts tend to get overlooked when it comes to work projects, or even academic ones. It is harder for introverts to shine, because the environments around them favor extroverts more. According to Cain, it has been shown through scientific studies, that introverts tend to score higher grades than that of extroverted people. She even stated, when given the task of leading a project introverts may be a safer option, because they are less likely to give into risky behaviors and decisions. She speaks at length about various ways introverts get seen in society today, and how they should be treated instead and seen for what they can offer to society.
To conclude her speech, Cain gives a list of 3 calls to action to start supporting introverts and introversion as a whole. The first thing being: “Stop the madness for constant group work.” Notice: constant I have put in bold, so I can mention that her saying this does not mean to stop group work, but to lower the amount of group work that is required. “Second, go to the wilderness. Be like Buddha, have your own revelations. Do not be afraid to unplug and be inside of your own head more often. Third, and finally, take a good look inside your own suitcase (what you carry with you in life) and why you put it there.” She encourages extroverts to take out what is in their suitcases and share it with everyone, and to embrace and evaluate what it is they carry with them. She also, in regard to introverts, encourages them to not be afraid to open up every once and a while about what they carry with them, because every now and then others need to see what they carry. So that others can have the opportunity to learn from it.
There are pros and cons to being an introvert. When you are quiet natured in a mostly extroverted world, people who do not understand it will think those who are quiet and introverted are weird. Some may choose to just be okay with not understanding, and others may try to seek understanding. But you will have a few, who may choose to project onto introverts how they feel about them being so quiet. They may even express how odd it is in their eyes rather than seeking understanding of a persons’ introversion. This is a longer post, but I feel all of these quotes, and all of this information is very valuable. Being someone who is an introvert, I do tend to find more satisfaction out of solitude. That does not mean I don’t like spending time with those who mean a lot to me. However, for introverts, that does mean that sometimes even spending time with those we love can be extremely overwhelming and difficult at times. I hope that you will go and watch Susan Cains’ TedTalk and hear what she has to say. Thank you for reading! I will see all of you again in a few days for my next annual blog post. This next one will be about Change! See you guys on Sunday!
The Inspiring Hummingbird!