Posts Tagged ‘introverts’

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Five Stars!

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I absolutely love this book.

Remember my sort of new rule?  Always judge a book by its cover.  The cover of this book is a beautiful, soft, cool grey.  It reminds me of our sweet little hairless rats, Fuzzy and Wuzzy.

Fuzzy Rat

I realize that authors do  not always choose their cover designs, and I realize that better people than I say NEVER judge a book by its cover, but perhaps some great mind chose this cover on purpose as a kindness to introverts who would be reading the book.  A beautiful soft cover (I imagine the cover designer thinking) would be comforting as we introverts sat in the corner and read our book about introverts as the world carried on around us.  (It was.)  My theory could be true, because…

According to the author, introverts are highly reactive – things in our environment affect us more starkly than they do others.

THAT was the first big point from the book that I have had to ponder.  I had always defined introversion as drawing strength from internal sources and extroversion as drawing strength from external sources.

Still true, I believe, and I believe the author would support that definition, but she also cited some very compelling research that supported the idea that introverts tend to react more  strongly to their environments than extroverts.  It makes sense.  Introverts often need peace, quiet, time to recharge.  Extroverts often need interaction, people, friends around.

Study of one…

  • I am easily overwhelmed in a crowd.
  • I want to punch the big screen TVs in our church lobby every time I see them.
  • I love music but need to either listen to music or concentrate on a project.
  • I close my eyes when I am talking to clients on the phone so I can focus more intently on exactly what their pets need.

I am an introvert, and I am highly reactive – very sensitive to what is in my environment.  It has been interesting to think of introversion/extroversion from that perspective.

Introverts are great.  We knew that, right?  We are people lovers, we are excellent leaders, we are often amazing speakers and we are thinkers.  Thank you for saying all of those kind things Susan Cain.  We knew that, and it is not always obvious to the world.  It is not like we are going to yell it on a street corner!  We are just going to continue loving people, leading, speaking, thinking and living our lives.

Extroverts are great too.  We knew that too!  They are some of our favorite people.  Without the “other half” we would not have a fun, exciting, balanced world.

Stretching beyond your comfort zone – as an introvert or an extrovert – may sometimes be beneficial when it involves something that is very important to you, but do not stretch yourself too far outside of your comfort zone, and do not be dishonest with yourself.  Be true to yourself and your strengths.  This is a HUGE relief to read after a lifetime of being told to step outside my comfort zone.  Don’t.  Unless you need to and then get back to where you are most comfortable, because you were created to be you, so be you.

If you are an introvert and you love what you do but it has extrovert requirements, find ways to recharge during the day for your own long term well-being and in order to continue to do your life’s work well.  Since reading the book the first time (I read it again to write this review, which made me want to read it a third time) I have made conscious changes in my work day in order to continue to have the energy to do what I love and need to do – work with my veterinary team and client families to protect and restore the health of pets.

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I get to work a half hour early whenever I can.  Not to work, just to sit.

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I chose a desk that faces the corner of the office.

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I spend much of my lunch and break time alone.

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I color between appointments.

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I took on much of the social media portion of the business because I love social media and because I believe in the company, but I have found as a wonderful side effect the ability to invest hours researching and creating, which is healing and restoring down time that balances well the rigors and emotions of the rest of the work day.

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I LOVE spending my days with my coworkers.  I LOVE spending time in exam rooms with clients.  I love meeting people, talking on the phone, consulting with experts.  All of this, as much as I love it, is as physically and emotionally draining for me as I imagine it is charging for an extrovert.  It is difficult to explain what a to-the-core people person I am when I need to spend time away from people in order to be with them again.  Even to me it sounds strange.

Susan Cain says it is not.

And for that – the validation of me as an individual – and the validation of introversion as a trait to be celebrated and nourished, I am most grateful.

Thank you Susan Cain.

AND thank you to Rebecca Tudor, veterinary surgical specialist, for introducing me to this wonderful book.

I think that whether you identify yourself as an introvert or an extrovert, you will enjoy reading this book, and it will stretch your thinking, in a good way, not in a beyond your comfort zone way.

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