We live in a society that is essentially built for the extroverted. People applaud those who are loud and outspoken, but belittle those who keep to themselves. It’s assume that just because you speak less and keep to yourself, you have less to offer to the world. Society often supports and encourages extroverts because they can better navigate life in general. When it comes to introverts, however, there are many misconceptions about them. People presume that those who are introverted are lonely, antisocial, and unfriendly. What people fail to realize is that the power of an introvert lies in their mind. Being an introvert is not easy, and despite what society says it is an important skill and can be beneficial in many situations.
Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, provides an insight into the mind of an introvert. She dissects the mind of an introverted individual. She presents tips and strategies introverts can use to survive in a majorly extroverted world. Backed by research, Cain aims to help her introverted audience understand the maze that is their mind.
Introverts vs. The World
The Western society can be characterized as “pro-extrovert.” Constantly advocating for freedom of speech and emphasizing its importance. And in the midst of it all, we have introverts who are in many social situations ashamed to be their natural, quite self. Society is partial towards the extroverted which pushed the introverts into a corner they can’t seem to get out of. And all this starts at a very young age. Children in school often pick on those who keep their noses in books or stay inside during recess. But being the quiet person in class or the last to speak up doesn’t mean that you have nothing to offer. Everyone should want to make a positive impact on the world and that’s what really matters.
Being an introvert herself, Cain emphasizes the idea that introverts shouldn’t be ashamed to be who they are. Everyone is fundamentally different and so they function in different ways too. Over time, introverts have made a place for themselves in this chaotic world and Cain presents many examples of such successful individuals. She speaks about how powerful introverts are. Just because you talk less compared to others doesn’t mean you don’t have any value to give. Your opinions matter too, it’s just a matter of how you make the world listen to you.
The Journal of Motor Behavior discovered that introverts take more time to process information as they prefer to sit with new ideas and understand them thoroughly before moving on. Which is understandable as introverts are quiet, more observant, and thoughtful. That is the power of introverts. You imagine possibilities and focus on an inner journey that can change the way you think and feel. Extroverts prefer to just jump in and take on tasks and activities head on. Introverts, on the other hand, like to plan ahead and gauge the situation before hand. Both kinds of people produce the same results, but their processes drastically differ.
Misconceptions About Introverts
Introverts are often categorized as shy, reserved, and withdrawn. What people are missing here is that introvertedness is more of a choice. There is no correlation, per say, between introversion and shyness. Shyness is more of a feeling of discomfort that results from being in social situations. Introversion is a fondness of quiet environments. Practically speaking, there are no strict limits that define an introvert and an extrovert. A person can be either or even both. It depends more on the situation that person is in and how they react to it. While the world may label introverts as ‘antisocial’ and ‘unfriendly,’ some of the best people to give advice are actually introverts. Their secret – they are good active listeners. You can always count on them to have your back and hear you out. And maybe that’s why most extroverts have an introverted friend.
Cain’s book is like a how-to-book for her fellow introverts who need some guidance on how to live a productive life despite their personality. Throughout our lives we learn that it’s always introverts vs. extroverts, but never introverts and extroverts. Why? Instead of polarizing our identities, we should be encouraged to combine our collective powers. Together, such individuals can work towards a better, more productive future. Whether it be school, college, home, work, etc. both personalities should coexist. Growing up in a society that emphasizes the importance of being an extrovert in terms of its functionality, Cain offers her introverted readers the validation they have been searching for. She provides a space that nurtures introverts and comforts their worried heart. Her ideas prove that both personality types can compliment one another and construct a functional society that celebrates the work of both.
Power of Introverts
The power of introverts doesn’t focus on how loud you are or how long you can hold a conversation, instead, it focus on what you have to offer the world. The value you give to people is what makes you memorable. There are many introverted individuals in the world, such as Rosa Parks, Al Gore, Gandhi, etc., who achieved great things. The only obstacle in your way its the limitations you put on yourself. Society doesn’t dictate your life, so you are free to be who you are without having to explain yourself. You don’t need a reason to explain your personality to every person you meet. You are who you are because of your family, your friends, your upbringing, your experiences, etc.
While most people suffer from imposter syndrome or constantly seek validation or even question themselves, introverts are more focused on the world around them. They are observing, analyzing, and noting everything around them. They know that just tipping over one domino is enough to cause a chain of reactions. Some of histories quietest people have made significant impacts on the world.
‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’Mahatma Gandhi
Be boldly introverted, it is your superpower.
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