NPR: Unleashing the power of introverts

For your Sunday-morning reading pleasure, you really should check out this fabulous story from NPR on the recently released Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

As a proud and long-time introvert, I really loved this interview in that it made me feel … I don’t know … good about the way I work, think and respond to social situations. Modern American culture — from our shout-at-you commercials, to workplaces to public schools and universities — really are geared toward extroverts. Well, they weren’t always that way, but it’s the way the trends are moving and everyone is expected to go along for the noisy ride.

Some parts of the interview that really hit home for me include the difference between introversion and shyness:

“Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it’s just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. …

“Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers.

On why it’s cool to be like Abe Lincoln:

“We moved from what cultural historians call a culture of character to a culture of personality. During the culture of character, what was important was the good deeds that you performed when nobody was looking. Abraham Lincoln is the embodiment of the culture of character, and people celebrated him back then for being a man who did not offend by superiority. But at the turn of the century, when we moved into this culture of personality, suddenly what was admired was to be magnetic and charismatic.

On why “teamwork” isn’t all good:

“We tend to believe that all creativity and all productivity comes from the group, when in fact, there really is a benefit to solitude and to being able to go off and focus and put your head down.

Keep on my introverted friends. Power to the quiet people!

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