Our world favours the bold and assertive, the people who thrive in group discussions. This starts early, in childhood classrooms are built for extraverts, they work in groups and are expected to work in teams. Kids who prefer to go on their own don’t get a change to do so and they might even be judged as problematic. On the other hand one third to half of the population are actually introverts. The difference is in how one responds to stimulation; extraverts crave a lot of stimulation, they are always about action, whereas introverts are most alive in quieter, more low-key environments.
Note Cain’s definition of introverts, it is different from being shy as that is a fear of social judgement. She says that introverts are more careful and need more solitary than extraverts. Famous extraverts include Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi, Darwin and Steve Wozniak.
I find it easy to relate to Cain’s recommendations, because instead of suggesting a radical change she is asking for more variety in schools and in the workplace. Her three actions are the following:
- Stop the madness of constant group work! – It is essential that extraverts learn how to work on their own, that is where deep thoughts come from). This point also means though that introverts need to learn how to work in groups; she encourages us not to stop collaborating, but to appreciate that solitude is important.
- Go have some alone time and have deep revelations! – Get inside our heads a little more and experience our thoughts and feelings.
- Take a look at your thoughts and interests every now and then and embrace us with it! – Believe me, the world needs your input.
You can watch the talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts?language=en
She also wrote a book that could be bought here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-power-introverts-world-talking/dp/0141029196