A couple of months ago, a good friend (thank you Judy!) showed me a YouTube clip of a presentation by Susan Cain that focussed on the place – and power – of the introverts in our contemporary society. It was, not too put too fine a point on it, an eye-opening moment, with so much of my own outlook on life and the way I operate within contemporary society suddenly making sense to me.
Because I am an introvert.
I know that may come as a shock to some who read this, but it’s true, and the presentation by Susan Cain allowed me to proudly own who I am, the way I work, and the way I approach life in general.
Having viewed the YouTube clip, which was based on the book written by Cain, I had to have the book. Today, over bacon & eggs and a couple of lattes, I finally began reading the book, which is entitled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and as I started working my way through the pages I found myself nodding in agreement – hopefully internally, but I fear on the outside as well – with the insights that were contained on just about every page.
In particular, in the pages I’ve read so far, is the putting forward of the perceived preference for extroversion over introversion, with extroversion being seen as the preferred ideal in contemporary society, a belief that the ideal individual is “gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight” (pg. 4) and that introversion considered a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. This has further resulted in extroversion becoming an almost oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.
I’d like to think not…but I fear that there is much truth in Cain’s words.