Tuesday, 17 July 2012

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



An old friend of mine put me on to this clip yesterday. The author, Susan Cain, is an expert on introverts. (Good old TED talks, got to love them.) Anyway, Susan's argument is that in the modern world, introversion can often be looked upon and treated as a negative thing, despite the fact more often than not, introverts are deep thinking individuals who often have the know-how to put their creative thoughts and ideas into action.

As an introvert, I love her argument. Actually, who am I kidding? I think Susan Cain is not only a genius, but she has a lot of guts as well.

In my own experience, being an introvert is great. My friends and family admire my ability to think for myself. In fact, I'm usually the first one that the people in my circle come to for advice when they are contemplating trying or doing something for the first time. At work, my boss and co-workers will often talk to me about creative solutions for any problems at the office. All good, right? Well, no.

The thing about being an introvert is that I may be the smart, dependable one, but I'll never be the popular one. While most of the people I know are enjoying Saturday nights at the movies, sharing endless cups of coffee and tagging themselves in every city nightspot around Adelaide, I'm the one sitting at home in my pyjamas editing the html for this blog, jotting down notes for my next novel and perhaps warming milk for a cup of hot chocolate. And not only am I participating in rituals that are akin to social death, but I actually enjoy what I do. Over the years, I've become accustomed to sarcastic comments from co-workers, family and acquaintances.  Now, don't get me wrong. I do actually leave my house for purposes other than work. I do enjoy socialising. I just happen to prefer it when I'm with a small group of people who I know well, and where I can enjoy a stimulating conversation. In fact, sometimes, there is nothing more stimulating than chatting with another introvert. Introverts can say the most intelligent and interesting things. (But yes, I love the extroverts in my life too.)

In my work life, I've found that I can consistently achieve high results with mystery shoppers, generate high sales and have a sound product knowledge and the special requirements of many of our customers. Despite this, the majority of our regular customers prefer to be served by my colleagues, both of whom are very outgoing. Simply put, they just don't respond well to me.

Then there are the assumptions that introverts are miserable. In fact, a counter argument to this misconception can be seen in this wonderful clip from the television series, Daria


Here is the thing. I'm an introvert. I'm not wrong, just different.