Introverts are dynamic, creative and inspiring members of our community. They just don’t tell us about it all the time.
Full disclosure, I’m an extrovert. In fact, I am such an extrovert that I’m dangerously close to being one of the lunatics that Ms. Cain mentions in the pretty darn good talk above. My lovely, talented and tolerant wife, Michelle, claims that she’s an “amnivert” but is probably an introvert (we’re all a bit of both, right?) – fun fact: Michelle absolutely has a suitcase full of books.
One of my dear friends, Holly, describes knowing how introverted and extroverted you are by reflecting on where you get your energy from. For example, on Saturday night Michelle and I were invited over to our friends’ place at 9:30pm. We were both exhausted after a day of home renovations. Consequently, Michelle stayed home, as she gets her energy – some of it, anyway, from the monk/rabbi-like solitude described in the above TED talk. I, on the other hand, went over to our friends’ house (it was only a block) and stayed there until almost 3am because there were people in attendance who I hadn’t seen in awhile, new people to meet (strangers are just best friends I haven’t met yet, in my opinion), and there were promises of playing games. Needless to say, we all got our energy for Sunday from different places in different ways.
As I work in a school that is also, um, a workplace, Ms. Cain’s ideas certainly struck a chord. I have definitely worked with many introverted students, much of the time advising them on how to find their element in a loud and impulsive world of extroverts seeking to win friends and influence people. Further, many of the things of which Ms. Cain is wary – loud brainstorming, charismatic speakers with half-baked ideas, hyper-teamwork – reflect my preferred working style. And this has me thinking about my introverted colleagues and how best to engage them going forward. So I’ll ask them about it; such is my style.
So, introverts of the world, as you thoughtfully and quietly engage and reflect on our communities – you allegedly make up between 30-50% of the world’s population – be sure to let we extroverts know your story because we’d love to help you tell it. Also, don’t be afraid to tell us to be quiet every now and then. We need introspection and solitude, too.
Masthead photo courtesy of sahlgoode