The book “Quiet” talks about the inherent characteristics of introverted persons and how these can be used to create positive and productive changes in our society. Sadly, our prevailing culture and society are biased towards nurturing the extroverts, and have seem to take for granted the needs of introverts to think freely and be on their own.
Being introverted herself, the author tried to relate how the American history and culture have somehow “limited” the advancement of introverted persons. In the past and even now, only the outspoken and the aggressive were the ones who were given special attention and recognition --- exactly how extroverts would like it to be. On the contrary, the energy of introverts is directed more towards the self, and as such they are most productive when left on their own, thinking and building ideas in their minds. Society needs these people who would think ideas like Steve Jobs. Thus, it is also important to nurture them and understand their need for space and solitude, a fact that many of us do not seem to recognize.
As an example, she mentioned why schools are so designed to make children think that “socializing” is the normal way to foster creativity, productivity and teamwork. The mere fact that kindergarten tables are “round” already violates the personal space of an introverted kid to contemplate and make way for creative ideas to flow. For the introverted kid, this could create a personal conflict that something is wrong with them if they don’t enjoy socializing. And thus, it is important to know the differing psychologies of introverts and extroverts to nurture both.
The book was an eye opener for me because it opened my mind to different perspectives especially on the role of psychology in learning. I think then that for a teacher to be effective, he/she should know the personality type of his/her students. There should be a balance between group activities and independent activities to nurture learning of both types. I think it would really help if personality tests are conducted before the start of the school year so the teachers will be guided on the more appropriate type of teaching.
Even though the book was a little bit biased towards introverted people, I definitely agree that good speaking skills and being vocal about your thoughts should not be the only measure of success. Many people who tend to be “shy” in public also have something great in mind. It’s just a matter of how these ideas could be nurtured until they materialize into something that could be considered a legacy, like Steve Jobs and Apple Computers. In the process of introverts cooking up inventions in their minds, our extroverted society should not mess in the way by imposing anything that could distract their creative process.
Another thing I learned is that we all need space to think. Even extroverts do need some peace and quiet. Contemplation is important so that we could listen to the world around us and be able to think clearly. It’s not surprising why meditation has been embedded into different cultures and societies, especially in the east. Meditation frees us of our day-to-day stresses and allows us to recharge mentally and spiritually.
Lastly, we should respect introverted persons when they decline to socialize and stop asking them infinite why’s as if they’re stricken with a disease. It’s just how they are. Just how extroverts would like to party and talk like there’s no tomorrow. Reading this book has made me realize that the world is not only for extroverts, but for introverts as well struggling to live their lives the way they know best.
Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Crown Publishers, 2012. Print.