Why is he so quiet?
He is so shy!
Why is he not so social?
Why doesn’t he open up?
He is a bookworm!
Is he confident enough? How will he face challenges of life?
Oh he is an introvert. He will improve as time goes on.
These were the questions that chased and haunted all my childhood & adolescent years. I always wondered if there was something wrong with me. Will I be as successful as other people in my class. Do I need help? Why can’t I be like others? I used to be bullied for my quiet nature. I used to be bullied for being different.
I was an avid reader. I found solace in quietly reading books on different subjects. One day I came across Susan Cain’s book on Introversion – ‘’Quiet’’. And then I read other books on the subject.
An eye-opening truth…
This was an eye-opener for me. I understood that people do have some basic tendencies based on genetics, the environment they grow up in and the circumstances they face. There is something called introversion and extroversion. And it is okay to be either one of them. There is NO right way to behave. It’s not completely in your control. You don’t have to control or do anything – just understand yourself, appreciate your strengths and leverage them. I moved from doubt to realization and from acceptance to being proud of who I am.
Susan Cain – the author of ”Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”
Susan Cain, a Harvard law school graduate and former attorney and negotiator, used to regard her quiet and reserved nature as a disadvantage, something to be overcome. But then she began researching introversion as a personality trait, and discovered that what many see as a weakness is actually a strength — one that most Americans, with their love of risk-taking and intense socializing, fail to appreciate fully.
So what are Introversion and Extroversion? Let’s start with the definitions of both.
”An Introvert is a person whose thoughts are turned inwards. He likes being in his world of thoughts. He is not great at being a social butterfly. Parties drain his energy. Solitude & spending time with himself nourishes his soul. Introspection is his hobby”
”Extroverts on the other hand are those who feel energized when they are around people or doing adrenaline pumping activities. Solitude bores them. Talking or meeting new people energizes them. And they feel more fulfilled living a life that excites them most of the time.”
Agreed, people can’t be typecast into any one of these. Humans are much more complex than some standard definitions we want to put them in. But yes, we do have one of these tendencies dominant in us.
Myths around Introversion…
Myth 1: Introverts need help. Introversion is something that needs external intervention by near and dear ones and it is something that needs correction
Answer: No. It does not. It is not a disease. It is natural tendency of a person.
Myth 2: Introverts are shy and hence not confident
Answer: No. shyness has nothing to do with confidence. You can be super confident and still a shy person. Is Sundar Pichai less confident?
Myth 3: Introverts can be artists but can’t be business leaders.
Answer: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Marc Zuckerbeg, Sundar Pichai. Do I need to say more?
Myth 4: Introverts don’t like meeting people
Answer: No. Introverts like meeting people. Just not too much. They may not be the life of a party but they do like making meaningful relations.
So all you introverts out there. Know yourself. Appreciate yourself. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Uplift yourself and in the process be more kind to others. Be more empathetic of others. Each one of us is different. Maturity comes from understanding this difference and creating synergies between people with different strengths.