The Introvert Advantage

Susan CainI recently heard an interview with Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. As an introvert, it was really affirming to hear someone else who thinks sitting down with a good book is a party, and helpful to look at some of my personality traits as an advantage, rather than a weakness.

Here are a couple things I took away:

  1. Develop “one-on-one” allies. The term “one-on-one allies” has been churning in my brain for weeks. You might hate parties and have a really hard time connecting in a group of people, but LOVE the chance to chat one-on-one with someone. That’s a strength. Find opportunities to exercise it.
  2. Embrace the desire to work alone. Since I was in elementary school there’s been a growing focus on group work. Cain points out that group work can often lead to “group think” as well, where new ideas are discouraged because they aren’t spoken or don’t get agreement from the group. Collaboration is important, but there’s also an importance for working alone.
  3. Make room for deep thought. In her TED talk, Cain points out that many breakthrough ideas and philosophies grew out of one person’s extended time in solitude. In our “always wired in” culture, it’s important to fight distraction to make room for periods of concentrated, focused thought.

Susan Cain gave a great TED talk on the subject, check it out here or below.

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