Are you introvert or extrovert or somewhere in-between?
The Power of Quiet for Introverts & Extroverts at Work
Nicole Fallon’s blog piece, Introverts vs. Extroverts: How to Get Along at Work is excellent at showing how this is relevant to you in the workplace.
‘No one is a pure introvert or extrovert. However, every workplace has representatives of each personality type, and there are a few fundamental differences between the two that affect how they interact with their colleagues. Introverts tend to keep to themselves, preferring one-on-one conversations and solo work. Extroverts enjoy group projects, talking through their thoughts and connecting with others throughout the day. These behaviors often lead to unfair assumptions and judgments about both groups, which may cause tension within the team.’
Read on for the whole of Nicole Fallon’s piece here.
How ‘Quiet’ Begins
She said no. This quiet, unassuming woman’s refusal inspired Martin Luther King to support the city-wide boycott of the buses for 381 days.
Cain is clear that the behaviour of Rosa Parks, and other leaders like Mahatma Ghandi and Mother Theresa, did not have to be loud and bold in order to make enormous difference to the world. They were quietly strong and powerful, and their nature was introvert.
In our Western society we tend to be geared towards environments that benefit extroverts rather than introverts, through open-plan work-space, brain-storming meetings and the general desire for overt expression and enthusiasm.
As an introvert, I know what this experience is like and how it can feel challenging to ‘fit in’ when what you want to do is be yourself. I also appreciate what Fallon points out: ‘Typically, extroverts see introverts as unsocial, inadequate, shy, secretive and aloof non-contributors.
Introverts describe extroverts as aggressive, egotistical, unaware, rude and socially needy. While there may be a kernel of truth to these generalizations, the tone is angry and accusatory, rather than appreciative.’
The Power of Quiet in Society
I have a good understanding as a teacher, how the quietest people in my mindfulness class may not be saying as much but are fully there when it comes to their practice.
Cain’s book is a validation for any of you who have felt you don’t fit in to the gregarious, exuberant society that we live in today.
If this is something you have never considered, taking time to get to know yourself is what you learn to do in mindfulness and meditation.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves time out to clarify where we are in our lives. Quiet itself, is empowering. We sometimes forget to give ourselves enough quiet. And introverts actually need quiet in order to replenish their energy.
But whether you are introvert or extrovert, or a mixture of both, the outcome is this. Cain is making a stand for introverts and the quiet power that introverts bring to the world. She encourages us all to look within and value ourselves and others, however different to us they may be.
Here is Susan Cain’s 19 minute Ted Talk below:
If you are a parent you might also like to see Susan Cain and ‘What shall we do with the quiet kids?’
Do share your comments if you have enjoyed this post. I’d also love to hear from you – introvert or extrovert?
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide
Get inspired to be mindful at Place of Serenity