Katie Leigh Reads: Quiet
It’s really interesting that I even ask these questions because I’m an extrovert. I love to the be the center of attention. Public speaking excites and doesn’t scare me (as long as I’m prepared) and hanging out with new people doesn’t give me a second thought. On the other hand, I’m what some may call “Highly-sensitive” (my father definitely calls me that). Both emotionally and physically, I feel more than the average person and therefore become overstimulated and need time to myself to decompress. For this reason, I always thought I was an ambivert; someone who was equally introverted and extroverted. But it was in reading the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, that I learned I was a sensitive extrovert. Those who are diagnosed as being highly sensitive, like I was, are 70% of the time introverts. The other 30% of the time they are extroverts who find that they need a lot more alone time than most extroverts. Insert my smiling face here, that’s me!
Reading Quiet has been fascinating. Not only in better understanding my husband and co-workers who are all introverts but in also bettering myself as I have introverted tendencies. Of course, it also helps in better understanding our society and the unusual ways we think. For example, the concept of open office floor plans that say they produce more productivity by interacting with others, but actually lead to less productivity and provide more distractions. It starts in the ways our school are set up and continues through the rest of our lives. Our culture promotes extroversion and attempts to eliminate introverts.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some great things to being an extrovert and to having them in our society, but the same is true about introverts. It’s the diversity in our personalities, upbringings, skin colors, etc. that allow new and better ideas to be born. Leaders like Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, and Gandhi that all had a new introverted approach that changed our world.
While our society continues to breed extroverts and forces introverts to be someone they’re not, I’ve started looking into ways I can embrace introversion. Things like slowing down, checking my work, taking time away from my desk to eat my lunch, listening to classical music, having alone time and embracing a meditation schedule. All of these changes allow space to brew new ideas and recharge away from the chaos of the American life.
Quiet is not just a book for introverts. As an extrovert, I’ve learned so much about the people around me and the society we live in. It’s taught me about workplace environments and how to relate to my husband in some areas that don’t make as much sense to me. It’s even showed me some skills in honing my artistic crafts and getting better in the creative endeavors I’ve been pursuing. Whether you listen to the book on tape as you drive to work (like I did) or you read it in the bathtub as you decompress from all life’s stress, this book will give you new insight into our culture and maybe even spark some ideas on how to change things. But only if you give yourself enough alone time to let those ideas brew.