Susan Cain, author of Quiet, is an introvert. She’s worked in very extroverted, high-powered positions and is an excellent, articulate public speaker. But at the core of her personality she is thoughtful, contemplative and prefers learning and working in situations that encourage independent development of ideas. In this TED Talk she describes the pressure to become an extrovert, particularly in professional settings, even it isn’t your natural state of being. We (western society especially) value the big, bold and even loud persona’s, but also need to appreciate laid-back, quieter personalities who are philosophers, thinkers and strategists.

I suppose I can also be defined as an introvert in some ways (though I always hate labels). I am not a loud person. I quite enjoy working by myself. I need quiet, alone time. When I was a child my parents made me learn how to interact comfortably with public situations that required public speaking, group work etc. and I am eternally grateful for this. Because now I am confident, bold and very comfortable handling situations in what might be described as an extroverted way. But I also happily accept the fact that I need to engage in quiet contemplation at times too, particularly to accomplish work.

It was refreshing and fascinating to hear this intelligent woman outline something I’ve always intrinsically known, but never heard articulated.

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