Imagine yourself is going to have a terrific weekend! Would you rather go to the beach, hang out with a bunch of friends, throw a large party, and have fun? Or simply stay at home, sip a cup of coffee, watch some Netflix for the whole day?
For the latter of you, congratulation!
You might what we called “Introverts.”
In this post, I would like to talk about “the Power of introverts.” It is a book written by Susan Cain, a formal lawyer who is also an introvert. I would like to share her insights about introverts and how we could better incorporate and learn from them to better creativity and productivity.
We are living in a society with a bias against Introverts.
Introverts, have you ever always been accused of calling “too quiet,” “shy,” “reserved,” even “anti-social”?
To be clear, introversion is not shyness.
Shy is a fear of social judgment and lack of kind of confidence when approaching people. Introversion, according to Susan Cain, is more than that. It’s about social simulation.
Introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.
Please don’t blame your teachers, parents, or managers who told you to be brave, talk more, join the group – the majority of them believe that the ideal student should be an extrovert, according to educational psychology professor Charles Meisigeier.
But also don’t listen to them.
When it comes to productivity, leadership, and creativity, introverts are the king.
Professor Adam Grant from the Wharton Business School will tell you that you are going to become more effective leaders; Professor Adrian Furnham will tell you are more likely to get higher grades.
What’s more, introverts contribute a lot of greatest achievements. Think about Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Sir Isaac Newton…
Psychologists look at the lives of the most creative people, what they find are people who are very good at exchanging ideas and advancing ideas, but who also have a serious streak of introversion in them. – Cain
However, our society learns toward extroverts.
Nowadays schools and workplaces are designed for extroverts.
You can see classrooms with pods of desks, kids facing each other. In workplaces, no walls, constant
In workplaces, there are no walls, no privacy, constant noise and gaze from co-workers.
Even in the big university, like the 400-student classrooms today. Even though we are separated by rows and rows of desks, and forced to do homework individually and autonomously because of the class size, we still continuously form study groups and do group projects, to reinform the importance of what Susan Cain called “New Groupthink” – because people believe that creativity and productivity come from the collaborative environment.
If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority. – Cain
It is so true for extroverts who crave large amounts of simulations and social interactions, but not for introverts who occupy one-third of population, they need a quiet place and do things alone.
To incorporate Introverts: stop the madness of constant Groupwork.
Susan Cain urges us that the world need both introverts and extroverts. In order to deliver best team works, we should stop forever group work.
Give more privacy and freedom for introverts to run through their own ideas.
We should learn from Introverts.
When psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist study the most creative people, they find a serious introversion.
Because solitude is a crucial ingredient for creativity.
When Darwin discovered the Evolution theory, he will turn down all dinner invitations, just to spare time, take long walks, and think alone in the woods. Steve Wozniak invented the first Apple computer sitting alone in his cubicle in Hewlett-Packard. He believed his introversion makes himself become an expert.
If you look at most of the world’s major religions, you will find seekers — Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad — seekers who are going off by themselves alone to the wilderness, where they then have profound epiphanies and revelations that they then bring back to the rest of the community. So, no wilderness, no revelations. – Cain
What Susan Cain advocates, is a balance.
As the society gets more and more complex, we need more people come together and solve the problem We need a balance, a balance between extroverts and introverts, a balance between Collaboration and Autonomy.
Introvert Wozaati also teamed up extrovert Steve Jobs, so that Apple could be such a success.
Introverts, just be yourself, share your voices.
And extroverts, learn to work on your own.
Because the more autonomy and freedom we give ourselves, the deeper thought, the better performance we will bring up to their world.
Final words: A year ago my BA 324 Business communication course asked every student to select a topic from several articles Professor gave us, and do an oral presentation about what we learned. When everyone was busy picking those:”10 words never use in your Linkedin Profile,” “15 of the Best Job Interview Questions,” “Elevator Speech Dos and Donts……” I did not want to become one of them.
Suddenly, a quite different one: The Power of Introverts, stood out from the paper.
At the end of my presentation, my professor JJ askes me this question:
“Who do you think you are, extrovert or introvert?”
“Well, I am pretty sure I’m the most introverted extrovert.”
How about you?