Quiet. The Power of Introverts.

I've known I'm an introvert for a long time. For as long as I can remember, I've been told that it isn't good, that I should stop being "shy" and become more extroverted if I ever want to be anything in this world. I've always rebelled against that idea, but it was only recently that I began to learn more about intro and extroversion, first through the explanations provided by the Briggs-Myers and other tests, and then through Susan Cain's TED Talk and her book, Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.

The book is a marvelously empowering tool, not only because it drives home the point that being introverted is normal  and fine, but also because it shows us ways in which we can embrace introversion and use it to achieve our goals and dreams.

Indeed, introverts have talents that extroverts do not (or not to the same degree), such as a greater capacity for listening. The main point is to realize those talents and put them to good use, achieving a balance between introversion and extraversion, for example in schools or the workplace.

After reading the book I've become even more aware of my own attitudes and behaviors, as well as those of the people that surround me. I've become more attuned to different leadership styles and which work better under certain circumstances.

To be fair, I've caught myself advising someone to adopt extroverted attitudes, but that was in a moment when he really needed to come across as "powerful" and "determined". His introverted talents, however, have  been very useful under other, less public circumstances, and their impact has certainly been felt by the organization. See? Balance.

While I might advise someone to act as an extrovert sometimes (and this is something Susan Cain writes about, providing examples and ways in which introverts can do that without burning out), I will never, ever tell people to change their personality to fit in or "avoid being eaten by the world". I believe in changing the way we act and think in order to achieve a more balanced community. To do that we need to stick to our guns, however hard it is to be an introvert in an extroverted world - and trust me, it is hard. But it can be done.

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