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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Power of Introverts

I recently read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  As I read it, I found myself celebrating that someone was recognizing the importance of introverts.  Just because I'm not loud and sharing every thought that enters my mind, doesn't mean I'm not having important thoughts.

What I have found is that I frequently don't get to share the thoughts going through my head--those around me are frequently talking and I'm not one to push my way into a conversation.  When I am in a meeting, you will find I sit quietly through most of the meeting and absorb what is going on around me.  Then, hopefully, I will have the chance to voice a well-thought out idea before the meeting ends.  Part of this is from my TBI.  It does take me longer to process information and come up with the exact words to express my thoughts. Part of it is a natural part of my personality that has always been there.  I have always sat quietly absorbing the thought processes of those around me before finalizing my thought.  I have always done my best thinking in quiet and alone and later.  Writing assignments for class were where my thought processes were demonstrated.  I did not participate in class discussion/brainstorming.  I remember being told by a professor that I needed to speak up more in class to share my thoughts with my peers, not just save them for my papers that only he saw.  That just isn't my personality.  If you want to hear my thoughts, do it privately and wait for my mouth to catch up with my brain.  Or, better yet, share your questions/ideas and give me time to think about it and get back to you.  I've discovered sleeping is the greatest thing for my brain right now.  If I am struggling with an issue or need an idea for work, I will take a nap and more often than not wake up with my questions answered.  Thank you God for giving me the answer in my sleep.  :)

Now, calling yourself introverted does not give you permission to withdraw completely in your own head and never interact with others.  It really only helps explain the way we think and process best.  We process more within ourselves than out loud with others.  That does not mean I won't be a part of a group.  What it does mean is that I probably won't voice my thoughts until after I've processed all that is going on around me.  Maybe at the end of the meeting, maybe not until the next day (after I've let God talk to me in my sleep)  It doesn't mean I won't socialize with others--it only means I am also comfortable alone and need some down time.  It does not give me an excuse to be rude, withdrawn, or anti-social.  After all, I Corinthians 13 says, "Love is patient, Love is kind.  It does not envy.  It does not boast.  It is not proud.  It is not rude. It is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered.  It keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."  Both introverts and extroverts need to keep this in mind as they interact with others.  You need to be loving whether or not you completely understand how the other thinks.

On page 5, the book tells us:
"Without introverts, the world would be devoid of

the theory of gravity
the theory of relativity
W.B. Yeats's 'The Second Coming'
Chopin's nocturnes
Proust's 'In Search of Lost Time'
Peter Pan
Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm'
The Cat in the Hat
Charlie Brown
'Schindler's List,' 'E.T.,' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'
Harry Potter

I for one would miss those things.  Yeah, for the power of introverts.  May we never underestimate the thoughts going through their heads.

What are your thoughts about introverts vs. extroverts?
What are your own personal experiences?
How do we help our introvert children express themselves?
How do we make sure our voice gets heard?
Is there ever a time you should act extroverted?  Is it possible?

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