My name is Eduflack, and I am an introvert. While I am a highly functioning introvert, one who overcomes when need be, I can never shake being an introvert. I even come complete with a horrible stutter, another item I have overcome, but which often comes back when I get particularly worked up.
While I tend to read a great deal of things, I rarely write about them here. Instead, I focus on education politics and policy and communication. But after recently completing Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” I feel compelled to write a little.
Those who are not true introverts will never understand the real fear that comes from having to make small talk in an overpopulated room or having to be “on” for a dinner party. Just ask the eduwife, a classic extravert who has had to live with Eduflack for the past 15 years.
“Quiet” captures quite well the introvert experience. And it offers some keen observations for what it is like to be introverted and how best to deal with those of us in the club.
Among Cain’s more compelling nods:
- Introverts often need solitude in order to be truly productive
- Forced collaboration, even in the name of teamwork, is rarely valuable
- Some of the best ideas come while working solo, not in those group brainstorms that folks are often so fond of
- Some of the most dynamic, entertaining speakers and public engagers are introverts, who “act the part” to do what they care about
- Having to speak before a crowd of hundreds is far easier than having to make small talk with a half dozen people at a cocktail party
- Introversion is largely a matter of nature, not nurture
- Introverts are more sure of themselves, even in the face of groupthink
- Introverts typically only speak when they have reason to contribute. They don’t talk for talking’s sake.
Equally interesting was Cain’s remark that while introverts appreciate their alone time, they are prone to share far more about themselves via social media than their extroverted friends.
What does all of this have to do with this blog? Not much, to be honest. But if offers some interesting food for thought as we start the summer months.