Challenges of being an introvert in an extrovert world


There is a very interesting TED talk on introversion:The Power of Introverts. Susan Cain’s amusing and compelling talk is about the bias against introversion in the modern world and the need to place far more value on this different way of being.

Listening to Cain’s talk., I realised I was guilty as charged – guilty of a bias towards extroversion as the ‘ right way’ to be. I remember years ago asking my wonderful introvert young daughter: ‘Would you like to invite a friend over to play?’ I was completely taken aback when she answered: ‘No thank you, Mum. I’d much rather enjoy myself’. This reaction was completely incomprehensible to extroverted me and utterly obvious to my daughter. Whilst I think I remember accepting the difference, I know I didn’t truly understand. If I am honest, the idea didn’t completely fall into place until I listened to this TED Talk.

Even if you are not an introvert yourself, you probably have introverts amongst your team – Cain states that 30 -50% of people are introverts and says that they live in a world that places a much higher value on extroversion. As a result, we are under-utilising the tremendous strengths of introverts. Take a look at the TED talk. Then think about how you might apply its ideas to positive purpose. If you are an extrovert, value the difference provided by introverts and give it room. As Cain says: “stop this obsession with group work!’ If you are an introvert yourself, time to glory in your style!

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