Susan Cain wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. Being an introvert, naturally I loved it. I could not put it down. I felt like I was reading something the perfectly explain my strengths, weaknesses, frustrations, and left me with a feeling of understanding. It also challenged me to work out some issues that I've allowed myself to neglect, because I've bought into the lie that people should just take me as I am.
There were 3 points that were especially helpful to me in reading Susan's book.
1. Open office plans vs. Independent work spaces. How is your office set up? Does everyone work in the same space, share ideas, collaborate in the process or are you secluded in an office to work on your own? How do you work best? Susan says that performance gets worse as group size increases and that at times, open offices have shown to reduce productivity and impair memory.
2. Being shy is not equal to introversion. Introverts may actually not be shy, they might just be observing. In childhood, an introvert may have been challenged to invert themselves into scenarios where they would have rather hung back and watched. There may be in increased sensitivity to stimulation for a child where an introvert is taking in more than can be sustained over long periods of time. Withdrawal is necessary at those times. It's not shyness, it's just a need to hang back from over-stimulation for a bit.
3. Just because I'm an introvert doesn't mean I get to function in my introverted ideals all the time. I don't have to become an extravert to be "important" in society, but I also have to act outside of my introverted self at times to be heard. My responsibility is to listen well to others, and respond accordingly. I don't have to be gregarious to have something to contribute, but I do have to sometimes stretch myself beyond what's comfortable to be able to be the best I can possibly be at my job and in relationships.
I would recommend Quiet to introverts looking to understand themselves better, and to grow. I would recommend it to parents of introverts so you can help your children function to the highest ability of themselves. And to extroverts who work closely or live in close quarters with introverts, as it will help you to understand why they may respond how they do and give you tools in your communication. [So, pretty much I recommend it to everyone.]
Are you an introvert or extravert? How does it affect how you approach your relationships and work? What are your unique gifts and challenges?