Monday, June 18, 2012

Quiet, the book, revisited

In March, I put up a post about "Quiet," a book by Susan Cain, entitled I Enjoy My Own Company. Now that I’ve read the book, I have some thoughts to share.

I’m skipping Chapter One for later, but I wanted you to know I had never heard of Tony Robbins before I read this book. In Chapter Two, I learned all I ever want to know about him.

I believe the purpose of the book was to champion introverts as compared with extroverts. Both have their strengths and many introverts and extroverts marry, which can mean a long and happy marriage, but this book will help both understand their different approaches to life.

During my work life, I have had the opportunity to witness both types in action, and they both have their places. I have seen the extrovert win out over the thoughtful person who knows so much more and is more qualified to lead but was not chosen and in many cases was overlooked as the person who knew volumes more than the extrovert bluffing his way through life and a career. Truly, both types have their place. I have also known humble people who display their special leadership qualities in such a way as to rise to the top like cream. This is what Susan Cain conveys in her book.

You might be an introvert if you have you ever dreaded activities required of you and looked forward to their being over and done with when they were an event that was basically good. One event that popped into my mind was my high school graduation. Get this: It was such a relief to know I did not have the highest grade point average because this would have meant I would have had to give a speech. Thank you, God, for delivering me from this.

Later, I could not avoid a course in speech any longer, and learned a VERY IMPORTANT fact that made all the difference. It is revealed in the book several times (Chapter 5, page 129): “There is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.”

Susan Cain even revealed three key steps to identifying your own core personal projects. To put it another way, some things in your life may be so important to you as to require some extroversion and bargaining to keep one’s life happy and balanced between the two extremes, but times off from this are required to keep the introvert in you from being burned out and frazzled.

The book also points out how parents can help their introverted children get by better in life by being sensitive to the difference between the two temperaments.

Here’s what I really think about the book. Individual readers will glean from the book what they prefer to take to heart and use. At my time of retirement in life, I cannot go back and look at my life and do it differently, but I did learn from different passages. The author’s statement in the first chapter is reason enough to read the book, particularly if you are an introvert.

“If there is only one insight you take away from this book, …, I hope it’s a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself. I can vouch personally for the life-transforming effects of this outlook.”

It made me realize why I so much prefer “real people.”