Browsing through the audio books on one of my favorite websites, Audible.com, I was drawn to a book called Quiet, by Susan Cain. The title caught my attention, but it was the subtitle that hooked me: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. An introvert through and through, I knew I had to read this book and I am so glad I did. Quiet is a revolutionary work that has garnered attention and respect in ever-widening circles. To me, it is just one more example of the growing understanding of how the mind works and the alchemy that is taking place globally between the body, mind and spirit.
Throughout my life, I, like most other introverts, endured society’s persistent pressure to change, to be something other than I am. The most essential characteristics that made me, me, were of little interest or value to the world in which I lived. As I listened to Susan Cain’s thoughts and discoveries, I could feel my body relax, my mind ease, and my spirit lift. It’s seems that I am not the only one whose well-intentioned parents pushed them into social situations where they were destined to fail or feel inadequate; or the teen hovering on the periphery of social acceptability, only to be labeled “stuck up” by those who didn’t understand the fear I lived with every day. Others also struggled to succeed and excel in academics and the work place, those who were not gregarious enough to be noticed and thought to be unintelligent as a result.
I worked every day to be different from the way I was, seeking careers that did not suit me, wondering all the while why I was miserable. I eventually gave up the battle, but not the war. That is, until I read Quiet and through sharing in the author’s own experience and research I was able at last to value the person that I truly am.
Susan Cain’s explanation of the science behind the introvert/extrovert dichotomy is fascinating. Her explanation of our culture’s obsession with extroversion allows the introvert to see themselves in a very different light. I have recommended this book to more people than almost any other book, as I discover how many incredible people are closet introverts. I know everyone does not enjoy reading non-fiction as much as I do, so rather than simply write a review, I thought I’d go through Quiet here and highlight some of the salient points. Perhaps that will be enough for you. If not, I hope you’ll read the book. It’s available in paperback and on audio. Stay tuned for subsequent posts.