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Quiet by Susan Cain

Posted by Raul Barral Tamayo en jueves, 22 de julio, 2021

Copyright © Susan Cain, 2012.

For far too long, those who are naturally quiet, serious or sensitive have been overlooked. The loudest have taken over, even if they have nothing to say.

It’s time for everyone to listen. It’s time to harness the power of Introverts. It’s time for quiet.

Susan Cain is an honours graduate of Princenton and Harvard Law School. Her writing on introversion and shyness has appeared in The New York Times, the Guardian,  Oprah Magazine and Psychology Today. Cain has spoken at the Royal Society of Arts, Microsoft and Google, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC Breakfast, CVS and NPR. Her work has been featured on the cover of Time, in the Daily Mail, the FT, the Atlantic, GQ, Grazia, the New Yorker, Wired, Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, USA Today and the Washington Post, and on CNN and Slate.com. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with ther husband and two sons.

Comments extracted from the book, they could be right or wrong, you decide for yourself:

  • Our lives are shaped as profundly by personality as by gender or race. And the single most important aspect of personality (the «north and south of temperament» as one scientist puts it) is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. It governs how likely we are to exercise, commit adultery, function well without sleep, learn from our mistakes, place big bets in the stock market, delay gratification, be a good leader, and ask «what if».
  • We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts, which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are.
  • It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal, the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups. We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual, the kind who’s comfrotable «putting himself out there».
  • Introversion is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.
  • In 1921 the influential psychologist Carl Jung had published a bombshell of a book, Psychological Types, popularizing the terms introvert and extrovert as the central building blocks of personality.
  • There are almost as many definitions of introvert and extrovert as there are personality psychologists.
  • Today’s psychologists tend to agree on several important points: for example, that introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well.
  • Many psychologists would also agree that introverts and extroverts work diferently. Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast decisions, and are comfortable multi-tasking and risk-taking. Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They like to focus on one task at a time and can have mighty power of concentration.
  • The work introvert is not a synonym for hermit or misanthrope.
  • Nor are introverts necessarily shy. Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not. One reason that people confuse the two concepts is that they sometimes overlap.
  • Introvert-extrovert spectrum:
    • I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
    • I often prefer to express myself in writing.
    • I enjoy solitude.
    • I seem to care less than my peers about wealth, fame, and status.
    • I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.
    • People tell me that I’m a good listener.
    • I’m not a big risk-taker.
    • I enjoy work that allows me to «dive in» with few interruptions.
    • I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
    • People describe me as «soft-spoken» or «mellow».
    • I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it’s finished.
    • I dislike conflict.
    • I do my best work on my own.
    • I tend to think before I speak.
    • I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.
    • I often let calls go through to voice mail.
    • If I had to choose, I’d prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
    • I don’t enjoy multitasking.
    • I can concentrate easily.
    • In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.
  • Carl Jung: «There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum».
  • We are all gloriously complex individuals, but also because there are so many different kinds of introverts and extroverts. Introversion and extroversion interact with our other personality traits and personal histories, producing wildly different kinds of people.
  • If there is only one insight you take away from this book, though, I hope it’s a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself.
  • How did we go from Character to Personality without realizing that we had sacrificed something meaningful along the way?
  • Nowadays we tend to think that becoming more extroverted not only makes us successful, but also makes us better people.
  • In the United States conversation is about how effective you are at turning your experiences into stories, whereas a Chinese person might be concerned with taking up too much of the other person’s time with inconsequantial information.
  • If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day.
  • We also see talkers as leaders.
  • All of this would be fine if more talking were correlated with greater insight, but research suggests that there’s no such link.
  • The «Bus to Abilene» anecdote reveals our tendency to follow those who initiate action, any action. We are similarly inclined to empower dynamic speakers.
  • Contrary to the Harvard Business School model of vocal leadership, the ranks of effective CEOs turn out to be filled with introverts.
  • Pter Drucker: » Among the most effective leaders I have encountered and worked with in half a century some locked themselves into their office and others were ultra-gregarious. Some were quick and impulsive, while others studied the situation and took forever to come to a decision … The one and only personality trait the effective ones I have encountered did have in common as something they did not have: they had little or no «charisma» and little use either for them or what it signifies».
  • We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.
  • With their natural ability to inspire, extroverted leaders are better at getting results from more passive workers.
  • Studies are shown that introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the «real me» online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions.
  • original entry: https://raulbarraltamayo.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/quiet-by-susan-cain/
  • One of the most interesting findings, echoed by later studies, was that the more creative people tended to be socially poised introverts. These findings don’t mena that introverts are always more creative than extroverts, but they do suggest that in a group of people who have been extremely creative throughout their lifetimes, you’re likely to find a lot of introverts.
  • Introverts prefer to towkr independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.
  • Hans Eysenck, influential psychologist: «Introversion concentrates the mind on the tasks in hand, and prevents the dissipation of energy on social and sexual matters unrelated to work».
  • The best violinists rated «practice alone» as the most important of all their music-related activities.
  • Deliberate Practice is best conducted alone for several reasons. It takes intense concentration, and other people can be distracting. It requires deep motivation, often self-generated. But most important, it involves working on the task that most challenging to you personally.
  • The simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity.
  • Multitasking turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know what the brain is incapable of paying attention to two thing at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent.
  • Group brainstorming doesn’t actually group. Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases: groups of nine generate fewer and poorer ideas compared to groups of six, which do worse than groups of four. The one exception to this is online brainstorming. Groups brainstorming electronically, when properly managed, not only do better than individuals, research shows; the larger the group, the better it performs.
  • After all these years of evidence that conventional brainstorming groups don’t work, they remain as popular as ever.
  • Psychologists usually offer three explanations for the failure of group brainstorming. The first is social loafing: in a group, some individuals tend to sit back and let others do the work. The second is production blocking: only one person can talk or produce an idea at once, while the other group members are forced to sit passively. And the third is evaluation apprehension, meaning the fear of looking stupid in front of one’s peers.
  • If the group thinks the answer is A, you’re much more likely to believe that A is correct, too.
  • The way forward, I’m suggesting, is not to stop collaborating face-to-face, but to refine the way we do it. We should actively seek out symbiotic introvert-extrovert relationships, in which leadership and other tasks are divided according to people’s natural strengths and temperaments.
  • Our schools should teach children the skills to work with others but also the time and training they need to deliberately practice on their own.
  • In iWoz, Steve Wozniak recalls HP as a meritocracy where it didn’t matter what you looked like, where there was no premium on playing social games, and where no one pushed him from his beloved engineering work into management.
  • Robert Rubin, In an Uncertain World: «Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything».
  • We can stretch out personalities, but only up to a point.
  • There is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.
  • Human introverts have more sex partners than introverts do but they commit more adultery and divorce more frequently, which is not a good thing for the children of all those couplings.
  • Introverts also seem to be better than extroverts at delaying gratification.
  • Introverts are «geared to inspect» and extroverts «geared to respond».
  • The longer you pause to process surprising or negative feedback, the more likely you are to learn from it. If you force extroverts to pause, they’ll do just as well as introverts.
  • Extroverts get better grades than introverts during elementary school, but introverts outperform extroverts in high school and college.
  • Introverts are not smarter than extroverts.
  • Extroverts are more likely to take a quick-and-dirty approach to problem-solving, trading accuracy for speed, making increasing numbers of mistakes as they go, and abandoning ship altogether when the problem seems too difficult or frustrating. Introverts think before they act, digest information throughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately.
  • Persistence isn’t very glamorous. If genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, then as a culture we tend to lionize the one percent.
  • Einstein: «It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s that I stay with problems longer».
  • We need to find a balance between action and reflection.
  • If you’re an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up.
  • Stay true to your own nature. if you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. It’s up to you to use that independence to good effect.
  • Warren Buffett divides the world into people who focus on their own instincs and those who follow the herd.
  • Lao Zi, The Way of Lao Zi: «Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know».
  • In the West, we subscribe to the Extrovert Ideal, while in much of Asia, silence is golden.
  • When a Chinese Communist leader makes a speech, he reads it, not even from a teleprompter but from a paper.Professor Preston Ni: «If he’s the leader, everyone has to listen».
  • Gandhi was, according to his autobiography, a constitutionally shy and quiet man. As a child, he was afraid of everything: thieves, ghosts, snakes, the dark, and especially other people. he buried himself in books and ran home from school as soon as it was over, for fear of having to talk to anybody. Gandhi learned over time to manage his shyness, but he never really overcame it. He couldn’t speak extemporaneously; he avoided making speeches whenever possible.
  • Gandhi himself ultimately rejected the phrase «passive ressistance», which he associated with weakness, preferring satyagraha, the term he coined to mean «firmness in pursuit of truth».
  • Should we attempt to manipulate our behavior within the range available to us, or should we simply be true to ourselves? At what point does controlling our behavior become futile, or exhausting?
  • Introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly.
  • There’s a limit to how much we can control our self-representation. This is partly because of a phenomenon called behavioral leakage, in which our true selves seep out via unconscious body language.
  • It’s not always so easy, it turns out, to identify your core personal projects. And it can be especially tough for introverts, who have spent so much of their lives conforming to extroverted norms that by the time they choose a career, or a calling, if feels perfectly normal to ignore their own preferences.
  • Pay attention to what you envy. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You mostly envy those who have what you desire.
  • Carl Jung: «The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed».
  • Big Five traits: Introversion-Extroversion; Agreeableness; Openness to Experience; Conscientiousness; and Emotional Stability. Many personality psychologists believe that human personality can be boiled down to these five characteristics.
  • It can be hard for extroverts to understand how badly introverts need to recharge at the end of a busy day. It’s also hard for introverts to understand just how hurtful their silence can be.
  • It can also be hard for introverts and extroverts to understand each other’s ways of resolving differences.
  • Introverts like people they meet in friendly contexts; extroverts prefer those they compete with.
  • The catharsis hypothesis is a myth, a plausible onbe, an elegant one, but a myth nonetheless. Scores of studies have shown that venting anger doesn’t soothe anger, it fuels it.
  • Introverted children talents are too often stifled, whether at home, at school, or on the playground.
  • Introverts relate to other people. Of course they do. They just do it in their own way.
  • One of the best things you can do for an introverted child is to work with him on his reaction to novelty. Remember that introverts react not only to new people, but also to new places and events.
  • It’s much easier to be one of the earlier guests, so your child feels as if other people are joining him in a space that the «owns», rather than having to break into a preexisting group.
  • Truth is that many schools are designed for extroverts. The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the rest of their lives, but too often what kids need to be prepared for is surviving the school day itself.
  • Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.
  • Studies show that one third to one half of us are introverts.
  • There are many paths to a satisfying life.
  • While extroverts are more likely to skate from one hobby or activity to another, introverts often stick with their enthusiasms. This gives them a major advantage as they grow, because true self-steem comes from competence, not the other way around.
  • The way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives.
  • Those who live the most fully realized lives tend to find meaning in their obstacles.
  • Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. Cherish your nearest and dearest. Work with colleages you like and respect. Don’t worry about socializing with everyone else. Relationships make everyone happier, introverts included, but think quality over quantity. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.
  • Here’s a rule of thumb for networking events: one new honest-to-goodness relationship is worth ten fistfuls of business cards. Rush home afterward and kick back on your sofa. Carve out restorative niches.
  • If it’s creativity you’re after, ask your employees to solve problems alone before sharing their ideas. Don’t mistake assertiveness or eloquence for good ideas.
  • In our house, reading was the primary group activity.

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