Monday, April 16, 2012

Quiet by Susan Cain

Whew. I can wholeheartedly admit to being an INFJ and I feel good about that. Thanks to Susan Cain and her new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, I finally feel fine about being an introvert. Her book reveals the research regarding nature:nurture (you're born that way Intropal), temperament is not necessarily personality, that American corporations' celebration and promotional love of Harvard Business School extraverted clones is not necessarily the best choice for American businesses. Witness the run-up to 2008, during which the Harvard MBA non-risk averse/ reward seeking/ dopamine-addled CEOs brought the global economy to a crashing halt. Witness also that the government bodies supervising these extravert extreme money sportsters were populated with more of the same. My brother David sent a link to a TED Talk given by Susan Cain, and I was impressed that, although her voice shook a little, she stood there and gave us all this great information. I put a hold on her book immediately. Thanks, bro! I wrote back to David that I remembered 10th grade, the first card marking in Mr. Manos' Social Science class, what should have been a slamdunk A for me. He gave me a C. I gathered all my data, made an appointment and quaking with fear, outlined my reasons why I thought I deserved an A. He listened. He reminded me that at the beginning of the year he said class participation would be 50% of our grade. I squeaked that my participation level was the best I could pull off. He didn't budge. I didn't budge. I told him I'd take it up with my counselor. Manos changed my grade to a B-. In the business world much later, I sat during a performance review while my boss held her pencil over the "Team Player" evaluation box. "Opportunity for improvement?" she queried, pretty damn sure she'd get acquiescence. I thought about it a minute or two. I was tired; tired of forced participation over many decades, and tired of extra work to change what was essentially my core temperament. I shook my head. No. I am not a team player. I will never be a team player. I do not do well in work pods, on team building activities, or in groups of more than 2. She checked the box anyway. I took it along to my next boss, explained my position and he erased it and checked satisfactory. Introverts like quiet, minimal stimulation, privacy and the opportunity to wield their business and creative magic away from the klieg lights, and off the stage loved by extraverts. Introverts need to be given a little room. With a door. And a lock.

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