The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance

The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance

  • Introverts prefer quiet, minimally stimulating environments, while extroverts need higher levels of stimulation to feel their best. Stimulation comes in all forms – social stimulation, but also lights, noise, and so on.
  • It’s also important to understand that introversion is different from shyness. Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, while introversion is simply the preference for less stimulation.
  • Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts.
  • Many introverts feel there’s something wrong with them, and try to pass as extroverts. But whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way. You especially lose a sense of how to spend your time.
  • According to the latest research, one third to one half of us are introverts – that’s one out of every two or three people you know.
  • Most schools and workplaces now organize workers and students into groups, believing that creativity and productivity comes from a gregarious place.
  • When you’re working in a group, it’s hard to know what you truly think. We’re such social animals that we instinctively mimic others’ opinions, often without realizing we’re doing it.
  • Forty years of research shows that brainstorming in groups is a terrible way to produce creative ideas. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.
  • An interesting line of research by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist suggests that the most creative people in many fields are usually introverts. This is probably because introverts are comfortable spending time alone, and solitude is a crucial (and underrated) ingredient for creativity.

But I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward. (Note: example of escaping through music.)

In our culture, snails are not considered valiant animals – we are constantly exhorting people to “come out of their shells” – but there’s a lot to be said for taking your home with you wherever you go. (Note: Like a snail taking your environment with you wherever you go – how to do this?).

 

 

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