Author – Poulomi Dave
I recently read Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop talking” and I could directly it to my own personal experiences. Throughout my childhood, whenever I would meet a family guest, my father would always introduce me as a shy kid. That made me feel a little weird, because I was just being myself after all and yet I was being pointed at.
Throughout my life, I was always pushed to be more talkative, more expressive, basically more extrovert. As Susan Cain rightly points out, it is the society that has created this ‘Extrovert Ideal’ that it wants everyone to follow. The society has this notion that the more expressive ones are the most intelligent ones. Throughout my schooling, the teachers in my class would suggest that I need to talk more; I need to interact more. If such well-learned people couldn’t understand that it’s okay to be quiet, then we introverts can definitely not expect the larger society to understand us!
As the famous saying in Hindi goes “Joh dikhta hain wahi bikhta hain”, the more extrovert you are, the more you attract the ones around you and the more convincing you are. If you really want to make good progress in whatever you do, then you need to be an extrovert. Furthermore, extroverts are seen as great leaders, while introverts are not really preferred for leadership positions.
Dealing with my introversion became a little more difficult when I started working. On the very second day at work, my boss told me that I needed to talk more and I was not very surprised when she said that. However, I took it up as a challenge to prove that I can talk too. So I started having small talks with everyone in office, but I realized soon I hated these chat sessions, and I was literally forcing myself to become more outgoing, which was not right.
The society needs to understand that introverts may not be the best talkers, but they are equally capable as extroverts. The only difference between the two would be the way in which they work: extroverts are usually seen as risk takers and are more spontaneous, whereas introverts are deep thinkers and like to concentrate on one task at a time. So both of them have their ways of dealing with things, but in the end, it is an extrovert who usually takes most of the credit!
As Susan has rightly stated, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas”. She has given real world examples of some famous introverts who have had a major impact on the world today: J.K Rowling, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, Gandhiji to name a few. Even the famous Albert Einstein stated that once in a while we should all be loners, as it gives us time to wonder, to search for the truth, and have a holy curiosity.
So what does being an introvert do to you? Well, it gives you time to think deeply, which only a few can do in this busy world. So all the introverts out there should be proud of what they are and not let the society bully them into what they are not. As for the society, we introverts would really appreciate if it would accept us for who we are.
We could have a much better world if employers were not just looking for vibrant talkative employees. People need to understand that the ‘extrovert ideal’ that we have created, needs to change. I am not saying that that introverts will be better than their extrovert counterparts at work, but both need to be given equal importance and need to be understood.
The world will be a much better place when people would be themselves rather than masking themselves into something that they are not. That’s what most introverts do in order to fit in, but why fit in when you were born to stand out. I think I am getting too philosophical, but to conclude I would like to quote Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself because everyone else is taken!” So introverts and extroverts… do what you do best and for the society – please be equally appreciative to both of them.