I first read ‘Quiet- The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ by Susan Cain a while ago- when it first came out I think, but put it aside as I felt it a bit defensive and ‘chippy’; an overreaction to the dominance of extroverts in the workplace and socially. But now I see that I did protest too much- maybe she was making me face up to stuff I really didn’t want to accept. This time round I filled in the questionnaire in the book (I am a sucker for a nice quiz) to find out once and for all where I lie on the introvert/ extrovert spectrum. Ticking statements such as ‘I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities’ and ‘I prefer not to show or discuss my work until it’s finished’ (double tick) and ‘I often let the phone go through to voicemail.’ (Yes, and then ‘forget’ to listen to the VM- I am a true phone-phobic, if there is such a thing. ) Turns out I am more introvert than not…. and yet… still I resist. I think this is about understanding and accepting what it means to be introvert- I am not shy, in any way! And I love, appreciate and seek the company of others, and I believe I am socially quite skilled, and I perversely quite enjoy public speaking- but there comes a point where delicious solitude beckons like a comforting hug.
Throughout the book Susan Cain convinces that we live in a society biased towards the extrovert, but that introverts have advantages that shouldn’t be underestimated. Without resorting to stereotypes, she encourages us to know ourselves and play to our strengths, something that I’ve been enjoying exploring for some years, and no doubt will continue to do.
This wasn’t meant to be a book review. It’s just that in learning of the creative habits of extraordinary people I came across this line from a poem by William Wordsworth, about Isaac Newton, a well known introvert. I hear this line in every cell of my quiet spirit. He worked alone, like many of our great geniuses, and gave himself the space and energy to make his great discoveries, without worrying whether he fitted a cultural stereotype of and successful and socially adept bon viveur.
And from that quote came this journal spread, which felt more raw and honest than anything I’ve done for a while.