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Quiet: The power of Introverts -Ep 1 (Sweden)
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This is a video series about introverts based on the book "Quiet (the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking)" by Susan Cain.

See the other two parts of this video series: Episode 2 | Episode 3

Introverts may have a hard time in a Western culture that pushes hard for extroversion, so they're getting the message that "something must be wrong with them", when in fact, they just have different qualities and strategies. They don't need to change anything about them, just realize their potential. After all, they probably make up half the population of any given society. This video tries to show that it's perfectly all right to be an introvert, even in the West.

Our lives are shaped as profoundly as by gender or race, and the single most important aspect of personality, the north and south of temperament.  It’s where we will fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  Yet, today we make room for remarkably narrow range of personality styles.  We’re told to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable, we see ourself as a nation of extroverts, which means that we lost sight of who we really are.  Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts.  In other words, one out of every two or three people you know. If you’re not an introvert yourself, you’re surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.  If these statistics surprise you, it’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts.  Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America.  You only have to raise the subject of this book with your friends and people you know to find that the most unlikely people consider themselves introverts.

It makes sense that so many introverts hide it from themselves.  We live with a value system that is called the Extrovert Ideal.  The universal belief that the ideal self is outgoing, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight.  The typical extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk taking to heed taking, certainty to doubts.  He favors quick decisions even at the risk of being wrong.  She works well in teams and socializes in groups.  Introversion along with its cousin sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness, is now a second class personality trait; somewhere between a disappointment and a disease.  Introverts living under the extrovert ideal are like women in a mans world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are.

Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style but we have turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.  If you’re an introvert, you also know that the bias against quiet can cause deep psychic pain.  As a child you might have overheard your parents apologize for your shyness, or at school you might have been prodded to come out of your shell.  That noxious expression that fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go and that some humans are just the same.

A member of an email list called introvert retreats writes “All the comments from childhood still rings in my ears, that I was lazy, stupid, slow, and boring.  By the time I was old enough to figure out that I was simply introverted, it was a part of my being, the assumption that there was something inherently wrong with me.  I wish I could find that little trace of doubt and remove it.”

You might also have been told that you’re in your head too much, a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral.  Of course, there’s another word for such people, thinkers.  There is no old purpose definition of introversion or extroversion.  There’s no unitary categories like curly haired or 16 year old.  Still today psychologists tend to agree on several important points.  For example, that introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation they need to function well.

Many psychologists would also agree that introverts and extroverts work differently.  Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly.  They make fast, sometimes rash decisions and are comfortable with multitasking and risk taking.  They enjoy the thrill of the chase for rewards like money and status.  Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately.  They like to focus on one task at a time and are god at concentrating.

Our personalities all shape our social styles.  Extroverts are the people who will add life to your dinner party and laugh generously at your jokes.  They tend to be self confident, dominant, and in great need of company.  Extroverts think out loud and on their feet.  They prefer talking to listening, rarely find themselves at a loss for words and occasionally blur out things they never meant to say.  Extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough.

Introverts in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home alone.  They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family.  They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as though they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.  They tend to dislike conflicts, many have a horror for small talk but enjoy deep discussions.  Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone.  Nor are introverts necessarily shy.  Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference that are not overstimulating.  Shyness is inherently painful, introversion is not.

One reason that people confuse the two concepts is that they sometimes overlap.  Many shy people turn inward, partly as a protection from the socializing that causes them such anxiety and many introverts are shy, partly as a result of receiving the message that there’s something wrong with their preference for reflection and partly because their psychologies as we will see, compel them to withdraw from high stimulation environments.

But for all their differences, shyness and introversion have in common something profound.  The mental state of a shy extrovert, sitting quietly in a business meeting maybe be very different from a calm introvert.  The shy person is afraid to speak up, while the introvert is simply overstimulated.  But to the outside world, the two appear the same.  This gives us an insight into how our focus on alpha status blinds us to things that are good, smart, and wise.

No matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert doesn’t mean that your behavior is predictable across all circumstances.  We can’t say that every introvert is a bookwork or every extrovert wears lamp shades at parties no more than we can say that every woman loves cooking and every man loves contact sports.  As Jung put it, there’s no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert.  Such a man would be in a lunatic asylum.  This is partly because 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 widely different kinds of people.


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