Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking

What Can We Do To Change?

  • Research suggests that we have free will and can use it to change the temperament we are born with. Cain uses the metaphor of the rubber band to suggest that we can be flexible, but can only stretch so far. The excitable part of your brain (the amygdala) can be controlled if the thinking part (the cortex) makes the effort. If stress keeps the cortex busy, the amygdala will allow your fears to come roaring back.
  • We each have what Cain calls a sweet spot in terms of the amount of stimulation that allows for optimal performance. One study showed that extroverts choose louder sounds while performing a task and that they performed less well when the sound was turned down. The opposite was true for introverts. Understanding this concept can allow you to adjust the amount of stimulation you encounter and increase your satisfaction in every area of life.

Extroverts Seem Cool Because They Are Cool.

  • Chapter 6 starts with a great story about Franklin (extrovert) and Eleanor (introvert) Roosevelt and how their differences made them a great team. It goes on to talk about how introverts tend to feel more guilty and that guilt is a building block of conscience. Functional moderate guilt may promote altruism, responsibility, and harmonious, competent, and prosocial behavior. Introverts may actually have thinner skin as they tend to sweat more. This means extroverts may seem cool because they are cooler.

We Need Both.

  • Extroverts get better grades in elementary school, but introverts outperform in high school and college. At the university level, introversion predicts academic performance better than cognitive ability. Introverts think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately. Introvert persistence is more than a match for extrovert buzz, even when a task requires more in the way of social skills. The best corporate decisions reflect the input of both kinds of people.

Soft Power – The Asian Culture

  • It seems that Asians in the US are more likely to be introverts and honor their parent’s requests to study hard and do well in school. In Asian cultures, introversion is respected, not looked down upon. In the West, we subscribe to the Extrovert Ideal, while in Asia, silence is golden. As a result, Asians are less likely to make it to the top of American corporations. (Doug: This cultural theme should be studied in black and Hispanic cultures as well.)

Can You Act More Extroverted or Introverted?

  • Cain explores this concept and gives an example of people who do. Gifted teachers can be great in front of a class but very introverted elsewhere. Some believe that our position on the spectrum depends on the situation. Free Trait Theory says we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits but we act out of character when necessary. Some are better at modifying their behavior than others. Cain provides an instrument you can use to test your ability. You also need to be careful when you suppress your emotions and look for ways to restore your true self.
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One Response to “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking

  1. I go to school in Canada and we just now are learning about this in the classroom.
    Thank you for helping me with the conclusion of my report.

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