Friday, October 05, 2012

Quiet Power

I remember sitting in a Bible group years ago and taking a "personality inventory" to see if  I was an introvert or extrovert. I was surprised to learn, by the standards of the quiz, I was a full-blown, off-the-charts introvert.  Not knowing what this meant but figuring that most sociopaths, psychopaths and convicted felons scored the same as me, I felt the blood rush from my head and this full-body creep of personal disappointment, dare I say shame.  Surrounded by gift-of-gabbers, I ran through all sorts of scenarios in my head about how I might spin this so as not to appear so, well, unChristian.

One on one, I find people enchanting.  I really do.  But, give me the choice of breaking banana bread and exchanging one-pot recipes with 12 women without an agenda.... or plucking goose feathers... I'd go for the goose.  I really would.  I don't mind silence.  In fact, I need it.  Otherwise, I can't think.  I can't create. It's the way, I suspect, God has wired me.

In the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain exhaustively researches and reflects upon the way in which the economic drivers of the 20th century manufactured an extrovert "ideal" that Americans have been trying to model and emulate ever since.  Cain tugs at the mask to try and expose whether or not it's illusory. Do extroverts have better ideas? Are they better problem solvers? Are they better leaders? Or, do we tend to simply follow after the guy or gal who speaks most often and can be heard most loudly?
If you are an introvert... if you are married to an introvert... if you are raising an introvert... if you were raised by an introvert... if you have ever met an introvert... if you have ever heard about this word that's spelled i-n-t-r-o-v-e-r-t... you need to read this book.  If you are an extrovert, you need to read it, too.  It might radically change the way you view and value the contributions of others. 

Love & peace and quiet.

On my iPod... I'll Never Know by Goldenhorse


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