If you’ve ever been chastised or ridiculed for being “too quiet”, “too reclusive”, or “too shy”, then you’re probably an introvert — and unfortunately the modern world has lost sight of the good introversion can bring.
As Susan Cain explains in her TED Talk, being an introvert was actually seen as a good thing in the past. It wasn’t until the 20th century when Western society shifted from a “culture of character” to a “culture of personality”, and that’s when introverts lost their value.
Watch the full 19-minute talk below to see what she’s getting at:
To be clear, introversion is NOT shyness. Rather, the introvert/extrovert spectrum — yes, it’s more of a continuum than a binary trait — describes one’s sensitivity to external stimuli (which can include social stimuli) and how one reacts when faced with a stimulus.
Extroverts crave this stimulation while introverts prefer to avoid it, which could explain why introverts love Facebook and extroverts don’t.
As it turns out, at least one-third of our population is introverted — and society tramples over them because they are seen as loners who are weak, shy, and socially awkward. That may or may not be true, but we should remember that introverts are still valuable to society.
In general, introverts tend to be deeper thinkers, take fewer risks, make better leaders, are better at advancing and exploring ideas, and tend to be more creative. Watch the TED Talk and read her books Quiet (UK) and Quiet Power (UK) for more on why that is.
So maybe it’s time we started seeing introverts for what they really are: individuals who have a lot to offer even if those benefits aren’t as immediately visible as in extroverts.
Are you an introvert? If so, how has society treated you? If not, how do you view them? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Share down below!
Explore more about: TED Talks.