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Investing in the Talents We Have

How We Shine

In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain makes the case that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so.

She charts the rise of what she calls the “extrovert ideal” throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our western culture.

Among many other findings, she shares that introverts and extroverts have different styles of work:

  • Introverts focus on one task at a time, work methodically, and have an ability to concentrate for long periods of time.

  • Introverts tend not to be motivated by external rewards.

  • Extroverts jump into jobs quickly, multitask, take risks, and make quick decisions.

  • Extroverts are often motivated by extrinsic factors such as competition and status.

The research confirms that because introverts and extroverts leverage strengths in different ways, when they collaborate, they are more highly effective in accomplishing a wide range of goals than when working in silos.

All of this is good news for parents and teachers who are introverts and/or who have kids/students who are introverts who may have felt that to “get ahead” they had to strive or encourage their kids to strive tobe someone they’re not. Investing in the talents we have is what makes us shine. And it’s enough. It’s always enough.


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