PIDP 3250 Journal Reflection 2: The Power of Introverts

In her February, 2012 “Power of Introverts” TED Talk, Susan Cain inspires us to examine and consider the qualities and personality traits of introverts and how these can be embraced for the greater good.

Educators and New York Times Best Selling Authors Chip and Dan Heath state that “there are six key qualities of an idea that is made to stick: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotional, and stories” (2007, Heath, D&C). Cain’s talk possesses all of these traits.

This TED talk is now available in 42 languages (subtitled) and has been viewed over 10.6 million times. Apparently, it has resonated or “stuck” with a few people, and now I know why.

You can watch the video here:  Susan Cain TED Talk

As  a result of this TED Talk, I commit to overcoming my bias towards extroverts (over introverts) in the classroom by implementing the following:

1. Allowing choices when it comes to group work.
This may mean giving an option for an individual or group assignment. I want to ensure we all have the “zone of stimulation” that is right for us as individuals.
2. Provide a balance of group and individual activities over the balance of the semester
I will not get rid of group assignments as I want to provide opportunities, in an educational setting, for introverts and extroverts to learn to work together.
3. Recognize and appreciating the capacity of introverts as excellent leaders
“Introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do, because when they are managing proactive employees, they’re much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas” (Cain, 2007).
4. Allow places and time for interaction and socialization online and in face-to-face settings
5. Encourage input from the entire introvert-extrovert spectrum

As I listened to this talk, I couldn’t help but to think of my eldest son who is a quiet and soft spoken, introvert. He is happiest in small, quiet groups. And, he craves time alone to relax, rejuvenate, and for personal reflection.

Unfortunately, introverts are undervalued in society. All too often, it is “he who makes the most noise” that is heard and respected. It is human nature to be drawn to the energy, joy and outward passion, or charisma, that many extroverts exude.

Extroverts have many great and wonderful qualities such as “sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and excitability” (2015, Cherry, K).  And, as Cain mentions, she is not calling for the abolishment of extroverts. The call to action is one of “seeking balance” between the two.

Some of the most influential people in our modern society are self-proclaimed introverts including: Maya Angelo, Steve Jobs, Ghandi, and Rosa Parks – to name a few. It’s hard to imagine what our world would be like without the amazing talents and minds of these introverts.

Despite this, Cain states that “groups famously follow the opinions of the most dominant or charismatic person in the room, even though there’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas — I mean zero.”

This truth can be extremely harmful to our society. If you think about the fact that one-third of the  people in this world are introverts – that is a lot of valuable ideas that are potentially being ignored, in favor of a “loud” idea that may not be as good.

As an extreme extrovert, I’ve always found it tough to relate to introverts – which is ironic because I am also married to one. He is not as far on the introvert spectrum as our son; however, he has many introvert qualities in that he is: modest, shy, quiet, and introspective.

In our relationship, we have achieved that balance of Yin and Yang between introverts and extroverts that Cain speaks of in her talk.

What I mean by this is that we are able to collaborate and work together to bring the best qualities of our introverted and extroverted selves together to achieve our mutual goals as parents, employees, and individuals.

Similar to many mainstream education institutions and employers, I’ve come to realize that I too undervalue the role of introverts in our society. I now know that we need to embrace and allow for activities and opportunities that suit both types of personalities.

Cain explains that “introversion is more about, how you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.”

We must find ways to ensure introverts (and extroverts) have the tools they need to work to their best potential, and aren’t feeling shamed. We must embrace introverts desires to work alone or in smaller groups and have time set aside for introspection and reflection.

If we continue to under accommodate introvert behaviours “it’s our loss for sure, but it is also our colleagues’ loss and our communities’ loss. And at the risk of sounding grandiose, it is the world’s loss. Because when it comes to creativity and to leadership, we need introverts doing what they do best” (2007, Cain).

In our schools, we must recognize that introverts can be ideal students, despite the fact that they may not be the first to speak up when questions are posed to the class. According to Cain’s “research” introverts actually get better grades and are more knowledgeable.

Personally, I have a new found respect for the introverts in my life. Going forward, I will no longer make my introverted son feel guilty for slipping off to his room to be alone when we have large groups of friends over. I will respect his need for privacy, freedom, peace and quiet.

Additionally, as an extrovert, I will be making more time for individual reflection in nature. This is something I have always valued and longed for, but never seem to allow enough time for.

References cited:

Susan Cain: The power of introverts. (2007, February 1). Retrieved February 10, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007). Made to stick: Why some ideas survive and others die. New York: Random House.

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Extraversion. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://psychology.about.com/od/trait-theories-personality/f/extraversion.htm

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Extraversion. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://psychology.about.com/od/trait-theories-personality/f/extraversion.htm

Transcript of “The power of introverts” (2007, February 1). Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts/transcript?language=en#t-784700

Advertisements

About robincookbondy

My name is Robin Cook Bondy and I live in Ladner, BC with my husband and three sons. I am a communications and public relations professional pursuing further education in the area of adult learning.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to PIDP 3250 Journal Reflection 2: The Power of Introverts

  1. AM Godo says:

    Hi Robin,
    I enjoyed your blog on introverts. Regarding your son, Susan Cain is launching a company to reach introverts and extraverts who love, raise, teach, and work with them. You can find out more information on Cain’s website http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/2014/09/05/join-the-quiet-revolution/
    Thanks for sharing your insight!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s