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Monday, May 21, 2012

Quiet

Listening. That is all I was really doing. Listening to others speak in a woman's small group I was attending. Just soaking it all in. Thinking. Listening.

"You're quiet and haven't talked yet. What to you think, Deanna?" the leader asked.

Inward gasp. All eyes on me. I'd love to melt into the floor. Instead I took a breath and rattled off something like, "I'm just listening to the others" thinking that would get me off the hook.

But, no. What happened next was something so uncomfortable I never went back to class. Yes, wrong response to this situation. My fight or flight response was flight. I didn't need this. This introvert-self had enough of the very extrovert leader and a few of the extrovert classmates.

I left that night wondering what was wrong with me. What was wrong with them. Why can't others realize we, as a people, are not all cut from the same cloth? I'd never expect the extrovert leader to sit there quietly when it wasn't in her. Yet, why did she push and push me to utter a word when I was happy and content to listen and think?

How many times have you been in a meeting where the leader throws an idea or a sermon series title out to the group and says, "Let's brainstorm some ideas and decide what we will do." Or in Sunday School and on the way home from church you think I should have said this, this, or this. A small group leader calls you out and says, "You've been quiet. What are you thinking about x, y, and z?"

Quiet-The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Written by introvert Susan Cain, this book delves into the history and differences between introverts and extroverts. I personally do not like labels...even though I just labeled the small group leader....oops. Quiet is eye-opening. I may be normal after all!

This book is neither pro or con introvert verses extroverts which I applaud. If the reader is an extrovert, I firmly believe the extrovert will understand those of us who are introverts. And, visa versa. If you know me personally, you may not think I'm an introvert. There are many different levels of introverts and extroverts, I've learned.

Don't know if you are an introvert or extrovert? The author provides a handy quiz. There are different levels of introversion. Author Susan Cain informs us not everyone is the same level. One can actually be in the middle of an introvert and extrovert, called ambivert.

My daughter and I took the quiz separately. We both ended up with the same score. My daughter stated, "Oh, now that makes sense" when reading one of the quiz questions. Reading Quiet opened my eyes to see how our country really does regard extroverts as leaders. Should we conform or as the saying goes, 'come out of our shell'? In a world that is blaring "be yourself", it seems as though it is saying, "be yourself....as long as you are a leader, a go-getter, a social butterfly...". Quiet is full of introvert leaders. These leaders just have to pretend to be extroverts to get out there publicly.

Author Susan Cain does have quite a bit of history and studies in her book. Did the book drag on and on? In some sections, yes. In other sections, no. I would assume it all depends on how much information of a particular study you'd find interesting.

Quiet is full of so much information. It makes it hard to write a thorough review. I do recommend Quiet to employers, parents and anyone in leadership positions at church. Quiet will definitely help us all understand people--extroverts, ambiverts and introverts. Just think, if God made everyone the same what a boring world this would be.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing through their Blogging for Books program. I am not required to write a favorable review, only an honest review.



4 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for your thoughts and the review. Hope you have a great week! :O)

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    1. Thanks! I hope you pick up the book and enjoy.

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  2. Great points to the introvert/extrovert debate :) I find it interesting that the world views the extroverts as leaders. It makes sense, especially when we look at who we elect. It's the over-confident, big talkers with big promises everyone runs to, but do they really deliver and does it mean they can really lead? Many are great salesmen and nothing more while many introverts have the skills to lead. They just don't brag about it.

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    1. There are many in history who were introverts and 'changed' the world. Einstein, Chopin, Dr Seuss, Charles Schultz and many more. However, they had to 'become' extroverts in order to succeed. It seems harder to get 'ahead' because of our worldly thinking on this. But without introverts you'd lose many deep thinkers and creative people. We need both (all three actually) in the world. We just need to acknowledge everyone's personality and not try to make everyone into mini-mes. Thanks, Julie!

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