Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates and Albert Einstein have a common personality trait: introspective, they were not given to big celebrations or made decisions effusively.
While others chased answers, they spent a lot of time contemplating problems. In a society in which extraversion embodies the ultimate ideal of success and happiness, attitudes like that of Parks, Lincoln, Buffett and Einstein just don't make sense.
So why, until today, are these non-radiant personalities recognized worldwide? The answer is in the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", by American lawyer and consultant Susan Cain.
No more shame and euphoric performance: it is time for introverts to embrace their main characteristic and use it to make a difference in society. Want to better understand how? Read on and you will be amazed at the true power of the quiet!
"Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" was published in 2012 and became an instant sales and critical success. To date, more than 3 million copies have been marketed worldwide.
The work is divided into 11 chapters which, in turn, are grouped into 4 thematic axes. Despite being a dense book, author Susan Cain's competent writing allows for a peaceful and measured reading, without tiring or bothering the reader.
This combination did not come by chance: the author invested 7 years in research and studies on the subject.
For more than 4 years, the book has been on the New York Times bestseller list. The book was awarded by the Goodreads website with the Choice Award for Best Non-Fiction.
The editorial success motivated the creation of an organization focused on training leaders and introverted children - The Quiet Revolution.
Susan Cain is a lawyer, writer, speaker and business consultant. As a lawyer, she worked for companies like JP Morgan and GE for 7 years.
She also served as a trading consultant and provided training to venture capital fund managers, entrepreneurs, lawyers and even students. In 2004, she started to dedicate herself to researching and writing the book that would become a world bestseller.
Currently, Susan Cain is a lecturer - presented one of the most watched lectures by TED Talks, the one that reached the first million views faster. Currently, the video has over 24 million views.
In parallel, Cain runs The Quiet Revolution, an institution dedicated to the education and training of people identified as introverted.
If you have always identified yourself as a thoughtful person with few words, the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" is ideal for you.
The work is also geared towards leaders who need to deal with people of different profiles all the time, and family members who must learn to relate to the quietest, as introverted children, without forcing them to act contrary to their nature.
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The cult of personality that emerged at the end of the 19th century in the United States led people to seek an ideal of charismatic character, easy to relate to others and immune to fear. This became the image of a successful person; what author Susan Cain calls the ideal of extroversion.
The problem, according to Cain, is that not everyone fits this model, despite social pressure. Introverts were frightened and started to suffer more with stress.
With that, extroversion became the only desirable pattern of behavior in society. Want to have a good job? Be outgoing. Want to be the employee of the month? Introverts don't pass. And to become a good family man? Guess what.
Over the years, according to the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", being outgoing, charismatic and exuding confidence has become synonymous with being a great leader.
However, reality contrasts with the idea: it was not uncommon, even at the height of economic development, to find CEOs who needed to make an effort to appear in public.
In critical situations, they were able to put institutions above their own ego, something more difficult for an extrovert.
The ideal of extroversion was also shown to be inadequate in the teams of creation and design of new products. The author explains that many engineers, developers and artists work better alone.
Thus, they are able to have more control over the result than if they were surrounded by a team.
With the advent of open offices and the enormous emphasis placed on the importance of teams to achieve results, working in isolation risks the introvert being seen as arrogant or disengaged.
But it is necessary for them, their leaders and their colleagues to understand the need for solitary work for the results.
The solution, according to author Susan Cain, is to refine interpersonal interactions at work. Instead of making it the norm, leaders must combine extroverted and introverted relationships according to the capabilities and temperaments of individuals.
Author Susan Cain differentiates temperament and personality: the first concerns patterns of behavior recorded in the individual's DNA, which can even be observed in babies.
The second concept, on the other hand, refers to the socio-cultural influences acquired throughout life and built on temperament. One is the foundation, the other is construction.
All of this means that while there are traits of behavior that people can never completely change, there are ways to adapt.
According to the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", biology does not determine who we are or what we do, but it does have considerable influence. A classic situation is public speaking, the dread of most introverts.
Even if the temperament signals that the stage is dangerous and the body triggers physiological signals - such as nausea, sweating and dry mouth - it is possible to develop strategies that minimize these effects and guarantee good results.
Over time, the personality gets used to the situation and the body accepts better although, deep down, there is still anxiety.
Ultimately, the individual always makes a conscious decision: follow primitive instincts and avoid danger or adapt and overcome discomfort and challenges.
However, personality is like a rubber band. Tensioned, it can move away from its axis - the temperament - to a certain extent, but one hour it is necessary to relax in the comfort zone.
The culture that involves individuals has a strong impact on personality construction. Just as the ideal of extroversion emerged in a specific socio-cultural and economic context in the United States, introversion is also prevalent in some societies.
An example cited by author Susan Cain is oriental culture, specifically in the countries she calls the Confucius Belt - China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Students from those nations who migrate to the United States are in stark contrast to vocal and resolute students native to the American country.
The ancient millenary culture, whose synthesis is represented in proverbs, thoughts and everyday words, reinforces the value of introspection, the formation of roots and discipline, places speech as an opponent of action and encourages silent reflection.
This explains why Asians, in general, are known both for their passive calm and slight social inadequacy and for their sharp intellect and extreme competence.
On the one hand, such characteristics can make it difficult from the career to the social life of individuals who are unable to adjust culturally.
However, they become able to exercise what the author calls in her book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", "soft power". It is based on "silent persistence", a method that favors content over rhetoric, and can lead to great achievements.
Introverts in general - not just Asians - can mirror these examples to act according to their characteristics.
Introversion does not have to be a vulnerability or defect, as seen by Western society, but it can become a competitive advantage even in the professional territory of extroverts.
Much of our personality is changeable according to the environment in which we are inserted. Author Susan Cain recalls that, in psychology, there is a person-situation debate to define which aspect is the most determinant in the way we act.
In many cases, we can relax attitudes to act in a way that pleases the people around us.
This means that people are able to act out of character and even very competently pretend to be a distinct personality.
However, traces of the original behavior emerge at some moments - a look away, a crossed arm in a defensive posture -, which indicates that there is a limit to this emulation.
The ability to simulate a non-natural character can be a tool for introverts to overcome common obstacles.
"Self-monitors", as Susan Cain calls them, are able to look for clues in the behavior of other people in a given social situation, to act differently in situations - and with different people - and to imitate emotions.
This skill, when used with caution, is useful. However, according to the author, it should be used only when there is a real purpose involved or an essential personal project at stake - something that gives us enough strength and motivation to get out of character.
Otherwise, the individual will not be able to manage the behavior effectively and will give the impression that he / she is an inauthentic person.
It must also be temporary. Simulation, especially for introverts, requires a lot of energy - for example, have you ever felt tired after presenting a job at college or a business project to investors?
It is important that the introvert returns to his safe space daily to "recharge", even if it is in the privacy of the home.
The author Susan recommends in her book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", that people make, with themselves and with their family and friends, a "free line agreement".
It means that the individual accepts to leave his character in some moments in exchange for being himself - and doing what he likes, even if it means being alone - the rest of the time. This tactic is essential for marital relationships where one is introverted and the other is extroverted.
It can also be something to agree on at work. Introverts manage to produce more in private environments, with little - if any - interference, although some companies embrace the open office culture.
It is possible to agree on the time when the team remains in the same space and when each one focuses on their work.
Author Tamara Myles, in the book "The Secret to Peak Productivity", develops the "Maximum Productivity Pyramid" system, whose model teaches you to organize from the space you work in until you know how to decide what is most important and how to get there close to your life goals.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in "Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder", draws the attention of those who are stuck in the comfort zone. It is a fact that there will be challenges on the path of innovation, but they are essential for any and all improvements, including the development of personal skills.
Finally, the authors Paula Marques and Ricardo Cayolla, in "The Super-Human Age", state that the future will belong to those who learn more skills and know how to agree with creativity.
However, they stress that the most important thing is "how to learn", as we must develop the ability to learn.
Now that we have reached the end, how about reviewing the practical tips from the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" and apply them to your daily life? Check out some points that we highlight below:
Did you imagine that introverts had so many qualities in their favor? We hope you enjoyed our summary and are able to apply the advice of the author, Susan Cain, to your life. Leave your opinion in the comments, your feedback is very important to us!
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