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The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

By Susan Cain
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet (2012) focuses on the strengths and needs of both introverts and extroverts. These blinks describe the situations in which both personality types feel comfortable and the ways in which each can use the potential of their personality to the fullest.

Key idea 1 of 10

Many introverts are highly sensitive, often responding strongly to their environment.

The vast majority of introverts have yet another personality trait in common: they are highly sensitive. Extroverts, on the other hand, rarely exhibit this characteristic.

People who are highly sensitive process information from their environment in an unusually thorough way. For instance, if they are told to search for images in picture puzzles, they will take more time observing and get more involved with the photos than those who are not highly sensitive.

As a result of this complex way of perceiving, highly sensitive people find profound conversations about values and morals far more stimulating than the superficial anecdotes of a colleague’s recent vacation. While extroverts engage in small talk, introverts discuss climate change.

Highly sensitive people’s intense processing of information is also noticeable in their sympathetic nature. Tragedies and cruelties have more of an emotional impact on them. Their skin seems to be thinner, giving them less protection from the deluge of day-to-day impressions and perceptions.

Consequently, introverts have a strict moral conscience: they are aware of how their behavior affects others and tend to take their own mistakes to heart. To these highly sensitive individuals, it means a lot to be seen positively by others, which makes it unusually trying for them to meet new people or be interviewed.

It is thus safe to conclude that highly sensitive people feel emotions more acutely, notice changes more quickly and react more strongly to looks, sounds, pain and stimulants, such as coffee or alcohol.

This sensitivity also helps us define the difference between introversion and shyness: shy people are afraid of negative judgment, whereas introverts, because of their sensitivity, just prefer quiet environments with little stimulation. Though quiet and reserved, Bill Gates doesn’t seem to care what others think of him, whereas Barbra Streisand is extremely outgoing but suffers from severe stage fright. The former is an introvert, while the latter is a shy extrovert.

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