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Quiet Power

The Secret Strengths of Introverts

By Susan Cain, with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz
  • Read in 12 minutes
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Quiet Power by Susan Cain, with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz

Quiet Power (2016) explains why adolescents struggle with introversion and explores how an aversion to socializing can make it challenging to form friendships, complete schoolwork and fulfill social obligations. These blinks offer a number of different techniques that introverts can use to make these situations bearable and turn their so-called weakness into a straightforward advantage.

Key idea 1 of 7

There are common misconceptions about what it means to be introverted or extroverted.

Some people like to see the world in black and white. They categorize people as being either attention-seeking extroverts or attention-avoiding introverts. But human beings aren’t that simple.

The terms “introvert” and “extrovert” were introduced by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung  – but, in truth, people needn’t fall into either category.

There is a long continuum of personality traits. Introversion and extroversion are just two categories situated at the extreme ends of this continuum. There is also a middle ground, which is commonly referred to as “ambivert.”

For example, you might know someone at work or school who keeps to themselves and is therefore considered an introvert. Yet this person might never shut up when they’re around close friends and family. Likewise, someone who’s pegged as an extrovert and the life of the party might cherish their downtime and appreciate solitude.

So there is no simple definition of an introvert. But if one had to name a primary characteristic shared by most introverts, it would be a rich inner-life.

This doesn’t mean they dislike the company of others; it simply suggests that, by nature, they tend to look within themselves and gravitate toward safe and quiet environments where they can recharge their batteries.

In fact, this is a good description of the author. While growing up, she was often asked by her friends, teachers and family members why she was always so quiet. The simple answer is that this was just her nature. She felt unhappy in loud, crowded and gregarious environments like summer camp, and she craved quiet places where she could read and commune with her thoughts.

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