Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, has helped me to understand something I have struggled with my entire life but could never make sense of. I am someone who requires oceans of time alone, who has an inner life that is reliably richer than her outer life, who can go days without talking to anyone, who wants to be invited to the party but doesn’t usually want to go. I bristle, though, whenever anyone suggests the term “introvert” to describe me because I am also known to go around hugging strangers, and I pride myself on being able to have an interesting conversation with virtually anyone. Even if that person is a republican.
Cain explains that introverts are not necessarily shy, remote, socially awkward people. Introversion can refer to the way a person processes stimulus, which is to say that an introvert is someone who works better alone, who thrives in solitude, who craves peace and quiet. Someone like me.
She gives examples of famous introverts like Rosa Parks (above), as well as Gandhi and Lincoln (below), all of whom were able to channel their introversion into a revolution.
Cain’s TED talk:Back to Writing Index