If you feel like you are a quiet person living in a noisy world, then there is a book for you: Quiet by Susan Cain, ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. I happened upon it whilst trying to find out exactly why I find some social occasions – particularly those where there are lots of people I don’t know – so difficult. I started off on the track of ‘shyness’ looking for answers. I am shy, there’s no doubt about it, but I socialise very well in groups where I know people. Going through a phase of my working life where I subjected myself to numerous personality tests, the evidence mounted that I am slightly introverted. Being introverted is often misconstrued as being anti-social and shy and even as being a personality disorder. It’s not the case. Introverts, most basically, renew their energy from solitary pursuits and need time alone to recharge. As the website Psychology Today puts it:
Introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Their disposition is frequently misconstrued as shyness, social phobia or even avoidant personality disorder, but many introverts socialize easily; they just strongly prefer not to.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for socialising and definitely need a goodly amount of it in my life. My ‘introversion’ reflects a strong aversion to some situations whilst, at the same time, having to take myself aside and tell myself to shut up in other situations: I need to make an effort to be fair to everyone else in lectures and classes and not hog all the attention of the presenter. Mostly, I just need quiet time in order to think my thoughts, of which there are very many, to read, listen to music and process all that happens in my world.
As it turns out, introverts are extremely useful for all sorts of things in the world and pursue their goals with a quiet persistence that gets results. Just follow this list: Abraham Lincoln; Eleanor Roosevelt; Bill Gates; Albert Einstein; Mahatma Gandhi; Rosa Parks (Civil Rights legend who refused to give up her bus seat for a white man in 1955); Warren Buffett; Charles Darwin; Al Gore; Isaac Newton; Steven Spielberg.
So if you feel like a quiet person in a noisy world, read Quiet and see what it is that you have in common with all these high achievers. Available fairly much everywhere as an eBook or on old-fashioned paper.