A quiet revolution — I’m in. Are you?

Shh. I’m taking part in a revolution.

It’s Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution. It’s about empowering introverts — who make up between one-third and one-half of the populationĀ¹ — to be their best selves.

Probably because they’re in the minority, introverts are often misunderstood — by extroverts, and even by themselves. For example:

  • Shyness isn’t the same thing as introversion.
  • Being socially awkward isn’t the same thing as introversion.
  • Being quiet is a hallmark of introversion, but it doesn’t mean I have nothing to contribute.

gentle_wayWe introverts, simply, draw strength and energy by looking inward — in contrast to extroverts, who draw strength and energy by interacting with other people. Introverts can function very well in social situations, but after a while we need to withdraw and recharge our batteries.

Susan bases her Quiet Revolution on the idea that introverts have lots to contribute, and that they can learn to turn their introversion into a strength — even in a society that often favors and rewards extroverted behavior. She wants to help people turn their introversion into a strength — especially potential business leaders and children who struggle in school.

I certainly can get behind that. Quietly. Just don’t mistake my quietness for a lack of resolve.

Note 1: The one-third to one-half statistic is Susan’s.

4 thoughts on “A quiet revolution — I’m in. Are you?

  1. Karen Field Carroll

    Hi, Larry–I’m in! I read Quiet last summer and felt validated in my love of solitude for the first time in my life. I first discovered the name for my personality type when from a book called Do What You Are. I was a fitness director at the time and getting slammed left and right for not being outgoing enough. When I read Do What You Are, I discovered my personality type (ISTJ, with an emphasis on the “I”) AND the career of technical writing. At that moment, I knew a career in fitness–as much as I loved BEING fit–wasn’t going to work for me, and I started making plans to transition to technical communication.

    Your comment on Susan’s article site was perfect. Recently, a new therapist was asking me about my personality and asked, “Are you shy, introverted?” I said, “Completely introverted.” Because I’d been friendly and open throughout our discussion, he said, “I’m not getting that.” THAT’s when I realized people confuse shyness with introversion. They. Are. Not. The. Same.
    Great post, Larry!

    1. Karen Field Carroll

      P.S. I questioned Susan’s stat on the number of introverts in the world. I think people with tendencies toward introversion (that is, more introverted than extroverted) is more like 20-30%, and I think the number of “full-time” introverts, people who have few tendencies toward extroversion, is less than that.

    2. Larry Kunz Post author

      Thanks, Karen! I know that many people confuse introversion with shyness. I’m sorry to hear, though, that a therapist made the same mistake. It just goes to show that the time is ripe for the Quiet Revolution.

  2. Pingback: Extroverts and introverts: We’re all relevant | Leading Technical Communication

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