Susan Cain: The power of introverts

2 Jul

This is a great talk as it brings out elegantly and persuasively the power of introverts.

Susan Cain does great service to vast number of people who are deemed introverts and gives them a voice. As a poet from these parts , Dilip Chitre said ” Each one of us has a voice.Its all we have.”

In this delightful talk the speaker graciously points out the need for much better appreciation, harmony and societal balance between introverts, extroverts and what she calls ambiverts ( people who fall in between).

She says “all the times that I got the message that somehow my quiet and introverted style of being was not necessarily the right way to go, that I should be trying to pass as more of an extrovert. And I always sensed deep down that this was wrong and that introverts were pretty excellent just as they were.”

Susan Cain further states “Our most important institutions, our schools and our workplaces, they are designed mostly for extroverts and for extroverts’ need for lots of stimulation. And also we have this belief system right now that I call the new groupthink,which holds that all creativity and all productivity comes from a very oddly gregarious place.”

She goes on to say ” And when it comes to leadership, introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions,even though introverts tend to be very careful, much less likely to take outsize risks — which is something we might all favor nowadays. And interesting research by Adam Grant at the Wharton School has found that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do, because when they are managing proactive employees, they’re much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas, whereas an extrovert can, quite unwittingly, get so excited about things that they’re putting their own stamp on things, and other people’s ideas might not as easily then bubble up to the surface.”

I concur with above because my belief is ” Leadership is about “YOU” ” , if its about “me”, its not going to be inclusive and that’s a dangerous prospect for eminent leadership roles in public life. This is also the reason i feel corporates mostly are not cut for roles in public life, as Indra Nooyi , Pepsico CEO once said in an interview with our own wonderful Barkha, that as a CEO you can enforce your vision in a company and there is a need for others to follow and that might not quite work in public life.

Susan Cain also gives examples of some greatest tans formative forces Gandhi , Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks , who were quite soft spoken people who had great impact on our lives.

Now confession time, am an introvert, every time go out, look for a book store and a coffee shop, both in the same place 🙂

I was such an introvert in my growing years that once dropped my mother for a church wedding and stood outside the church for full two hours from 8pm till 10 pm.

At another time, it went on to embarrassing level of hiding myself in a cupboard because could not face guests at home when i was fourteen or fifteen, that’s hideous or dysfunctional 🙂

I also felt in my twenties when the woman whom i was seeing went on to marry someone else, heart broken as i was,  thought did i persuade her enough ? or my quiet introverted nature did not convey the extent of my deep commitment ? because she did say ” if you had only said that you wanted me at all costs then would have been different”, so learnt hard way ,communication is so important ..

But am an introverted person who has got better and really loves people, enjoys meeting people, likes public speaking, likes fun, though still don’t know what to say in social situations 🙂

But then there are great actors like Robert de Niro who hardly speak in interviews but put them on camera, its sheer magic 🙂

Hope you like this really nice talk. Thank you!



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