5 Reasons It's Ok To Be An Introvert

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Susan Cain's new book, Quiet:The Power of Introverts says shyness, sensitivity and seriousness are actually very positive personality traits...

Society has long been obsessed with extroverted personalities. Speaking up, and sounding confident, is seen as vital to success in the modern world. But, recent research suggests at least a third of us have a more introverted personality type. And author Susan Cain thinks that being an introvert is really not such a bad thing.

Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Susan Cain observes closely the differences between introverts and extroverts, pointing out why being an introvert is not always a negative thing and that no one is wholly one or the other. Click through to find out more about why being an introvert can be a powerful thing...

No-one is a true extrovert or introvert

No-one is a true extrovert or introvert

The extrovert/introvert ideal is based on the work of legendary psychologist Carl Jung. Introverts are drawn to thought and feeling, he said while extroverts prefer people and activities. In practice though, our environment and experiences also impact. Even Jung didn't subscribe to the idea fully, saying: "There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or pure introvert. Such a man would be in a lunatic asylum." Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Introvert...

Introvert...

Susan says introverts "may have strong social skills and enjoy parties, but after a while they wish they were at home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often express themselves better in writing. They tend to dislike conflict and small talk, and are relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame." Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Or extrovert?

Or extrovert?

While extroverts "are the people who will add life to your dinner party and laugh generously at your jokes. They tend to be assertive, confident, dominant and in great need of company. Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening. They're comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude." Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

The book

The book

In her new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Penguin, £20) Susan aims to readdress the age long introvert/extrovert debate. Here are five reasons to start embracing your inner introvert... Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Positive personality traits

Positive personality traits

The introvert/extrovert debate is central to personality. Unlike their extroverted counterparts, introverts don't demand attention from others. They're considered more sensitive, quiet, thoughtful and serious. Introverts are also great listeners. Susan says these are positive qualities which should be celebrated. Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Introverts can make better bosses

Introverts can make better bosses

We often imagine strong leaders to be outspoken and decisive. Not so, says Susan. "Extroverts can be so intent on putting their own stamp that they risk losing others ideas along the way...We don't need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run." Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Van Gogh was an introvert...

Van Gogh was an introvert...

So were Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and George Orwell. In fact, as Susan argues, "some of our greatest ideas, art and inventions...came from quiet and cerebral people". Just like J.K Rowling, Bill Gates or Google founder, Larry Page. Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Introversion doesn't equal shyness

Introversion doesn't equal shyness

"Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not", Susan says. Although quietness is a characteristic of an introverted personality, most introverts actually enjoy socialising. People who suffer from shyness tend to avoid the anxiety of these social situations altogether. Susan thinks our extrovert-obsessed society is actually to blame for most shyness because we see quietness as a character flaw. Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Introverts are often more complex thinkers

Introverts are often more complex thinkers

New research suggests introverts are also highly-sensitised, processing their thoughts differently to extroverts. "They process information about their environment unusually deeply", Susan says, "They tend to notice subtleties other people miss, are highly empathic and have unusually strong consciences." Buy (opens in new tab) Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking