The right lighting . . .

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.” ~ Susan Cain

Favourite thing about being on holiday? Easy. Family, yes . . .food, yes . . . water nearby, yes . . . but right up there along with all of these wonderful things for me would have to be diving into my pile of ‘to reads’. These are the books I have stockpiled during the year, having wanted to savour them in a leisurely way once my mind is in a good space; not during the working year when it is easy to lose momentum, put the book down and then not get back to it. This time around, it seemed that the books I ended up reading were somehow meant for me, their messages relevant to my circumstances and thought-provoking for sure. Was it that I was more receptive to their themes than normal because of my experiences, or was I searching for anything which would speak into those experiences and therefore they did? I think the answer is probably a bit of both. Either way, I am grateful!

I was slow to plod through the books I did read, and didn’t get through the pile that I so optimistically stacked, but that’s ok . . . One thing I do know is they will wait patiently until I give them the attention they so deserve. This quote is pretty much my catchphrase for life:

“So many books, so little time!”

One such book I would enthusiastically recommend is ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. The author began working on the book in 2005, and it was published in 2012. She really did her research and the content of the book is a comprehensive coverage of all things related to introversion. Cain presents ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. I love that sentence!

And yes, I am an introvert – shocker! But I would like to think that I am not anti-extrovert so much as anti-the-extrovert-focussed-society-that-we-now-live-in. Cain goes to great lengths to clarify that she is married to an extrovert and identifies how important extroverts are in the world: they’re just not more important than introverts. Many of us as introverts go through our whole lives feeling like a second class citizen; labelled the ‘quiet, sensitive one’, maybe thought of as ‘socially anxious’, those who are deemed to lack assertiveness and ambition. Well, let’s hold up right there . . .

Along the way, myths are busted, norms are challenged and evidence is provided to vilify the preconceptions we still actively follow within institutions such as education and corporate business. As a New Zealander, I was left wondering what can we do to make the school environment a more introvert-friendly zone? The whole premise of ‘Enquiry Learning’ is surely only for those who feel confident and secure enough to put up their hand and ask said question. What about the fear of public humiliation, which, it turns out is ‘a potent force’, which many are affected by, and that’s not just introverts!

Cain also tells us why group brainstorming isn’t as effective as we are led to believe, with the exception of online brainstorming

(isn’t that interesting?). She delves into the idea of more flexible work environments, not only in flexitime but also flexispace.

Being crammed into an open office is not necessarily conducive to creativity, in fact for many it KILLS it. Those who want to collaborate can do so, but this should not be at the expense of those who need their own space to come up with ideas, then put those ideas forward to others once their own private thinking power has been stimulated.

I’ll leave the rest for you to discover yourself. Just read this book, because it’s relevant to anyone who is or who knows an introvert,

full stop.

© 2015 Rose Stanley.  All rights reserved.