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In the fourth chapter Susan Cain continues on discussing introversion in the modern world. Here she begins to explain the genetic make up of introverts as laid out in Jerry Kagan’s research saying that they are naturally more sensitive to their environments or have a highly reactive nervous system. Scientists say that high reactives tend to have risk factors such as being especially vulnerable to marital discord, a parent’s death, and/or abuse leading to depression, anxiety, and shyness. But they say that high reactives who enjoy good parenting can have fewer emotional problems and more social skills than their lower reactive peers.
In the fifth chapter she speaks to Dr. Carl Schwartz who says that although we can stretch our personality but only up to a point. A sizable part of our personalities are ordained by our genes. She calls it the “rubber band theory” of personality where we are like rubber bands at rest and can stretch ourselves, but only so much. Susan Cain continues and says that although we can stretch ourselves it can often be better to situate ourselves right in our comfort zone.
She says ultimately the distinction between introversion and extroversion is the preference for certain levels of stimulation then you can put yourself in the right environments that suit your personality and/or make changes in your environment to suit your needs at the time.
I can relate this to this stimulation piece. I have leaned into this in where I live over the years. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, but then went to a tiny little town in Connecticut for high school. When I applied to colleges I was drawn to cities and came here to Washington DC. After I graduated I moved to another small town, Charlottesville, VA, and after that realized I needed to go to the biggest city possible because I felt like I didn’t have enough stimulation there and off I went to New York City. I seem to ying yang between understimulation and overstimulation, but for the introvert in me DC seems to be the right balance. What is the right stimulation level for you?
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Monica Thakrar has over 14 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.