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In chapter 6 Susan Cain continues to talk about introverts by saying that highly sensitive people typically process information about their environment in an unusually deep way. This may explain why they get bored of small talk so easily.
She also says that highly sensitive people are more empathic and have unusually strong consciences. Therefore in social settings they may focus on subjects like personal problems which others consider “too heavy.” She says the world needs us (introverts) as a balance to the “cool” socially adept extroverts who have more small talk and engage more with others. Without one or the other, however, things would not be balanced or work quite as well.
In chapter 7 the author discusses the tendency of extroverts to be more reward sensitive (chasing of rewards such as money, sex, social status and influence), while introverts are more successful at regulating their emotions of desire and excitement. This leads to a suggestion that in group settings extroverts listen to introverts when it comes to problems ahead. Therefore Cain says we need to balance between action and reflection. She gives the example of Warren Buffett who is thoughtful, reflective, and sits back and thinks before he takes action.
Overall Susan Cain is making an argument that the ways of introverts of needed in overall society and truly provide a balance to the extroverted “normal” that seems to prevail in so many different industries such as business, politics, etc.
As an introvert I am seeing more and more how my way of being is needed in the world. Since I have been reflective for so many years I can now offer the insights I have gleaned as a result to my extroverted family members and friends who sometimes seem to follow the rewards and/or look for the next shiny object instead of looking inside and seeing what is of true value to them in the end. Are you an extrovert or introvert? Do you see the value of balancing the two in teams, in families, and in friendships?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.