The (not so) Hidden Gem

While scrolling through the business category of TED talks, one called The Power of Introverts really caught my eye for a few reasons. The first thought that popped into my head was, how often do we see the words power and introvert together? I immediately could relate to the TED talk, as I grew up as a total extrovert in a completely introverted family. There were some times growing up when I convinced myself that I was adopted, but there were also some amazing learning experiences that I would have never had, was it not for my introverted family. The TED talk about the power of introverts intrigued me, as I had never heard anything like it. I thought that I really owed it to my family to choose this one and share my findings. Also, Susan Cain, the speaker, uses one of our words of the day in her talk (milieu), making her even more awesome!

Susan Cain’s very first point hit home for me. She explained how she would always bring books to read to summer camp, but she was constantly encouraged to be more energetic and rowdy by those around her. I couldn’t help but to laugh at this part as my family members would do the exact same thing, and still do on every family vacation. Again, I am not that type of person who finds alone time beneficial, but I have learned the value of alone time from my family who constantly encourages it.

Susan Cain brings up the point that society needs a better cultural balance between introverts and extroverts. I agree with her but have trouble finding out the best ways to go about doing so. As an extrovert who was raised by introverts, I think I have a very unique perspective on the issue and can confidently say that I can see, understand, and interact with a great balance of introverts and extroverts. Therefore, I do believe that it is necessary and beneficial to society to create a better balance of the two. Cain claims that her call for action would be three things. The first call for action is that society needs to stop constantly creating group-work settings. Society needs to allow individuals to have alone time to develop their thoughts. Second, society needs to go into the wilderness more often in hopes of finding out new things about themselves. Third, as a society we need to look deeply into ourselves and find out what makes us who we are. Then, we need to share it with the world.images-1

My question to the blog readers is… is this enough? Do you think these three calls for action can make a difference in society that is geared toward extroverts?


9 responses to “The (not so) Hidden Gem

  1. I do not think that these three calls will make a difference in society. I think being an introvert or extrovert is a trait that we are born with and cannot change. I do think that these three calls will open the eyes of some extroverts, but I do not think it will have a large change on society. I consider myself an extrovert but also like to have time to myself. I think that most extroverts do as well, so I believe that it is hard to categorize a person as either an introvert or extrovert and these calls may show people that they are introverted at times and at other times extroverted.


  2. I think companies are becoming increasingly extroverted, and I think a really interesting manifestation of this is in physical workplace layout. Rather than being in cubicles, many companies are now adopting an “open office” structure in which physical boundaries are either minimized or abolished and space is shared. It is meant to facilitate open communication, collaboration, and morale. While I think openness and collaboration is incredibly valuable, I don’t really think organizing office spaces in this way is. I have never worked in an environment quite like this, but it seems like this sort of structure would probably decrease concentration and productive motivation for the extroverts and would probably intimidate and stifle the introverts. I think making meetings and discussions more open and casual is really effective in encouraging the free flow of ideas, and certainly office spaces should not be so privatized that it is a significant challenge to openly communicate with others throughout the workday, but I think we should still respect and plan for personal space. That being said, I consider myself to be more on the introverted side, which would theoretically favor more privacy and independence. What is your opinion on this topic?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually worked in an “open office” environment interning over the summer. While I enjoyed the flow of communication it promoted amongst co-workers and between different teams, I often found myself overwhelmed by the business constantly buzzing around my desk space. The company provided private rooms for quiet individual and small group work as well as separate conference rooms for meetings. Because it was an administrative department, I think the layout worked well for this particular office staff. However, I don’t think it would work well for every company. The workplace should be structured to best fit the needs of the business and its employees.


  3. Some people find value in being introverted and others find value in being extroverted. In some cases, the introvert can become very powerful within society because they are capable of using their alone time so effectively. Beyond balancing it in society, it seems we can benefit from balancing it individually.


  4. I agree, I think the workplace should have a healthy balance of the two. It also couldn’t hurt to better educate employees about tendencies of introverts vs. extroverts so everyone is on the same page.


  5. I have always struggled to place myself in one of these two distinct categories. I visited Cain’s website and took a short quiz to see how it would position me on the introvert-extrovert scale. Sure enough, I got a result of I/E… both. It’s curious to see the way others view you versus how you view yourself.

    Here’s the link if anyone else is interested in taking the quiz or reading more on “The Power of Introverts”:


  6. Based on your summary, I would say only the first one seems directly actionable in terms of how desks or workplaces are organized.

    I do proudly point out that most of what you do in my class is solo work instead of group projects was on purpose as I looked at most SoM classes. I thought I found a niche that needed to be filled.


  7. In terms of schooling, though, I think group work and relevant connections are getting mingled in her talk. Often group discussion about math is to help kids see what it really is and not just as an exercises in endless worksheets of problems. Sure, doing some problems hones skills, but the point is to do calculation on the real world.

    Now, perhaps that relevant connections part is too often done in groups, it could be done as solo work, but I would not want introverted-friendly schools to mean more rote work on subjects that alienate kids.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s