A Place for Quiet


Recently, I decided to Google the word introvert. I was curious what type of response there would be and most often the definition was related to “a shy person.” However, this definition, by Dictionary.com was the most thorough, I thought.

“Introvert: A term introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed inward. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other people.”

Why this sudden interest in those who are introverts?

A book I’m reading called. Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.

As a child I was most definitely an introvert in an extrovert’s world. I was quiet. I stayed in the background. I tried to blend in and never be noticed. As I grew up I was heavily influenced by the world around me, as we all are, and began to step out more and more. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am now an extrovert; however, I am less uncomfortable when in the spotlight.

As a teacher of writers, I encourage a lot of talking in the workshop. To me, it cycles throughout the process and within a day I would like students engaging in talk before, during and after their writing time. But this book has me thinking. It has me wondering if I have forced talking on students who would rather process on their own. I consider myself a pretty reflective person and someone who determines needs based on each student. However, I’m not sure I’ve done all the right things when it comes to allowing students to process internally. I still believe, firmly, that talking through ideas helps us to bring them to the surface, but if not given the time to quietly allow these ideas to percolate how will they bubble to that surface?

My hope is to take the ideas and research from this book and take special care in determining who benefits most from talk and who benefits most from quiet.

Below is a TED Talk by Susan Cain where she explains the need for introverts and why we are losing out on opportunities to learn from these creative and quiet leaders.