I’m reading a book titled Quiet by Susan Cain. It wasn’t on my list (long list) to read, but randomly popped up as a result of a Facebook post several weeks ago. There was something in the introduction that struck a chord. The author talked about how some of us pass through life fooling ourselves into thinking we are extroverts, when we are really introverts simply because we haven’t had a life experience catapult us into that existence. For me, what truly gave me a glimpse into who I truly am came when we moved to Texas. Sure, I’ve moved before… started over… had to make new friends. But this time, it was just different for some reason. I don’t know the reason, but I do know that I am embracing all of the contradictions within myself. I would love for you to pick up a copy of Quiet and read along with me. Introverts, it will give you a sense of confidence in who you are. Extroverts, it will help you understand those in your life who are a ball of contradiction. I can’t leave it just with that charge though. I have to share the passages which were most poignant to me as I read this week. I’m not far in… so please come along for the discussion. I’d love some company (as long as I don’t have to leave the house :))

“They said she was timid and shy but had the courage of a lion. They were full of phrases like radical humility and quiet fortitude. What does it mean to be quiet and have fortitude? How could you be shy and courageous? [Rosa] Parks herself seemed aware of this paradox, calling her autobiography Quiet Strength – a title that challenges us to question our assumptions. Why shouldn’t quiet be strong? And what else can quiet do that we don’t give it credit for?”

“Take the partnership of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.: a formidable orator refusing to give up his seat on a segregated bus wouldn’t have had the same effect as a modest woman who’d clearly prefer to keep silent but for the exigencies of the situation. And Parks didn’t have the stuff to thrill a crowd if she’d tried to stand up and announce that she had a dream. But with King’s help, she didn’t have to. Yet today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We are told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts – which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts – in other words, one out of every two or three people you know. If these statistics surprise you, that’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America. Some fool even themselves, until some life event jolts them into taking stock of their true natures.”

“Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness – is now a second class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.”

“Without introverts, the world would be devoid of: the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, Yeats’s ‘The Second Coming,’ Chopin’s nocturnes, Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Peter Pan, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm, The Cat in the Hat, Charlie brown, Shindler’s List, E.T., and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Google, Harry Potter.”

“I have seen firsthand how difficult it is for introverts to take stock of their own talents, and how powerful it is when finally they do.”

“Introverts feel just right with less stimulation, as when they sip wine with a close friend, solve a crossword puzzle, or read a book. Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes, and cranking up the stereo.”

“Introverts may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while whish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.”

“Many introverts are also highly sensitive, which sounds poetic, but is actually a technical term in psychology. If you are a sensitive sort, then you’re more apt than the average person to feel pleasantly overwhelmed by Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ or a well turned phrase or an act of extraordinary kindness. You may be quicker than others to feel sickened by violence and ugliness, and you likely have a very strong conscience.”

Just a glimpse into the introduction of this book. Book Club anyone?