The last place you might expect to find a person who identifies strongly as an introvert is on a stage in front of more than 5,000 people. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, often finds herself in this position as she shares her message about life as an introvert. Listening to her speak to a large group, 80% of whom raised their hands when asked if they think they are introverts, was fascinating. Cain blends personal stories with research and strategies for introverts and extroverts alike.
One of the things that is of particular interest is her connection between the need for solitude and creativity. Schools and workplaces have worked to provide spaces for collaboration and teamwork; they also need to provide space for us to work quietly, to think and to let our minds wander. We keep hearing that the world of the future will require us to be able to get along well with others, work on a team and manage well in groups. It is also believed that we need to innovate and look for solutions to problems other than those that are obvious. How does this happen? Where will those ideas come from? How will we add meaning to a group or a creative process? How many of your good ideas have come to you while in the shower or driving? Perhaps it is the quiet that allows these ideas to percolate to the surface.