Before you are a university student, in other words, when you were waiting to enter SMU, you would hear the words from the adults, “According to how you spend your four years in university, your life will be really different even though you enter the same university and take the same classes from others.” To accept their advice well, the first attitude you should have is an extroverted personality. Most activities in the university are group work. For example, to be a member of any clubs and to go well, you should show your extroverted personality. You should shout the FM* loudly and never sneak away from drinks. Of course, this situation also appears when you are studying. In any classes there must be a group presentation, though so many students are complaining about it. And it’s not only in the university, but in the workplaces.
Because our society is designed for extroverts and their needs, so many introverts can’t live their real figure. They should make their public persona to get along well. American author Susan Cain said, “I made these self-negating choices so reflexively, that I wasn’t even aware that I was making them. Now this is what many introverts do, and it’s our loss for sure, but it is also our colleagues’ loss and our communities’ loss. And at the risk of sounding grandiose, it is the world’s loss. Because when it comes to creativity and to leadership, we need introverts doing what they do best.”
According to her saying, one third to half of the world population is introverted. However, so many people are subject to a bias. This bias is originated in confusion between shyness and introversion. Susan Cain explained shyness is about fear of social judgment. On the other hand,
introversion is about how a person responds to stimulation, including social stimulation. Her explanation shows that introversion is never a bad thing, so introverts don’t have to conceal their real figures. It onlywhen introverts require small amounts of stimulation and extroverts requires large amounts of it. Therefore, “introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.”
In the end of the lecture, she suggests three bits of advice to us.
Number one: Stop the madness for constant group work.
Number two: Go to the wilderness. Be like Buddha, have your own
Number three: Take a good look at what’s inside your own suitcase
and why you put it there.
Among these three suggestions, I want to recommend the second most. Susan Cain gave some example figures to show great introverts: Darwin, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Wozniak and so on. Especially Steve Wozniak, who invented the first Apple computer, said that he didn’t leave the house because of his introverted personality and it made him to be the best expert like this. It means that for some people solitude is really important. For them, solitude is the air that they breathe and in that point, wilderness means their own rooms that make possible their solitude. This wilderness is not only for introverts, but also extroverts. It’s because in this room which is apart from outside, people need to think about their inside through solitude.
Of course she doesn’t say that extroverts are not good, just what she wants to say is that we need balance. Many people say the twenty-firs century is the time when individuality is recognized. However, can you be sure? We need to think about it again. Although workplaces allow workers to wear more simple dresses, they don’t allow the opposite personality to extroversion, which is more important. What she said in the lecture is that society needs introverts as well as extroverts and introverts don’t have to conceal their real personality. This is balance.
Don’t forget this. Quiet also moves the world.
Vocabulary & Expression
1. Low-key : [ADJ] A small scale rather than involving a lot of activity or being made to seem impressive or important.
EX) So far, the debate has been much too low-key.
2. Revelation : [NOUN] A revelation is a surprising or interesting fact that is made known to people.
EX) I know a sensational revelation about her private life.
* FM is the Korean typical self-introducing method, shouting out the university, major, name and so on.