Susan Cain On Honoring Introverts

My mother used to laugh when I'd invite a friend over just to read next to him or her. Thus, I grinned to hear Susan Cain give the exact same example in her Ted Talk on introversion. Deeply introverted, I have nevertheless been rather wary of all the press lavished on this quality lately. Introverts tend to be perfectly happy doing our own thing, so I didn't see why we'd need authors to champion us. I've never felt like a victim. Cain, however, makes a compelling case that our culture favors the charisma of stimulus junkies and sends the quieter types to second class -- a practice that benefits no one.

"Stimulus junkie" is not Cain's term or mine. An extrovert I once knew described himself that way, and I'm now inclined to challenge his diction. Maybe the word "stimulus" has been co-opted by the extrovert majority. Do you think of bright lights, loud clubs, and city streets? I do, and I suspect that's what the self-proclaimed stimulus junkie meant. Perhaps unwittingly accepting this definition is one of the "self-negating choices" that Cain says introverts make daily in order to function within our culture. Dancing in a glittering city can be fun, but most of the time I prefer noting bird migrations, studying the serration of a leaf, pondering art, or conversing over wine. These are stimuli too -- magnificent stimuli. Everyone is a stimulus junkie!

I have many more thoughts, but I'll save those for a forthcoming post on introversion and intellectual property. Besides, a well-adjusted introvert will value the opinions of others, and I want to hear yours. What is your experience of the introversion-extroversion spectrum? If you watched Cain's talk, what stands out to you?