Susan Cain’s “The power of introverts”

In Susan Cain’s TED Talk, “The power of introverts,” she speaks about the cultural focus on productivity and the effect it has on the individual. When she went to school students sat in rows and “worked nearly autonomously.” In today’s world, at work and in school, high value is placed on working well with others. As a result, introverts have been cast as less desirable.

Cain, herself, is an introvert but identifies with the “animal warmth” of human comfort while exploring the mind, or working independently. In  jobs, an emphasis on free-form and “think tank”  style environments have emerged. In education as well, where independent work once dominated, class activities are being broken up and distributed to teams in hopes of increasing productivity. Cain thinks this one size fits all style of education is just the polar-opposite of the previous education system that fostered solitude and quiet intellectualism.

Even though teamwork is not going away any time soon, a negative trend is emerging. Ideas can be stifled in groups by whoever speaks the most, and not necessarily the person with the best ideas. This causes a problem, but also offers some solutions. Being able to work independently while not fearing rejection is extremely important for group happiness and productivity. Practicing public speaking is also key, she says, as speaking at TED is not her natural habitat. To prepare for TED, she said she spent a year, “speaking dangerously” which increased her confidence and helped her gain new abilities. The most important thing

In the end she has three important calls to action:

1. stop the constant group work

2. have your own revelations — unplug and get inside your own head

3. Be yourself and try to show people that to the highest extent that it is possible


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