Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Success Books - "The Introvert Advantage" Part 1

Are you a “deep” person? Do you like to spend long hours pondering a problem? Does small talk irritate you? Do large gatherings deplete you? Are you not as “fast on your feet” verbally as others? Take heart! You’re in good company: Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Steve Martin, and Harrison Ford are all introverts, and you probably are too.

For those of us who feel “at sea” in world that values extroverts highly, Marti Olsen Laney has written a guide for surviving and even prospering in a world that is, to us introverts, often disorienting and overly stimulating.

In The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, Ms. Laney patiently explains that, indeed, introverts are different: there is more blood flow to the brain. Introverts live longer, protect themselves better, and are particularly adept at planning and reflecting on new ways of doing things.

While extroverts like variety, activity, and experience, and often even conflict, introverts thrive on complexity, depth, and “richness”.

A very important point for introverts to know is that we recharge our batteries by quiet reflection and retreat to our inner world, and deplete ourselves when we have to focus outward, on external people, events and ideas.

This is a key piece of information. Laney gives us a host of strategies which can enable an introvert to navigate the world. A few nuggets:

Regarding events and gatherings:
You don’t need to go to every one of them and you don’t have to stay long. If you have multiple events, you can schedule a few hours break between them.

Regarding work:
If you need time to ponder a problem more thoroughly than most, you can ask your boss to give you some materials early, so you have extra time to “get into" your work.

Regarding your (extroverted) associates:
You can use body language and friendly greetings and good-bye’s to “let them know you’re there” instead of clamming up so they think you are avoiding them.

The point is: we introverts have to realize we are hugely valuable as deep and creative thinkers, but we must also face up to the fact that we are outnumbered 2 to 1 by extroverts: we have to learn to communicate effectively, especially because we have so much to offer.

Go to Part 2

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