Sunday, April 27, 2014

Proud to be an Introvert

Susan Cain, a proclaimed introvert, discussed the importance of introversion to creativity in her speech The Power of Introverts on She began by telling a story of when she was younger and went to camp for the summer with a suitcase packed with books only to realize that she was expected to forget about the books and be adventurous and social. The rest of her speech focused on her own journey to overcome introversion. Eventually, she realized that being an introvert was something she should capitalize on instead of hide. This is because research actually shows that if an introvert is allowed the freedom to be alone, he/she can produce wonderful ideas that could really contribute to breakthroughs in today's world. Unfortunately, she believes that modern society has tried to suppress introverts both in school and in the workplace by forcing them to collaborate with others. Although Susan is not saying there is something wrong with teamwork and developing social skills, she is saying that there is something important that is missing that will fully develop introverts into great people.

Perhaps the greatest part about Susan's speech is the fact that the entire time I was listening to her, I found myself identifying with her and silently saying yes to everything she said. Like Susan, I am very much an introvert. I grew up as an only child in the country. My biggest hobby when I was little was, like Susan, reading. There were very few times I could be found without a book in my hand. As I grew older, I began to put aside the books and focus on activities that would hopefully make me more of an extrovert: basketball, volleyball, dance, Student Senate, etc. Even though I remained one of the quietest people in school, I struggled to be seen as an outgoing individual so that I would not be forgotten. Like Susan, one of my biggest frustrations in school was being forced into group projects. There's nothing I dreaded more because I would much rather work alone. I discovered that when I was in a group, I was very much of a follower and agreed with whatever the more dominant person in the group said. My ideas very rarely were heard. Now, I still struggle with making my ideas known. My junior year of undergraduate school, I went to Nicaragua for the whole month of May for a leadership class. I believe that I would be a great leader if given the chance. I know my capabilities, but unfortunately, not everybody else does. Even though I had hoped this trip would be an opportunity for me to develop myself and become a true leader, I found that the exact opposite happened because there was such a huge focus on being a team while we were there.

Susan's speech has made me realize that it is important to be myself instead of the person I believe society wants me to be. I do have a lot to offer this world, and I can be a very creative person when I set my mind to it. Pursuing a future career in the entertainment business will require me to step out of my comfort zone. However, I also need to keep in mind that I will do my best work when I am true to myself. This does not mean I will spend my entire life in complete solitude. Instead, it simply means that I need to, as Susan put it in her speech, "unplug for awhile". Listening to Susan's speech made me realize and come to terms with who I am and how I best function. Now, I can truly say, I am proud to be an introvert.