As usual, my sleeplessness led me to a fascinating interview at 3am this morning on ABC Radio National.
I’m not sure which comes first, the program or the sleeplessness because I swear these interesting radio programs keep me awake! However, it was all for a good cause because I found out so much about myself.
People who know me think of me as an extrovert but those who know me really well (this IS a worry!) know that I have an introverted side also. The trouble is I have been brought up in a house of mostly extroverts and therefore conditioned to be one! When I have completed psychology tests to find out what type of personality one has, I always come out right in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum.
This has happened to me about five times over the years therefore it is no surprise to me anymore. I have come to see how much I love being quiet after a busy time with people. And Wednesdays is MY time to be quiet! Geoff does a small payroll job on Wednesday mornings and although he is not a bother, it is just nice to hear the wind whistle through my ears … as the saying goes.
And so it was this morning. It gave me time to think and smell the roses after so much activity with people lately (which I loved doing I might add) and this is where the radio interview grabbed my attention.
A woman called Susan Cain, an American woman, was speaking in the UK about her new book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Oh, how this book spoke to me as I lay in bed in those early morning hours! I found out that there was a name for introvert/extrovert people like me: AMBIVERTS.
It is so good to know this. Then, Susan spoke of how our world today has driven all of us – regardless of type – to be extroverted, as if there was something wrong with being quieter. Susan has begun a revolution: she calls it “The Quiet Revolution.”
However, we need balance and she thought that the ambiverts were the luckiest of all because they could do both. I loved this and lapped it all up. Fancy ME (moi) being so blessed to be so balanced?! (Yep … tipping first one way and then the other). She also spoke of her husband being extroverted and this was a good match for her as an introvert.
Another example I thought was interesting, was the story of the foundation of APPLE. A man called Steve Wozniak was the one who sat alone in his cubicle where he worked at the time, inventing Apple. It was only when he met the extrovert Steve Jobs that his design was brought to the market in 1977. It was a wonderful collaboration of introvert and extrovert.
Now, I did not know that Steve Jobs was not the lone founder of Apple, but because Jobs was the face of Apple – which is how the other Steve wanted it – Steve Wozniak is largely forgotten. Okay, Steve Jobs was ousted from the company in 1985 but he came back as CEO in 1998 when the company he was at, was bought by Apple. How bizarre is that? And, as they say… the rest is history. How could the world imagine living without all their iProducts for goodness sake?
It is worth repeating what I read on Susan’s website about her book: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”:
“Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so …
Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a “pretend extrovert.”
Susan says children particularly should be taught to work ALONE as well as together. This is where they will learn DEEP THOUGHT. I love this last piece. It reminds me of my own need as a child to run away and read (just as Susan Cain did) which my family could never understand. Now I know why!
I must get hold of this book! If you wish to watch Susan speaking at the “TED (Ideas worth spreading)” conference, you will find her video on her website http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/about-the-book/
The strange coincidence was I had read an article about introversion on a blog this morning (The Obscured Dreamer) and this is what I read:
“Did you know that being an introvert simply means that you draw your inspiration and strength from within yourself and not others? That is why an introvert can attend dinner parties, cocktail parties and the like with other extroverts.
The only difference is, while the extrovert is the social butterfly flitting through the room having numerous conversations the introvert has 2 or 3 conversations. At the end of the night the extrovert is ready to keep going and the introvert is ready for a well-deserved sleep.”
Do you know that I can do both if I need to? But, it just depends on what has happened before I set off for the party! If there has been few interactions with people, I can be the life of the party. If not, I can savour deep conversations with one or two. (The Obscured Dreamer is at this link: http://obscureddreamer.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/9-10-a-big-fat-hen/)
Well, all of this proves we are never too old to discover things about ourselves doesn’t it? Learning that there is a name for my “condition” makes me feel really happy! Being an AMBIVERT simply means that I get to enjoy life on both levels.
It explains why I just love being “at home” and researching and writing my blog but then there comes a point where I just have to DO something, go out and have coffee with my girlfriends or make dinner for the family or spent time with my grandchildren. What do you think YOU might be? It is a great idea to find out so that you can understand what makes you “tick.”
And let us all learn to be QUIET so that we can think deeply sometimes.
Now for a Nana nap due to all that lack of sleep …