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I thought I was damaged. Then I learned I’m introverted.

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Not long ago, I discovered Michael Schiller’s terrific Social Introverts Facebook Fan Page. We started corresponding, and I’d love to share the note he sent me about his passion for helping introverts appreciate their own quiet perfection. ~ Susan

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Click image to "Like" Michael Schiller's "Social Introverts" FB Fan Page

Hello, Susan. My name is Michael Schiller, and I want you to know that you are the reason the Social Introverts Facebook Fan Page exists.

I spent my entire life thinking that I was psychologically damaged, that my aversion to social gatherings and crowds was a disorder or a phobia. I couldn’t even enjoy my solitude, because I continually assailed myself with resentments and deprecations for wanting it so often; for being unable to enjoy the parties and venues that I thought must be inherently enjoyable, despite my failure to tap into that joy.

It wasn’t until the middle of last year that I discovered that I am completely normal, that my disposition was born in me, and that it was no mistake. That revelation began when I read an article about you and your book: Giving Introverts Permission To Be Themselves. Today, I’m a new person, whole and healed, happy about who I am- happy for the first time in my life.

I smile more than I ever have, and I seldom wait for an excuse. I didn’t fall in love; I didn’t strike it rich. All I needed in order to find such happiness and peace with myself was to learn that I am permitted to feel those things. All I had to do was understand the truth, and put an end to my self-imposed punishment.

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Click image to "Like" Michael Schiller's "Social Introverts" FB Fan Page

Now I’ve made it my mission to try to help bring that same relief to others like me, who may also be spending their lives hating themselves by mistake. It breaks my heart to think of people living the way I did for so long, just because word of their quiet perfection hasn’t yet reached them. All they may need in order to find their own peace and healing is to understand that being an introvert is not supposed to hurt, and that it is possible to be both quiet and powerful.

So until the truth about introversion is common knowledge, and everyone who has felt inferior by comparison to their extroverted peers learns to be proud and contented instead, I’m going to keep doing what I can to spread the word and help that change along.


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57 Comments »

57 Comments

  1. Lynne on 21.03.2013 at 16:53 (Reply)

    I also have found the freedom to be myself. I thought there was something very wrong with me for not being able enjoy what others did and have experienced a lifetime of self-flagellation because of it. The relief of realizing I’m “normal” is indescribable. Now I can pass on this awareness to my 10 & 12 year old introverts who already wear the badge with honor. Thank you.

    1. Michael Schiller on 23.03.2013 at 17:21 (Reply)

      That’s exactly what I was going through. I’m so glad you found the same relief.

  2. Rich Day on 21.03.2013 at 19:27 (Reply)

    I am overwhelmed by your post, Michael. So glad I read it. Wow! I also am glad to see the pain of the past has become your motivation to reach out and help others. Bless you! I’ve followed this blog for a year now, and have not seen anyone say it better than you just did. You make me smile!

    1. Michael Schiller on 23.03.2013 at 17:18 (Reply)

      Thank you so much, Rich. Your response to my post is extremely flattering and encouraging. I’m so glad it made you smile.

  3. jon on 21.03.2013 at 20:50 (Reply)

    Hey, right on!

    1. Michael Schiller on 23.03.2013 at 17:16 (Reply)

      Thank you so much, Jon. Your response to my post is extremely flattering and encouraging. I’m so glad it made you smile.

  4. I thought I was damaged. Then I learned I’m introverted. - By Susan Cain | Rites of the Image on 22.03.2013 at 07:38

    [...] I thought I was damaged. Then I learned I’m introverted. - By Susan Cain. Share this:ShareFacebookStumbleUponTwitterEmailPrintGoogle +1Like this:Like Loading… [...]

  5. Sue on 22.03.2013 at 07:43 (Reply)

    I definitely relate to the experience of thinking I was damaged and coming to accept and love who I am. I’ve recently experienced the feeling of being along in an (even small) crowd, and used to think that there was something wrong about me for feeling that way - like I was too abnormal to fit in. But I have come to be thankful for those moments, because now I use that time to center myself, get clear on seeing myself in a positive light, even if others around me don’t. This way I get to be introverted and strong even when in a social situation. :)

    1. Sue on 22.03.2013 at 07:44 (Reply)

      that’s “alone” in a crowd… :)

  6. WishHunt on 22.03.2013 at 07:54 (Reply)

    Introverts need to embrace their many beautiful qualities. It’s time to feel good about who you are! Love the article, thank you!

  7. Karen on 22.03.2013 at 09:30 (Reply)

    Michael,
    I’m right with you on giving yourself permission to be exactly who you are. I’m with you as well on being profoundly changed (and, frankly, relieved) by Susan’s courageous work.
    I would like to ask you (and others)the following: How exactly did you get to that place where you feel like a new person? A lifetime of self-inflicted damage like you describe so honestly in your first paragraph is pretty sticky stuff. We’re introverts; you can be sure we won’t be talking about the how-to’s at parties.

    1. Michael Schiller on 23.03.2013 at 17:40 (Reply)

      Karen, it was remarkably easy for me to get to that place. After a lifetime of trying to trace my psychosis to its roots, finding out that my disposition was physiological instead, and completely natural, was like unlocking a door and stepping out into the rain (I like rain better than sunshine). After that, it was a matter of educating myself further, embracing the traits I once lamented, and being open about what I had learned about myself. I quickly grew more and more content, because I was able to fully enjoy all the things that introverts tend to enjoy when they feel permitted. I also started spreading the word. I started a meetup group locally, which now has over 330 members, and was interviewed for a newspaper article for it. (I’m not even sure Susan knows about that, even though the article was mostly about her book.) The Facebook page came next, and I continue to become more fulfilled.

      1. Karen on 28.03.2013 at 23:43 (Reply)

        Michael,
        Thanks for your reply. For me, Quiet was eye-opening, and validating, and enlightening, and encouraging; it was like getting a guidebook (with a fold-out map!) to my own history (to Susan: as I cannot fathom how to thank you for your tremendous work, I will just endeavour to embrace my introversion in your name). I commend you for getting out there and spreading the word. That takes tremendous courage. I really am curious about how you made those changes. Care to share?

  8. Rosemarie on 22.03.2013 at 10:22 (Reply)

    I couldn’t agree more! Finding out that I was an introvert and that a lot of my behaviors were actually normal changed my life! I love the book “Quiet” - although it was not the first I read on the subject so I have known for several years now and have been happier than ever. What’s more, I find that when you honor your introverted ways, it actually gives you MORE energy to be social and I have actually been more social - more “extroverted” - than ever before. I feel very well balanced in life and am elated by it. : )

    1. Lynne on 22.03.2013 at 21:15 (Reply)

      Rosemarie, on a superficial level I now feel a lot of acceptance for my introvert qualities but the damage done in childhood, adolescence & early adulthood has left its mark. At times I can be triggered by something that takes me back to the horrible self-hatred that I experienced for so long an it is all pervading. Developing my understanding of neuroplasticity is helping with this. Lynne

  9. Susanne on 22.03.2013 at 10:36 (Reply)

    Same with me. I always thought something was wrong with me before I read Susan’s book. Susan’s book was a revelation for me. I was so happy and reassured. “I’m OK, I’m completely OK.” Since then, something deep has changed in my life for the better. I have more confidence and dare more easily to show up. Recently, I’ve suggested the topic ‘introverted - extroverted’ to the parents’ board of my county, because I think it’s very important to be aware of this topic in schools to help a lot of kids.

  10. Introneer on 22.03.2013 at 12:12 (Reply)

    Wow! I had pretty much the same thoughts. I wrote a whole forum post expressing similar feelings but I lacked the courage to put it on the forum. Thanks!

  11. valerka on 22.03.2013 at 12:18 (Reply)

    I only started understanding my introversion and how it affects my choices a few years ago. I had spent my childhood in a home of extroverts and so was always seen as odd. I slowly began to embrace and appreciate my odd ways which of course we introverts know are not odd at all! The book Quiet has really clinched pieces of this journey for me. I’m unemployed and am giving a lot more thought about the next kind of work environment I would like to have. When I was offered my last job, I negotiated Fridays at home (I do a lot of data work) and initially this was agreed to for almost two years. Then one day my boss said I had to be back in the office on Fridays. I tried, really hard, to explain to him about introversion and how we need quiet spaces often but he wouldn’t relent because he is extrovert off the charts and probably saw me as “odd”. I think the best option for me is telecommuting.

    1. Red Dog on 22.03.2013 at 13:20 (Reply)

      Apparently that which you are describing about your work situation probably has nothing to do with you personally or your being introverted. The recent trend in big business is for the boss to flex the muscle of authority and demand that the underlings be physically present at the workplace - so as to tighten things up and keep a closer eye on them. The recent move of the same by Marissa Mayer at Google reflects this strategy, and bosses who become aware of the trend do it too, like copycats.

      Consider starting your own business. If you choose to be a sole proprietor you won’t need to answer to anyone except your customers.

      1. valerka on 22.03.2013 at 16:57 (Reply)

        Thank you Red Dog! I’ve often been encouraged to start my own business and am juuuust starting to * maybe * get there. Even though I would Skype my boss every Friday morning and say “Here is what I’m working on,” and then Skype him again at the end of the day and say “Here is how the day went and what I was able to accomplish,” it was dismissed and not heard. Grrr. It’s frustrating!

  12. Peter Horrill on 22.03.2013 at 12:34 (Reply)

    I had beleived it was not ok to be, and remain an introvert too, Susan. Mostly from social pressure to “conform and fit-in”, which led to non-self-acceptance.

    I am very much an individual now though, a different breed of man, so to speak.

    I beleive there’s much social confusion about “spiritual maturity”. ie: that’s why “social presurre used to be effective”.

    Most people I beleive, unknowingly set an external “frame of reference” for consciousness.

    What works for me, ie: “my truth” is to focus on my spirituality. This, more than any focus before, has lead me to prosperity. Praise God.

    I beleive I’m an introvert at heart, I beleive, which makes for some really interesting challenges to becoming a proficient network marketer/online marketer/salesman

    It seems like extroverts are more adapted to those challenges. I beleive NOT.

    This introvert/extrovert contrast has led to some confusion in how I perceive self image, contrasted to “others” image of me, and in terms of “filters of beleif”..

    A truth that was really helpful for me, was that I learned “people see others as THEY are, not necessarily as you are”..

    Meditating on my own innate divinity has cleared up much confusion in terms of having the resolve to live into my own values, and not others values.

  13. Paul on 22.03.2013 at 16:44 (Reply)

    I don’t like facebook because a former colleague reported something i had written to my (now) former employer. Even though it was meant to be satirical, light-hearted and in no way intended to be critical of anyone in particular. So, why then does facebook seem to have a monopoly on how we gather on line? It has a huge data bank on all of us. Orwell was right and the founder of facebook is an unapologetic post-industrial capitalist. So, how can I access Michael Schiller’s information sans facebook?

    1. Red Dog on 22.03.2013 at 20:56 (Reply)

      I don’t subscribe to Facebook for the Orwellian reason you mentioned. To answer your rhetorical question, Facebook has “a monopoly on how we gather on line” only because some choose to gather that way without considering the possible repercussions of having their private lives and comments publicly accessed. I never subscribe to such formats (because I am old and wary, to the point of being cynical) and therefore it has no data bank on me at all. I have no quarrel with being an unapologetic capitalist, as capitalism is neither the cause nor the problem. Orwell, whom you mentioned, began his young adulthood as a Socialist and learned the hard way through personal experience that Socialism is far worse than Capitalism. The problem lies elsewhere - in that people are too free and cavalier about flaunting personal information that can come back to bite them.

  14. I thought I was damaged. Then I learned I’m introverted. | Doohan It This Way on 22.03.2013 at 20:50

    [...] I thought I was damaged. Then I learned I’m introverted.. Rate this:Share this:MoreLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  15. knadeen on 22.03.2013 at 21:57 (Reply)

    The more of these posts I read, the more I see my thoughts. We all say the same thing. “I thought it was only me.” “I thought I had a disease.” Makes me wonder. Why are introverts so terrible at recognizing other introverts? The extrovert’s radar is so sharp, they can always find one another. I came to this realization while talking to my extroverted husband. He’s pretty much enabled my introvertedness for the past 20+ years we’ve been together. My feelings of being ‘different’ only manifested when I was at work, or away from family. So after reading “Quiet”, I asked hubby how was he able to deal with me and all the quirks that accompany my personality. Who did he know that was an introvert? He said, ‘my mother’. OMG…it made sense. I never even thought that I had anything in common with her, but without a doubt, my mother-in-law is a classic introvert.

  16. Paul on 22.03.2013 at 22:05 (Reply)

    Hi Red Dog,
    Socialism has never been tried. It was Communism that was the problem. You should go and read Why Marx Was Right by Terry Eagleton before you become too cavalier in your own attitudes.
    Capitalism is working just fine and dandy for you over in the Americas, is it not? How much in debt are you now, in trillions?

    1. Red Dog on 23.03.2013 at 10:21 (Reply)

      Paul, surely you must be joking. “Socialism has never been tried”??? USSR (and all its numerous satellite countries), Red China, North Korea, Cuba - the list is voluminous - were all founded upon Marxist/socialist ideology. The dirty little secret is that you can’t run a socialist country interminably without capital.

      I don’t need to read Marxist propaganda. The reference that was previously made about being “Orwellian” was to George Orwell who became disillusioned with Socialism through firsthand experience with it. You might start by reading his classic, Animal Farm. All socialist societies descend to that state over time.

      If you look at the countries in Europe that are most heavily in debt, you will find that they have had a history of Left-leaning administrations (Greece, Spain, Italy, etc.) BTW, you can blame most of our current and ongoing rapid expansion of deficit spending in America on our current president who is undeniably very Leftist in his ideology and his governance.

      This list is not about politics however, so I suggest we return to discussion of introversion.

  17. Querida on 23.03.2013 at 13:58 (Reply)

    I agree with most everything stated in these comments. I am still working on “fitting in” even though I just passed my sixtieth birthday. Growing up I was often critized for being “a bump on a log” but I had a world of activity going on in my head. It’s taken me years to stop that criticism in my head and now I have a deep spiritual life and more friends than I ever have had in my entire life. And, yes, I believe I am even a bit of an extrovert and enjoy lunching with a group of people - as long as I am sure I will be able to rest in quiet solitude at the end of the day. Thanks for all of your stories!

  18. Paul on 23.03.2013 at 16:23 (Reply)

    Red Dog,
    If you refuse to read something you are predisposed by your ideology, to disagree with then you remain ignorant, so you have my sympathies, trapped as you are within a capitalistic mindset.. Terry Eagleton is not a propagandist, he is a widely respected academic. There are many historical reasons why Communism failed - and again I state that that is not socialism- one of those being the totalitarian tendencies of their leaders. Introversion is bound up in politics. If you remain silent you aid and abet the agenda which seeks to repress you, hence people’s participation in chasing the almighty dollar when all the while in reality it is reducing their quality of life to being stuck in traffic and paying off a huge house they are hardly ever in. Then we retire and die. Great system huh? (In case you missed that one too, that’s satirical)

  19. Red Dog on 23.03.2013 at 23:06 (Reply)

    You sound like a very bitter, frustrated Marxist. This forum is not the place to tout Marxism. It’s time to take your soapbox and your political screed elsewhere. Your acerbic comments are not worthy of a reply.

    Introversion is not “bound up in politics”. YOU are bound up in politics. Other introverts are not.

  20. Marisol on 24.03.2013 at 11:48 (Reply)

    Hi,

    I still disbelieve in this. I still notice everywhere around me that if you do not create a social network, if you cannot feel at ease expressing yourself well with people and even more importantly, express ideas in groups or in general with people then you can experience a lot of setbacks. Not having good people skills and always wanting to hide from people really hinders your success. If you can argue against this rt hen by all means the floor is yours.

    1. knadeen on 24.03.2013 at 14:08 (Reply)

      Marisol,
      I’m an introvert and I suppose I’m well balanced. I am very at ease with expressing myself in groups, but nobody listens to me. I find that, however, speaking to people one on one forces them to really listen to what I’m saying. I’m told that I’m soft spoken. I think I sound loud to myself, so even when I try to sound really loud, it comes off soft spoken. During a meeting at work, we were asked to come up with ideas about ways to improve a certain process. I didn’t say anything during the meeting because the people who asked the question did not even bother to write down the suggestions. Why bother? Later that week, an email was distributed asking everyone to give their suggestions about 5 things to change about the same process. I replied with 3 suggestions. Almost instantly, the author of the email praised me for responding, and she loved my suggestions which were integrated in the new processes. So all the extroverts who were talking and dominating the meeting, only wanted to hear themselves think and torture everybody else in the process.
      So my point, Marisol, is that (all) introverts do not have bad people skills. I have excellent people skills. I suggested this book (Quiet) to my facebook friends and half of them didn’t know I was introverted. These are people I’ve known for 35 years (I’m 43 now). They all agree about one thing….they say they remember me being very quiet. So my response really isn’t to argue, I’m presenting another point of view. Additionally, most introverts don’t “hide” from people. Seriously, you have to read “Quiet” and then comment. Obviously, I can tell you haven’t read the book.

  21. Peter Horrill on 24.03.2013 at 17:14 (Reply)

    Embrace being an introvert! Explore your inner sacred self. Introversion opens inner (sacred) doorways. Those inner doorways are infinite in number. It can be an intricate journey, however it’s a very prosperous one!

  22. Paul on 25.03.2013 at 04:16 (Reply)

    Hi red Dog,

    Touchy huh? You might like to read some Chomsky while you’re at it. Though I guess from your vitriolic attack, you’re just trying to shut me up cos you feel threatened. Improve your Marx. By the way - I am an introvert and proud of it.

    1. Red Dog on 25.03.2013 at 12:19 (Reply)

      This forum is not the place to advance political harangues.

  23. Marisol on 25.03.2013 at 10:09 (Reply)

    Don’t know how I’ll ever get to feel proud of being an introvert but I do know I have to work on my social anxiety as to not avoid people as well as meeting new people. I guess it comes with maturity and a lot of time spent being miserable till one day you have some revelation? Lol don’t know but wish it could happen now.

    1. Lynne on 25.03.2013 at 18:11 (Reply)

      When I learned to ‘accept’ how I am I gained freedom. Doesn’t mean I have to like it but through this freedom I am able to relax a little more through non-resitance. For me this is a spiritual process. Because I am no longer putting up a struggle I often achieve what I thought was out of my reach…

  24. Introvertery | Sarah Morgan on 26.03.2013 at 07:01

    [...] Recently this post at The Power of Introverts hit me so hard I almost started crying: “I spent my entire life thinking that I was psychologically damaged, that my aversion to social gatherings and crowds was a disorder or a phobia. I couldn’t even enjoy my solitude, because I continually assailed myself with resentments and deprecations for wanting it so often; for being unable to enjoy the parties and venues that I thought must be inherently enjoyable, despite my failure to tap into that joy. It wasn’t until the middle of last year that I discovered that I am completely normal, that my disposition was born in me, and that it was no mistake.” [...]

  25. eric on 27.03.2013 at 07:46 (Reply)

    http://mashable.com/2013/03/26/introverts-comic/

  26. Pigbitin Mad on 27.03.2013 at 14:13 (Reply)

    Everything you say is pretty spot on. However, as long as the back slapping, Power of Positive Thinking Mentality rules, it really does me zero good to know that I am right. That’s because I know I will always be invisible and shouted down. The only reward I ever get is when I can say to these idiots “I told you so.” However, even in these sorts of cases, everyone conveniently develops some sort of Amnesia and they deny that you ever expressed an opinion. Only a complete overthrow of Corporate America will help. And that’s not gonna happen because the vast majority of our stupid countrymen want and and even believe they NEED those crappy bargain products that are all made in China and fall apart straight out of the box. Yes, this is what we get when the hiring process is the way it is.

  27. EL on 05.04.2013 at 10:05 (Reply)

    I appreciate the post about how you came to accept yourself and I will follow the facebook page. I believe I am more intro than extro myself and I also battled at times with it, but eventually things all fall into place. I saw the speech Susan gave and read her toastmasters article, great story I must admit.

  28. D Marie on 07.04.2013 at 13:27 (Reply)

    It’s been a long time since a book has impacted me as much as “Quiet” - it’s helped me understand myself, and validates many aspects of who I am. Just reading it has taken a huge load off my shoulders, somehow. My biggest struggle now is in the workplace. A temporary job recently ended and it was a horrid experience - loud and incessantly chatty co-workers, cubicles where there was no escape from all the racket, and the usual expectation that one come across as outgoing and “dynamic.” I dread going back to a work environment like that again but, of course, need to be employed. I wish there was more of an appreciation of introverts in the business world.

  29. Mercedes on 07.04.2013 at 13:43 (Reply)

    I am not quite convinced that there´s always a significant difference between introverted and extraverted persons. Ambiverts are common. However, both opposite types indeed seem to inhabit the use of slightly different brain regions (such as front lobes) when it comes to social behaviour.

    If not only a question of neurological factors, gratification of both personality types is merely a cultural factor. The West is considered to appreciate `outgoing´ types more than the Occident does (in general).
    Both types of persons do contribute to our global system and I think, if our world was entirely full of introverts or extraverts, would we make much of it?
    It would be utterly boring or even annoying if everyone would speak out loud, without really listening to others.

    When I was young, I was considered really outgoing. I was talkative and I enjoyed standing in the spotlights. Yes, I think I was good at entertaining people. Experiences with peers (teasing) made me more and more behaving like an introverted child. Now, I think I´m a typical ambivert. I like to talk to all kinds of persons. I am not shy. But if I get bored, or I have to deal with people that I don´t like, I seem `quiet´ to others. Inside, it doesn´t feel that quiet at all.

    Better deal with the fact that there are different types of people, than behaving like a `fake extraverted´ (Yes, they exist! Those who overact to seem extraverted!).

  30. Red Dog on 07.04.2013 at 20:33 (Reply)

    Somewhere in Susan’s book it is explained that there is no one who is 100% extrovert, nor 100% introvert.

    We all are a blend of both. No one is 100% one or the other. But that doesn’t mean we are all ambiverts. Except maybe for the few that are proportionally 50% introverted and 50% extroverted. Those are the ambiverts, as defined according to the testing.

    Remember, this whole notion of introversion vs. extroversion is a theory, based upon psychological survey measurements. Theories are judged by whether they are useful and explain things under most circumstances - or not.

  31. Ron S. on 10.04.2013 at 22:23 (Reply)

    Very cool. Im so happy for you that so much inspiration has been coming from the God given work that you put together. I am much appreciative as well. Keep on blooming and let the fragrances of what comes be a delight for all to enjoy.

  32. kiwimusume on 14.04.2013 at 02:01 (Reply)

    “I spent my entire life thinking that I was psychologically damaged”
    THIS! Last year I sought therapy thinking that the therapist was going to teach me how to be more “normal” and honestly couldn’t believe it when she in fact told me that I WAS normal and that some people just have a very narrow definition of what “normal” is. After this, and after discovering Quiet shortly afterward, I felt both vindicated and very pissed off that I had been sold this lie that I was at best defective and at worst a sociopath.

    I was absolutely thrilled to stop by Susan’s site and see your article - this is EXACTLY the kind of message that helps me most (though I’m sorry that you had to feel like that about yourself too. It’s…I actually cannot describe what it’s like without using language that would probably be inappropriate for this site.) And I absolutely love your Facebook page - so much stuff I want to read! I don’t usually subscribe to non-personal Facebook pages because they tend to flood my feed, but I have definitely made an exception for your page.

    1. Michael Schiller on 14.04.2013 at 08:52 (Reply)

      Thank you so much for that wonderful feedback. I’m so happy you finally learned the truth and recognize what a gift it is to know that you’re normal, even if some other people are oblivious to the fact.

  33. Marisol on 14.04.2013 at 04:45 (Reply)

    I’m glad there are a lot of people who have accepted themselves. I’m certainly not there yet.

  34. alice on 17.04.2013 at 15:22 (Reply)

    Michael, your post above captures the same shift in my view towards myself ever since reading “Quiet” a year ago and then discussing it with other friends who now (proudly) consider themselves introverts. I understand the definition of the word now and there should not be any negative connotation associated with it. But, there still is. I find it next to impossible to explain to extroverts that “introvert” is not a negative personality trait. I am sure that I am not alone in this, but bit by bit, the message will get out. And it needs to taught young - children need to learn to manage themselves and their social situations with pride and not with shame. If children can learn that young, my guess is that these children will be in a MUCH better position to choose careers. I love your Facebook page, Michael. Post away, dude, because I eat up everything you post. Thank you!

    1. Lynne on 21.04.2013 at 05:38 (Reply)

      I am reading a book that Susan Cain recommended called “Prep” by Curtis Sittenfeld. I am loving the book as I identify with the protagonist - an Introvert at boarding school who describes in detail her thoughts. What I find interesting is that a quick Google search of reviews has a number of comments from readers who hated the book and others who like myself, love it. Those who hate it don’t get the main character - it seems to me they are extroverts who don’t get the constant thinking of the main character. They are intolerant of her. Those who love the book love the protagonsts thoughts. To me it seems it is indicative of extroverts not ‘getting’ introverts.

      My daughters are introverts and by talking about it I’m hoping they are learning to accept & embrace this quality in themselves and how it manifests in them (unlike myself where it has caused such trauma). I have to be careful they get the right idea though as my youngest daughter called someone an extrovert as an insult recently! I don’t think she means to generalise but she is intolerant of those who are attention seeking which I’ve since explained does not apply to all extoverts!

  35. Danielle on 25.04.2013 at 00:53 (Reply)

    This article made me cry but in a good way. It reminded me so much of how I felt when I first started reading ‘Quiet’. I cried and cried several times because for the first time in my life, someone got it right. I saw so much of myself in the book and how I react in most social situations. It was so empowering to discover THAT NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH ME. Despite a lifetime of society, school, and the workplace telling me otherwise.

    I so clearly understand that I am differently social, not anti-social. I can be quite outgoing and chatty in the right situation and the right group of people. I can be fine with an extrovert especially if they have ‘quieter’ tendacies. I understand now why the work situation I was in at the time, a large 19 person department within a large corporation and open floor concept plan (yikes!), made me angry and exhausted at the end of each day. I understand now why massive social gatherings (including my own wedding) cause such anxiety and fear. I understand now why for years, I felt like a puzzle piece that sort of might of fit in with the rest of the puzzle but only if you really tried to cram the piece into it.

    I own my introversion now. I loudly proclaim it and embrace because it is who I am and cannot be changed. I have more confidence in myself and am loads happier because of ‘Quiet’. To be a thinker is power.

  36. Bells on 05.05.2013 at 16:48 (Reply)

    Great article. My sister is an extrovert (I am an introvert) and growing up she always admonished my comfort level with spending large amounts of time alone saying things like ” Do you want to be alone forever???” She even told me that I had a psychological disorder because I didnt “talk” enough and was so quiet around her friends.

  37. Brooke on 19.05.2013 at 20:35 (Reply)

    wow, I just stumbled across this site as I recently felt motivated to do a little self-discovery. For years I’ve thought there was something seriously wrong with me, feeling like I never fit in, an inability to connect with most people, feeling guilty about refusing invitations to parties…and the list goes on for miles. My boss told me last Friday to go home and think about what’s wrong with me and how I can “fix” myself in order to keep my job. Wow! I went home feeling icky about who I am as a person and that I’m truly troubled and unlikeable. What a relief to know that I’m not damaged goods, just introverted. Funny thing is that I’ve worked in mental health for 10 years and I never figured this out about myself. Good to know that I don’t need to “fix” myself, just accept myself for who I am. Next step for me is to get this book and continue my self-exploration and acceptance. Thanks everyone for your comments, it helps to know I’m not alone.

  38. Andreia on 21.05.2013 at 14:50 (Reply)

    The same happened to me while reading Quiet. I feel happy and free now. I always suffered because I could not be that girl who makes jokes and tells stories in front of groups (more than 3 is already a lot for me haha).

    I could not accept myself. Every time someone called me quiet I wanted to hide myself and never go out again.

    Thank you Susan!

  39. Laurie on 23.05.2013 at 09:00 (Reply)

    It seems funny to me (in a haha way!) That as a mental health counsellor and teacher it took me stumbling onto “Quiet” to finally understand and come to accept my true nature. Like Brian Little, I too would be met with laughter and “no way” at the mention that I considered myself introverted. I am the 5th of 6 children, and learned at an early age how to play the “social” game if I wanted attention from my parents. I learned to tell a good joke and to make my siblings and parents laugh, and yet I yearned to go walking in the forest alone, even fantasized about getting lost in the mountains and living alone in a cabin.. and this was from very early on in life. Having been sexually abused as a child, I thought that this traumatic experience is what shaped my personality and feelings of being on the “outside”…over time and largely through reading “Quiet” and connecting to groups filled with other introverts, I have learned that wanting and needing solitude is not a pathology, but rather a state of being. Who I am. That realization has added years to my life I am sure as I now do not feel guilt or the need to fit in, or even apologize for the way that I am. My husband, being an extrovert, understands me and loves me not in spite of my introversion, but because of it. We both understand the needs of the other and have worked hard to strike a balance. No longer do I come home from a day of beiing “on” with teaching or counselling and shut him out. We share the 30 minute rule, whereby we interact, share, visit, etc., for 30 minutes and then I get 30 minutes to re-energize…

    There have been two books that have impacted my life. The first “Trauma and Recovery” by Judith Hermann and the second “Quiet” by Susan Cain. Both books impacted me, because after searching for myself as a child in all of the fairytales, these two books have helped me find myself in the real world. Thank you Susan Cain! Thank you!

  40. donna brooks on 13.06.2013 at 09:21 (Reply)

    ditto

    Reading ‘Quiet’ and slowly uncovering/re-discovering parts of myself-keyword being ‘slowly’ for fear the influx of revelations and emotions will overwhelm me. Seems I’m scared of my own shadow sometimes…the unknown.

    Thank you Susan Cain, Michael Schiller, and others here. I’m in good company.

  41. ljhays on 09.07.2013 at 10:33 (Reply)

    Years ago a team leader had our entire group engage in several Myers-Briggs exercises, where I finally found myself-a big old “I.” What a relief to find out that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t enjoy crowds, large parties, and incessant conversation. Today I have a friend who is a definite “E”; she’s continually trying to get me to go on picnics with people I don’t know, attend social gatherings, and talk, talk, talk. I understand that this is how she gets her energy and I’m able to lovingly explain that it just wears me out. We’re friends because we can draw on each other’s basic nature.

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Manifesto

1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.

2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our “heed-takers” more than ever.

3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

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