Saturday, April 19, 2014

QUIET by Susan Cain: a Life Changing Book for Introverts Like Me (pt. 1)

For those who know me, knows very well that I am a keen reader, a.k.a bookworm. I love books since forever. My hobby is, well, reading. It was perfectly sound to have that hobby 10 years ago (when I was in elementary school almost everybody put "reading" as his/her hobby in bio columns). But now, it seems that reading is a "peculiar" thing especially to be considered as hobby - in this generation of internet and smartphone, paperback books are ancient stuff. Or, maybe it's just Indonesians that don't have a reading habit (we do have a smartphone habit in replacement) and not the rest of the world in general.

Like I care. I have loved curling into pages of interesting stories and will always love to do so,  no matter what.

So, I want to share with you guys a special book that is beyond just a single-serving storytelling. This book worth a million of other self-help/psychological book that sometimes just vaguely scoop a tip or another of "leadership", "public speaking", "talk", "networking" - things that becomes important of our business-oriented world we are living to day. Why? because it embraces that there are naturally these types of people that is just prefer to slow down, observe more, think deeper, and talk less.


Give a roll of applause, ladies and gentlemen, for Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

QUIET cover, with the clever emboss design I love so much

For a starter, I am an introvert. Introvert is NOT always means being shy.  I am not shy, mind you. Public speaking, presentation, talks? bring it on. Meeting new people? go ahead. For me, my introversion is reflected by my preference to:
1) think, think, and think,
2) talk less and do more,
3) talk about things that matters rather than shallow gossips bullshit (I HATE GOSSIPS!),
4) hanging out with a close circle of trusted friends rather than big group of friends that I may of may not trust,
5) limit the doses of social interactions and let myself sink into something I really care a little bit more often.

I always think that introversion, or simply to be the way I am, is a right/freedom of human way of being. You may be a rowdy, wild-party-animal extrovert or to be an elegant, classy-thinker introvert. That's equally okay and we can live together in peace, each other backing up of their core abilities to solve world's problems.

That...turns out to be a utopia.. sort of. I discovered the "Extrovert Ideal" value (as the book refers to) when I start to hear alumni talking about how to be successful in industry. Everybody somehow HAS TO be very talkative and going out a lot - that's the secret recipe of success, among any other thing. The world don't care, they implicitly said, that you are a genius or brilliant or a hardworker, as long as you can't be crowd pleaser and loud chap, all those brain qualities does not matter. Of course it implies the other way, that it is actually okay to not be very capable of what you are doing, as long as you speak well and loud about things even though it does not make sense.. suddenly you are a man of choice.

Is this true?
Because I sincerely doubt that.

Okay, I get it that you have to be able to communicate your ideas well. You have to be a polished presenter. You have to be able to speak your mind. I agree with that. But to say that just being an excellent presenter/talker means that you are 100% fit, I DISAGREE. In my experience, content matters. Garbage in, garbage out. Shit is shit,  no matter that you wrap in in a festive red-ribbons and decorate it with stellar glitters. To "wow" people with your superb talking/presenting skill is important, but for me that's only a halfway. The other half is to have a meaningful, well-prepared, well-contemplated idea, or solution, or content. You can't just favorite one to the other. In order to succeed, you have to got both.

The other part of this "Ideal" I sincerely hate is the way I have to fundamentally change the way I was born to be someone I am not. In other words, to fake it 'till you make it. That means, to drop myself into fake laughs, fake interests to gossips or other shallow things, fake that I enjoy constantly attending parties when I actually need a time to read my books, fake that I don't read. Some people survive this, and even suggest this, but I DISLIKE this strongly. What is the point of "success" if you have to pretend to be somebody else? And, don't you think that the way introverts are has its own bliss that the world actually need. Say, Steve Wozniak, Gandhi, Bill Gates, Rosa Parks, Einstein, Newton, Van Gogh, Tesla, J.K. Rowling, Theodore Roosevelt are all quieter and more cerebral, but the world certainly embrace them. Isn't there a way to be commmunicative and social, in a healthy dose I can take, and also embraces that I actually like to spend time alone doing things that matters.

In the doubt, the book came across. I vaguely heard about the masterpiece on the internet, and when I made a trip to Periplus bookstore in Yogyakarta, the book came to view and I didn't think twice to snatch it.

So, how does this book exactly change my life? I will write in part two. Sleepyhead right now :3
to be continued..