Monday, January 25, 2016

MyNotes: Quiet by Susan Cain #introvert

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Calls for Action:
  1. Stop the madness! Stop the calls for groupwork! We need more privacy and autonomy.
  2. Go to the like Buda, have your own revelations. We can all stand to get inside our own heads a little more often.
  3. Take a good luck at what's inside your "own suitcase."


  1. "In a gentle way, you can shake the world." --Mahatma Gandhi
  2. If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day. This would mean that an awful lot of bad ideas prevail while good ones get squashed. Yet studies in group dynamics suggest that this is exactly what happens. We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types—even though grade-point averages and SAT and intelligence test scores reveal this perception to be inaccurate.
  3. We also see talkers as leaders. The more a person talks, the more other group members direct their attention to him, which means that he becomes increasingly powerful as a meeting goes on. It also helps to speak fast; we rate quick talkers as more capable and appealing than slow talkers.
  4. All of this would be fine if more talking were correlated with greater insight, but research suggests that there’s no such link.
  5. We tend to overestimate how outgoing leaders need to be. “Most leading in a corporation is done in small meetings and it’s done at a distance, through written and video communications," Professor Mills told me. “It’s not done in front of big groups. You have to be able to do some of that; you can’t be a leader of a corporation and walk into a room full of analysts and turn white with fear and leave. But you don’t have to do a whole lot of it. I’ve known a lot of leaders of corporations who are highly introspective and who really have to make themselves work to do the public stuff."
  6. Collins hadn’t set out to make a point about quiet leadership. When he started his research, all he wanted to know was what characteristics made a company outperform its competition. He selected eleven standout companies to research in depth. Initially he ignored the question of leadership altogether, because he wanted to avoid simplistic answers. But when he analyzed what the highest-performing companies had in common, the nature of their CEOs jumped out at him. Every single one of them was led by an unassuming man like Darwin Smith. Those who worked with these leaders tended to describe them with the following words: quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated.
  7. The lesson, says Collins, is clear. We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.
  8. The results were striking. The introverted leaders were 20 percent more likely to follow the suggestion—and their teams had 24 percent better results than the teams of the extroverted leaders. When the followers were not proactive, though—when they simply did as the leader instructed without suggesting their own shirt-folding methods—the teams led by extroverts outperformed those led by the introverts by 22 percent.
  9. Why did these leaders’ effectiveness turn on whether their employees were passive or proactive? Grant says it makes sense that introverts are uniquely good at leading initiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions. Having benefited from the talents of their followers, they are then likely to motivate them to be even more proactive. Introverted leaders create a virtuous circle of proactivity, in other words. In the T-shirt-folding study, the team members reported perceiving the introverted leaders as more open and receptive to their ideas, which motivated them to work harder and to fold more shirts.
  10. Extroverts, on the other hand, can be so intent on putting their own stamp on events that they risk losing others’ good ideas along the way and allowing workers to lapse into passivity. “Often the leaders end up doing a lot of the talking," says Francesca Gino, “and not listening to any of the ideas that the followers are trying to provide." But with their natural ability to inspire, extroverted leaders are better at getting results from more passive workers.
  11. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally. The same person who would never raise his hand in a lecture hall of two hundred people might blog to two thousand, or two million, without thinking twice. The same person who finds it difficult to introduce himself to strangers might establish a presence online and then extend these relationships into the real world.
  12. As the influential psychologist Hans Eysenck once observed, introversion “concentrates the mind on the tasks in hand, and prevents the dissipation of energy on social and sexual matters unrelated to work."
  13. “New GroupThink" elevates teamwork above all else, insisting that creativity and intellectual achievement come from a gregarious place.
  14. 91% of high-level managers believe that teams are the key to success.
  15. “While extroverts tend to attain leadership in public domains, introverts tend to attain leadership in theoretical and aesthetic fields…hence leadership does not only apply in social situations, but also occurs in more solitary situations." Leadership Development for the Gifted and Talented.
  16. A significant majority of the earliest computer enthusiasts were introverts…it’s a truism that open source attracts introverts.
  17. Serious study alone is the strongest predictor of skill for tournament-rated chess players.
  18. In many fields, it’s only when you’re alone that you can engage in deliberate practice. When you practice deliberately, you identify the tasks or knowledge that are just out of your reach, strive to upgrade your performance, monitor your progress, and revise accordingly.
  19. Teens who are too gregarious to spend time alone often fail to cultivate their talents “because practicing music or studying math requires a solitude they dread."
  20. Excessive stimulations seems to impede learning.
  21. Kafka:
    1. You once said that you would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen, in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing oneself to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind…That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough.
  22. "The evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups…if you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority." (Adrian Furnham)
  23. The one exception to this is online brainstorming. Groups brainstorming electronically, when properly managed, not only do better than individuals, research shows; the larger the group, the better it performs. The same is true of academic research—professors who work together electronically, from different physical locations, tend to produce research that is more influential than those either working alone or collaborating face to face.
  24. "High-reactive" (introverts) pay "alert attention" to people and things...they literally use more eye movements than others to compare choices before making a decision. It's as if they process more deeply the information they take in about the world.
  25. They also tend to think and feel deeply about what they've noticed, and to bring an extra degree of nuance to everyday experiences.
  26. Many high-reactives become writers or pick other intellectual vocations where "you're in charge: you close the door, pull down the shades, and do your work. You're protected from encountering unexpected things."
  27. High-reactive kids who enjoy good parenting, child care, and a stable home environment tend to have fewer emotional problems and more social skills than their lower-reactive peers, studies show.
  28. The ideal parent for a high-reactive child is someone who can "read your cues and respect your individuality; is warm and firm in placing demands on you without being harsh or hostile; promotes curiosity, academic achievement, delayed gratification, and self-control; is not harsh, neglectful or inconsistent."
  29. There's a host of evidence that introverts are more sensitive than extroverts to various kinds of stimulation, and that introverts and extroverts often need very different levels of stimulation to function at their best.
  30. Your sweet spot is the place where you're optimally stimulated.
  31. People who are aware of their sweet spots have the power to leave jobs that exhaust them and start new and satisfying businesses.
  32. Introverts function better than extroverts when sleep deprived.
  33. Introverts have trouble projecting artificial enthusiasm.
  34. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive, dream vividly, feel exceptionally strong emotions, process info about their environments unusually deeply, noticing subtleties that others miss.
  35. Human extroverts have more sex partners than introverts do, but they commit more adultery and divorce more frequently.
  36. "If you send an introvert into a reception or an event with a hundred other people, he will emerge with less energy than he had going in...Most people in politics draw energy from backslapping and shaking hands and all that. I draw energy from discussing ideas." Al Gore
  37. "When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else."
  38. Overconfidence is defined as greater confidence unmatched by greater ability.
  39. When it comes times to make group decisions, extroverts would do well to listen to introverts--especially when they see problems ahead.
  40. Introverts are constitutionally programmed to downplay reward--to kill their buzz, you might say--and scan for problems.
  41. Introverts ask themselves, "Is this what I thought would happen? Is it how it should be?" And when the situation falls short of expectations, they form associations between the moment of disappointment (losing points) and whatever was going on in their environment at the time of the disappointment. These association lets them make accurate predictions about how to react to warning signals in the future.
  42. Introverts seem to think more carefully than extroverts.
  43. Introverts sometimes outperform extroverts even on social tasks that require persistence. "It's not that I'm so smart," said Einstein, who was a consummate introvert. "It's that I stay with problems longer."
  44. Flow is an optimal state in which you feel totally engaged in an activity. In a state of flow, you're neither bored nor anxious and you don't question your own adequacy. The key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the rewards it brings.
  45. Flow often occurs in conditions in which people "become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself."
  46. In flow, a person could work around the clock for days on end, for no better reason than to keep on working.
  47. If you're an introvert, when you're focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless.
  48. Neat proverbs:
    1. "The wind howls, but the mountain remains still." -Japanese Proverb
    2. "Those who know do not speak./Those who speak do not know. - Lao Zi, The Way of Lao Zi
    3. Even though I make no special attempt to observe the discipline of silence, living alone automatically makes me refrain from the sins of speech." - Kamo No Chomei, 12th Century Japanese recluse
  49. "I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. A thoughtless word hardly ever escaped my tongue or pen. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. We find so many people impatient to talk. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much a waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth." Mahatma Gandhi
There is so much more great stuff to explore in this book and I encourage you to read it cover to cover. It is an affirmation of introverts, and having been one all my life, I'm inclined to buy copies for all those who said to me, "You seem to spend a little too much time inside yourself! Come out of your shell!" or for those who wondered at my shyness.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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