Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

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9781402211171: Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

"If you have introvert inclinations and are doubting yourself, this is a must read. Or if you know someone who exhibits introvert symptoms, read this book before calling the shrink."
- Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, author of One Night's Shelter: An Autobiography of an American Buddhist Monk

EMBRACE THE POWER INSIDE YOU
Are you an introvert? Psychologist and introvert Laurie Helgoe reveals that more than half of all Americans are. Introverts gain energy and power through reflection and solitude. Our culture, however, is geared toward the extrovert. The pressure to enjoy parties, chatter, and interactions can lead people to think that an inward orientation is a problem instead of an opportunity.

Helgoe shows that the exact opposite is true: Introverts can capitalize on this inner source of power. INTROVERT POWER is a groundbreaking call for an introvert renaissance, a blueprint for how introverts can take full advantage of this hidden strength in daily life. Supplemented by the voices of several introverts, Helgoe presents a startling look at introvert numbers, influence, and economic might.

Revolutionary and invaluable, INTROVERT POWER includes ideas for how introverts can learn to:

  • Claim private space
  • Carve out time to think
  • Bring a slower tempo into daily life
  • Create breaks in conversation and relationships
  • Deal effectively with parties, interruptions, and crowds

QUIET IS MIGHT. SOLITUDE IS STRENGTH. INTROVERSION IS POWER.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Laurie Helgoe, PhD, is a writer, psychologist, part-time actor, and model-and introvert. This is her fifth book.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpt from Chapter One: The Mistaken Identity

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"He's thin and white...if he's tall he's got bad posture."
"Not particularly attractive, ungainly, with skin problems-would be first underweight and then (later in life) overweight."
"Nerdy."
"Geeky."
"Conservative style, neutral colors."
These are some descriptions of what an introvert looks like.

What is alarming is that these descriptions all come from introverts! When the same people describe themselves, the picture changes:
"My physical appearance is...exotic. Light green-blue slanted eyes and high cheekbones."
"Natural blonde."
"I'm overweight, tanned skin, big, round, and dark brown eyes."
"Somewhat tall, reasonably attractive considering age."
"Brown curly hair-I look like I'm from another country."

What stood out to me as I polled these people was the sterile and colorless quality of the archetypal introvert, contrasted by the colorized descriptions of the self-identified introverts. The stereotyped introvert is often seen as introvert by default when, in fact, introversion is defined as a preference. Introverts generally prefer a rich inner life to an expansive social life; we would rather talk intimately with a close friend than share stories with a group; and we prefer to develop our ideas internally rather than interactively.

So how have we jumped from these preferences to images of a cowering, reclusive weirdo? Iris Chang commented, "Whatever is not commonly seen is condemned as alien." We have lost our eyes for introversion. As we discussed in the introduction, introverts make up more than half of the population, yet we assume that introverts are an occasional deviation-the geeks in the shadows. Introversion, by definition, is not readily seen. Introverts keep their best stuff inside-that is, until it is ready. And this drives extroverts crazy! The explanation for the introvert's behavior-and there must be an explanation for this behavior, say the extroverts-is that he or she is antisocial, out of touch, or simply a snob.

Because introverts are trickier to read, it is easy to project our fears and negative biases onto this preference. And it's not just extroverts who do this. As my informal poll revealed, we often make similar assumptions about other introverts, and-most troubling of all-about ourselves! One of the introverts I polled is a striking beauty. She described her physical appearance as "OK." Another very attractive introvert described herself as "the status quo." These downplayed descriptions may reflect a tendency to focus less on externals, but we also tend to downplay our very personalities-the style we prefer. For example, do you ever jokingly or apologetically admit to being antisocial, or view yourself as boring in relation to your chatty associates? Do you beat yourself up for not joining in? Do you worry that something is wrong with you; that you're missing out; that who you are naturally is a problem needing correction?

Your nature is not the problem. The problem is that you have become alienated from your nature-from your power source. As Isabel Briggs Myers discussed in her book, Gifts Differing, "The best-adjusted people are the 'psychologically patriotic,' who are glad to be what they are."

For introverts this means, "Their loyalty goes to their own inner principle and derives from it a secure and unshakable orientation to life." But we have been shaken. To reclaim the power of introversion, we must first deconstruct the assumptions we make about who we are.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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