In this sneak peek of Davie Philip’s article from our Spring issue, he talks about the hidden gifts that introverts have to offer to the world, and how they can learn to embrace and express them. The full article is available in our new magazine, which can be obtained at your local stockist or through a subscription.
By Davie Philip
“Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamp lit desk.”
“David was a quiet wee laddie,” according to someone I went to school with whom my mother met recently in the Scottish town where I grew up. Although I now intentionally live in community and work as a group facilitator, I definitely have introvert tendencies. In an extrovert-dominated culture that appreciates the loudest and most outgoing, how do we ensure that the voices and contributions of people who are not as comfortable putting themselves out there are valued?
Over the years I have managed my social awkwardness and overcome a fear of public speaking and am now very comfortable addressing and working with large groups. That is, as long as the focus is on sustainable community or another topic that I am passionate about. Outside of my bubble I can lose my flow, be very quiet and sometimes be severely inhibited.
It was Carl Jung who first coined the terms introvert and extrovert, to describe his observations that people tend to be energised either by going inward in quiet reflection, or outward and are invigorated through interactions with people. Of course, it is a spectrum and our personalities and ways of navigating the world are a lot more complex. It is commonly perceived that all introverts are reserved, constantly quiet, and unsocial, however they are actually a very diverse group with a lot to offer the world.
I recommend reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. It outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each temperament and the positive aspects of being an introvert. Cain cites research in biology, psychology, neuroscience and culture to explain that introversion is both common and normal, and notes that many of humankind’s most creative individuals and leaders throughout history were introverts.