The power of Quiet…

“Now that you’re an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you’re told that you’re “in your head too much,” a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral.

Of course, there’s another word for such people: thinkers.”

Excerpt from – Quiet, by Susan Cain.

In today’s social media driven, alpha personality ruled world, it is difficult to imagine that less than a hundred years ago, society was very different.

The cultural evolution reached a tipping point around the turn of the twentieth century, changing how we perceived our own ideal selves, personas that we admired, how we act at job interviews and what we look for in employees, mates and even children.

America had shifted from what the influential cultural historian Warren Susman called a Culture of Character to a Culture of Personality—and opened up a Pandora’s Box of personal anxieties from which we would never quite recover.
In the Culture of Character, the ideal self was serious, disciplined, and honorable. What counted was not so much the impression one made in public as how one behaved in private. The word personality didn’t exist in English until the eighteenth century, and the idea of “having a good personality” was not widespread until the twentieth.
But when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started to focus on how others perceived them. They became captivated by people who were bold and entertaining. “The social role demanded of all in the new Culture of Personality was that of a performer,” Susman famously wrote. “Every American was to become a performing self.

So, the ideal 20th century man was serious, reserved and spent few words. He was a thinker. Today, a serious and seldom-speaking person is perceived as a reserved character who has to “improve his social skills” and “not only be great at what he does, but also ensure everyone knows about it”.

The introverts who read this, will well-identify with this problem. The constant pressure to “fit in” is unnerving, to say the least. It’s ok not to put up happy photos on instagram, it’s ok not to spread gyaan on LinkedIn and it’s ok to not want to go to crowded parties where everyone has to scream, just to be heard.

Read “Quiet”, by Susan Cain. It may just change your life:)