Even though extroverts make up the majority of people on this pale blue dot, I happen to feel comfortably at home in academia. The profession seems overwhelmed with introverts. It’s not as if we are shy, or afraid of interaction, or uncomfortable around people. Rather it’s that we prefer the quiet solitude of our own mind. Scientific American’s article, The Power Of Introverts, has picked up an author, Susan Cain, who focuses on this issue; and nicely explains the subtlety of introversion. I found most fascinating three points that Cain mentioned:

  1. “It’s never a good idea to organize society in a way that depletes the energy of half the population. We discovered this with women decades ago, and now it’s time to realize it with introverts.”
  2. “Forty years of research shows that brainstorming in groups is a terrible way to produce creative ideas. … An interesting line of research by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist suggests that the most creative people in many fields are usually introverts. This is probably because introverts are comfortable spending time alone, and solitude is a crucial (and underrated) ingredient for creativity.”
  3. “According to groundbreaking new research by Adam Grant, a management professor at Wharton, introverted leaders sometimes deliver better outcomes than extroverts do. Introverts are more likely to let talented employees run with their ideas, rather than trying to put their own stamp on things. And they tend to be motivated not by ego or a desire for the spotlight, but by dedication to their larger goal.”

As I sit content and comfortably alone on a Monday holiday, I feel solace in articles like this. Too bad I feel the extroverts will hardly ever take the time (a) to read enough to find such an article and (b) attempt the understanding / attempt to relate.