Thursday, August 30, 2012

Extrovert, introvert, omnivert

In "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain, I read this:

Indeed, excessive stimulation seems to impede learning: a recent study found that people learn better after a quiet stroll through the woods than after a noisy walk down a city street. Another study, of 38,000 knowledge workers across different sectors, found that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity. Even multitasking, that prized feat of modern-day office warriors, turns out to be a myth. Scientists now know that the brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50 percent. Many introverts seem to know these things instinctively, and resist being herded together.

Cain, Susan (2012-01-24). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (p. 85). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Reading this, I feel I have to protest.  Most indicators add up to my being on the border between extrovert and introvert, so maybe I have credentials to appreciate both sides.  

My experience has been that most people resist being herded together.  I think there is a big difference between joining together in good spirits by choice and being herdED in any way.  Listening to "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry", I think of many members of my family who resist being herded, resist any inauthentic cheerleading, or emotional urging that bears impure motives, or commercialized labeling.  

It seems to me mature and intelligent recognition of the complexity of people and the breadth of their lives and feelings requires a certain respect.  Regardless of our impulses for sharing or personal revelation or securing solitude, we grow to grasp that each of us lives far more in each day than can be told or witnessed in a day.  We come to appreciate both the surprises and twists as well as some satisfying confirmations of our expectations.  We want to share our stories and to hear about those of others.  We want to live our lives to the fullest and also to partake as deeply as we can manage of the lives of others.

I guess it is something like a potluck to which we bring a truly well-made and delicious dish.  We know like it and we definitely want some but we would be silly to limit ourselves to just our own offering.  We try everything that looks good and some of the things that seem popular that don't look all that inviting, knowing as we do, that others are no dummies and learning about their take on things and their favorite recipes has increased our pleasure in the past.
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