Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quiet: Final thoughts

I've been reading this book for the last several weeks (if you'd like to know more, go HERE or check it out of your local library).

It's been an extremely interesting(although at times repetitive) book for me. The insight into our society's value on extroversion is very thought-provoking. Still, I've probably droned on long enough (please do read it yourself) so this will be the last post :0)

Extroversion and Evangelicalism

There is a section on religion, specifically evangelicalism, and extroversion in which the author examines Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, which at the time of writing had a weekly attendance of 22,000. Cain explores this church and its people through the lens of Adam McHugh, an evangelical pastor and self-proclaimed introvert (he authored Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture). They discuss the almost pre-requisites of the evangelical faith: greeting others, lengthy sermons, and strong encouragement for involvement in committees and extra-curricular activities. All of these things, says McHugh, leave little time for personal prayer and reflection.

It's an interesting take. Never having been associated with an evangelical church, it's hard for me to comment on that aspect but I will say that many of the things he talks about are also true in my 10,000 member parish. Still, within the format of the Mass, I find ample opportunity for private prayer and reflection...even in the midst of so many people.

Finally, from the chapter, "When Collaboration Kills Creativity":

I am a horse for a single harness; not cut out for tandem or teamwork...for well I know that in order to attain any definite goal, it is imperative that one person do the thinking and commanding."  - Albert Einstein

I must share that with DH, often heard to say, "I would rather do almost anything else than group work."

I believe there are times when groups may be useful (parenting, making pierogi) but on the whole (and certainly from my experience in Academe), group work is great for people who mainly enjoy talking about things; talking a lot (witness the "committee on committees" phenomena). For most the effective problem-solving I have to vote for the lone wolf approach. I believe Steve Wozniak would agree:

Work alone. You're going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you're working on your own. Not on a committee. Not on a team.

Food for thought. Have a blessed day!


  1. "strong encouragement for involvement in committees and extra-curricular activities"

    hmmm...maybe some of my frustrations with the fact that so few other Catholic moms ever want to come out and DO STUFF (especially those in the mom's group) is because many of the ones I know are just introverts?

    You've read the book, so you might know more about this... Do extroverts tend to do better having other extroverts as friends? Introverts with introverts? Or do the two types need each other? (I'm sure the answer is very mixed)

  2. I don't know, I'm really impressed at how many women you're getting to the book groups and MNI activities. I think there are a fair number of extroverts in the group. The lack of attendance most likely stems from the home situation. Everyone is busy!

    The book talks about the need for both to function in society. I don't remember friends specifically noted. I am guessing we tend to gravitate toward those who are similar to us (but in different ways, not just introversion/extroversion) but we all have friends of both types.

    Personally, my closest friends are introverts. I have realized, over time, that those with whom I am most myself have the ability to share silence and can listen without wanting to "fix" things. I've found that "fixers" are usually extroverted and/or male ;0) Don't get me wrong, I do like to solve problems but sometimes empathy in the moment is most important. My extroverted friends want to briefly discuss (if at all) and move on to the next thing. I always feel like I'm three steps behind in the conversation!