March 25, 2012 by Stephen
I came across this TED Talk from Susan Cain while I was browsing Hulu PLUS this evening. I consider myself an introvert, so this talk is right up my alley. I found her talk powerful and encouraging. She says that introverts need to be valued and celebrated in order to help bring balance in our culture and to help with productivity and creativity. She makes good points about how the current workplace and classroom are set-up in such a way that discourages the needed balance between extroverts and introverts. Since introverts make up between a third to a half of all people, a set-up that favors extroverts almost exclusively creates an atmosphere that limits overall productivity and creativity. She makes a compelling case for introverts to be recognized and valued for what they bring in their ‘suitcases.’ I encourage you to watch her talk. Her book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” is a New York Times bestseller.
This topic reminds of another book that I own, but haven’t read yet: “Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture.” Adam McHugh‘s book reminds the church that introverts are important to the thriving of the kingdom of God just as much as extroverts are – again, there needs to be balance. If Susan Cain is right about the importance of introverts in productivity and creativity (and I think she is right), then our churches need to be finding ways to create balance so that both introverts and extroverts can grow spiritually and together help the kingdom of God grow and thrive through that productivity and creativity. Based on my own studies of spiritual formation, the ideas Susan Cain shares in her talk, especially contemplation and withdrawing to be alone in our mind, are ones that are vital to the church and its future growth.
What do you think? Do we need the power of introverts in our society? What about in our churches? If so, how do we make it possible for introverts to find their place?