Reflection on Quiet #2
In the second section of Quiet, Susan Cain travels to the Harvard Business School campus and talks to some students to understand the myth of charismatic leadership. The acceptable behavior at Harvard Business School is to be a leader and to be overly extroverted. But the occasional student goes against this norm. The idea is that to be successful you have to be extroverted but we have people such as Bill Gates and other large CEO figure heads who are very successful and were introverts. This idea is not only present on the HBS campus but in most schools. After reading about the New Groupthink and its popular method of instruction called “cooperative” or “small group” learning, I wonder how the teachers aren’t concerned with the students hiding behind each other. I’ve noticed in my classes that most teachers have rules that you can’t ask the teacher for help unless everyone in your group has the same question. This allows the unmotivated students to let others do the group work for them instead of advocating for their own learning by copying their group mates.
Throughout this reading the constant theme has been that, if you are an introvert, you are wrong. Everyone wants to be an extrovert and everyone is expected to be an exrovert. This book has made me feel comforted in the fact that I am an introvert and I am not alone. The author describes her feelings before a public speech or while meeting new people and I identify with those feelings. Growing up, my older brother and I both would have preferred playing video games together over going on the boat with the family. However, my younger brother would rather climb trees, yell, and scream like a true extrovert. My older brother and I were punished because we weren’t the expectation and that has caused me to believe that introversion is wrong.
I’ve learned that acceptance is the hardest part of living. Accepting something that is against your expectations and changing your expectations can even be in contrast to your beliefs. I worry sometimes that we’ve put too much weight on success. That we’ve sacrificed everything else to make success our religion and our creed. Extroversion can make a career for actors, musicians, or anyone in the entertainment or business market therefor, making extroversion more appealing. I wish introversion wasn’t such a rarity and that in our society acceptance wasn’t a difficult thing to come by.