The Power of Introverts (TED Talks)

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  1. What category do you fall into according to the quiz? Do you agree?
  2. What are the main characteristics of an introvert?
  3. Why, according to Susan Cain, introverts are often regarded as “problem cases” at school?
  4. What problems might introverts experience in the workplace?
  5. What is a crucial ingredient to creativity, according to Susan Cain?
  6. What is the correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas?
  7. What is “a culture of character” as opposed to “a culture of personality”?
  8. What “three calls of action” does Susan Cain talk about?



to have a vision of = an idea or a picture in your imagination

I had a vision of 10 girls sitting in a cabin cozily reading books in their matching nightgowns.

to instill (camp) spirit = to gradually make somebody feel, think or behave in a particular way over a period of time

And on the very first day, our counselor gathered us all together and she taught us a cheer that she said we would be doing every day for the rest of the summer to instill camp spirit.

rowdy = (of people) making a lot of noise or likely to cause trouble

for the life of me = at all

So I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why we were supposed to be so rowdy, or why we had to spell this word incorrectly.

mellow = (of people) calm, gentle and reasonable because of age or experience

«Why are you being so mellow?» — mellow, of course, being the exact opposite of R-O-W-D-I-E.

to forsake = to leave somebody/something, especially when you have a responsibility to stay

I felt as if the books needed me somehow, and they were calling out to me and I was forsaking them.

to negate = to state that something does not exist

And I made these self-negating choices so reflexively, that I wasn’t even aware that I was making them.

bias = a strong feeling in favour of or against one group of people, or one side in an argument, often not based on fair judgement

So even if you’re an extrovert yourself, I’m talking about your coworkers and your spouses and your children and the person sitting next to you right now — all of them subject to this bias that is pretty deep and real in our society.

to internalize = to make a feeling, an attitude, or a belief part of the way you think and behave

We all internalize it from a very early age without even having a language for what we’re doing.

to crave = to have a very strong desire for something

So extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation…

low-key = not intended to attract a lot of attention

… whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.

gregarious = liking to be with other people

And also we have this belief system right now that I call the new groupthink, which holds that all creativity and all productivity comes from a very oddly gregarious place.

outsize = larger than the usual size

And when it comes to leadership, introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions, even though introverts tend to be very careful, much less likely to take outsize risks.

to take the spotlight = to get all the attention and praise

… All these peopled described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight …

to be at the helm = in partcharge of an organization, project, etc.

… because people could feel that these leaders were at the helm not because they enjoyed directing others and not out of the pleasure of being looked at; they were there because they had no choice.

a streak = a part of a person’s character, especially an unpleasant

This is especially important when it comes to creativity and to productivity,because when psychologists look at the lives of the most creative people, what they find are people who are very good at exchanging ideas and advancing ideas, but who also have a serious streak of introversion in them.

insight = the ability to see and understand the truth about people or situation

This is no surprise, though, if you look at the insights of contemporary psychology.

visceral = resulting from strong feelings rather than careful thought

Even about seemingly personal and visceral things like who you’re attracted to, you will start aping the beliefs of the people around you without even realizing that that’s what you’re doing.

to ape the beliefs = to imitate

rectitude = he quality of thinking or behaving in a correct and honest way

But in America’s early days, we lived in what historians call a culture of character, where we still, at that point, valued people for their inner selves and their moral rectitude.

a sermon = a talk on a moral or religious subject, usually given by a religious leader during a service

Underneath this ceremonial role, he was really modest and really introverted — so much so that when he delivered these sermons, he had trouble making eye contact with the very same congregation that he had been speaking to for 62 years.


How to Teach a Young Introvert