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Dayo F Osibamowo
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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Susan Cain (2013)

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Introduction: The North and South of Temperament

Location 172: We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts which means that we've lost sight of who we really are.

Location 350: If you're still not sure where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum, you can assess yourself here. Answer each question true or false, choosing the answer that applies to you more often than not:

  • I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
  • I often prefer to express myself in writing.
  • I enjoy solitude.
  • I seem to care less than my peers about wealth, fame, and status.
  • I dislike small talk, but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.
  • People tell me that I'm a good listener.
  • I'm not a big risk-taker.
  • I enjoy work that allows me to dive inwith few interruptions.
  • I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale, with only one or two close friends or family members.
  • People describe me as soft-spokenor mellow.
  • I prefer not to show or discuss my work with others until it's finished.
  • I dislike conflict.
  • I do my best work on my own.
  • I tend to think before I speak.
  • I feel drained after being out and about, even if I've enjoyed myself.
  • I often let calls go through to voice mail.
  • If I had to choose, I'd prefer a weekend with absolutely nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
  • I don't enjoy multitasking.
  • I can concentrate easily.
  • In classroom situations, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more often you answered true, the more introverted you probably are. If you found yourself with a roughly equal number of true and false answers, then you may be an ambivert: Yes, there really is such a word!

Part One: The Extrovert Ideal

Chapter 1. The Rise of the "Mighty Likeable Fellow": How Extroversion Became the Cultural Ideal.

Location 623: As this disdain suggests, early Americans revered action and were suspicious of intellect, associating the life of the mind with the languid, ineffectual European aristocracy they had left behind.

Location 629: But the rise of the Culture of Personality intensified such biases, and applied them not only to political and religious leaders, but also to regular people.

Location 646: The pressure to entertain, to sell ourselves, and never to be visibly anxious keeps ratcheting up.

Location 681: But what do sharp skills look like? Should we become so proficient at self-presentation that we can dissemble without anyone suspecting? Must we learn to stage-manage our voices, gestures, and body language until we can "tell & sell" any story we want? These seem venal aspirations, a marker of how far we've come "and not in a good way" since the days of Dale Carnegie's childhood.

Location 799: As best I can tell, a successful Firewalk depends not so much on your state of mind as on how thick the soles of your feet happen to be.

Location 838: But the thing about Tony and what draws people to buy his products is that like any good salesman, he believes in what he's pitching. He apparently sees no contradiction between wanting the best for people and wanting to live in a mansion. He persuades us that he's using his sales skills not only for personal gain but also to help as many of us as he can reach.

Location 845: At the onset of the Culture of Personality, we were urged to develop an extroverted personality for frankly selfish reasons as a way of outshining the crowd in a newly anonymous and competitive society. But nowadays we tend to think that becoming more extroverted not only makes us more successful, but also makes us better people. We see salesmanship as a way of sharing one's gifts with the world.

Chapter 2. The Myth of Charismatic Leadership: The Culture of Personality, a Hundred Years Later

Location 896: Don is a bitter introvert,as he cheerfully puts it is bitter because the more time he spends at HBS, the more convinced he becomes that he'd better change his ways. Don likes having a lot of time to himself, but that's not much of an option at HBS.

Location 947: By the time Don falls into bed at night, he's exhausted. And sometimes he wonders why, exactly, he should have to work so hard at being outgoing. Don is Chinese-American, and recently he worked a summer job in China. He was struck by how different the social norms were, and how much more comfortable he felt. In China there was more emphasis on listening, on asking questions rather than holding forth, on putting others' needs first. In the United States, he feels, conversation is about how effective you are at turning your experiences into stories, whereas a Chinese person might be concerned with taking up too much of the other person's time with inconsequential information.

Location 966: Even businesses that employ many artists, designers, and other imaginative types often display a preference for extroversion.

Location 984: Yet even at Harvard Business School there are signs that something might be wrong with a leadership style that values quick and assertive answers over quiet, slow decision-making.

Location 1016: If we assume that quiet and loud people have roughly the same number of good (and bad) ideas, then we should worry if the louder and more forceful people always carry the day.

Location 1018: We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types even though grade-point averages and SAT and intelligence test scores reveal this perception to be inaccurate.

Location 1021: The more a person talks, the more other group members direct their attention to him, which means that he becomes increasingly powerful as a meeting goes on. It also helps to speak fast; we rate quick talkers as more capable and appealing than slow talkers.

Location 1039: We are similarly inclined to empower dynamic speakers. One highly successful venture capitalist who is regularly pitched by young entrepreneurs told me how frustrated he is by his colleagues' failure to distinguish between good presentation skills and true leadership ability. I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they're good talkers, but they don't have good ideas,he said. It's so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They're valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.

Location 1056: Contrary to the Harvard Business School model of vocal leadership, the ranks of effective CEOs turn out to be filled with introverts, including Charles Schwab; Bill Gates; Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee; and James Copeland, former CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Location 1060: The one and only personality trait the effective ones I have encountered did have in common was something they did not have: they had little or no 'charisma' and little use either for the term or what it signifies.

Location 1086: But when he analyzed what the highest-performing companies had in common, the nature of their CEOs jumped out at him. Every single one of them was led by an unassuming man like Darwin Smith. Those who worked with these leaders tended to describe them with the following words: quiet, humble, modest, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered, self-effacing, understated.

Location 1089: We don't need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.

Location 1131: Grant says it makes sense that introverts are uniquely good at leading initiative-takers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear and implement suggestions.

Location 1144: It's also important for companies to groom listeners as well as talkers for leadership roles.

Location 1207: We don't ask why God chose as his prophet a stutterer with a public speaking phobia. But we should.

Location 1241: Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the real me online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally.

Location 1315: After all, hasn't prayer always been about contemplation as well as community? Religious leaders from Jesus to Buddha, as well as the lesser-known saints, monks, shamans, and prophets, have always gone off alone to experience the revelations they later shared with the rest of us.

Chapter 3. When Collaboration Kills Creativity: The Rise of the New Groupthink and the Power of Working Alone

Location 1501: Hence leadership does not only apply in social situations, but also occurs in more solitary situations such as developing new techniques in the arts, creating new philosophies, writing profound books and making scientific breakthroughs.

Location 1513: Instead of distinguishing between online and in-person interaction, we used the lessons of one to inform our thinking about the other.

Location 1555: When you practice deliberately, you identify the tasks or knowledge that are just out of your reach, strive to upgrade your performance, monitor your progress, and revise accordingly.

Location 1558: Deliberate Practice is best conducted alone for several reasons. It takes intense concentration, and other people can be distracting. It requires deep motivation, often self-generated. But most important, it involves working on the task that's most challenging to you personally.

Location 1591: But exceptional performance depends not only on the groundwork we lay through Deliberate Practice; it also requires the right working conditions.

Location 1620: 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.

Location 1692: Studies have shown that performance gets worse as group size increases.

Part Two: Your Biology, Your Self?

Chapter 4. Is Temperament Destiny?: Nature, Nurture, and the Orchid Hypothesis

Location 1875: High and low reactivity tended to correspond, in other words, to introversion and extroversion.

Location 1897: The amygdala serves as the brain's emotional switchboard, receiving information from the senses and then signaling the rest of the brain and nervous system how to respond. One of its functions is to instantly detect new or threatening things in the environment from an airborne Frisbee to a hissing serpent and send rapid-fire signals through the body that trigger the fight-or-flight response.

Location 1927: High-reactive kids also tend to think and feel deeply about what they've noticed, and to bring an extra degree of nuance to everyday experiences.

Location 1936: Putting theory into practice is hard for them, writes Gallagher, because their sensitive natures and elaborate schemes are unsuited to the heterogeneous rigors of the schoolyard.

Location 2050: Low-reactive, extroverted children, if raised by attentive families in safe environments, can grow up to be energetic achievers with big personalities - the Richard Bransons and Oprahs of this world. But give those same children negligent caregivers or a bad neighborhood, say some psychologists, and they can turn into bullies, juvenile delinquents, or criminals.

Location 2053: Lykken has controversially called psychopaths and heroes twigs on the same genetic branch.

Location 2104: High-reactive children raised in supportive environments are even more resistant than other kids to the common cold and other respiratory illnesses, but get sick more easily if they're raised in stressful conditions.

Location 2112: The parents of high-reactive children are exceedingly lucky, Belsky told me. The time and effort they invest will actually make a difference. Instead of seeing these kids as vulnerable to adversity, parents should see them as malleable - for worse, but also for better. He describes eloquently a high-reactive child's ideal parent: someone who can read your cues and respect your individuality; is warm and firm in placing demands on you without being harsh or hostile; promotes curiosity, academic achievement, delayed gratification, and self-control; and is not harsh, neglectful, or inconsistent.

Location 2116: This advice is terrific for all parents, of course, but it's crucial for raising a high-reactive child. (If you think your child might be high-reactive, you're probably already asking yourself what else you can do to cultivate your son or daughter.

Chapter 5. Beyond Temperament: The Role of Free Will (and the Secret of Public Speaking for Introverts)

Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person's capacity to act. - MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI

Location 2304: Once you understand introversion and extroversion as preferences for certain levels of stimulation, you can begin consciously trying to situate yourself in environments favorable to your own personality - neither overstimulating nor under-stimulating, neither boring nor anxiety-making.

Location 2308: Your sweet spot is the place where you're optimally stimulated. You probably seek it out already without being aware that you're doing so.

Location 2322: Understanding your sweet spot can increase your satisfaction in every arena of your life, but it goes even further than that. Evidence suggests that sweet spots can have life-or-death consequences.

Location 2398: There is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.

Chapter 6. Franklin Was A Politician, But Eleanor Spoke Out of Conscience: Why Cool Is Overrated

Location 2517: The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic.

Location 2519: They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions - sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear.

Location 2578: She never did outgrow her vulnerability; all her life she suffered dark Griselda moods, as she called them (named for a princess in a medieval legend who withdrew into silence), and struggled to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide.I think people who are shy remain shy always, but they learn how to overcome it, she said. But it was perhaps this sensitivity that made it easy for her to relate to the disenfranchised, and conscientious enough to act on their behalf. FDR, elected at the start of the Depression, is remembered for his compassion. But it was Eleanor who made sure he knew how suffering Americans felt.

Location 2593: In our culture, guilt is a tainted word, but it's probably one of the building blocks of conscience.

Location 2598: Functional, moderate guilt, writes Kochanska, may promote future altruism, personal responsibility, adaptive behavior in school, and harmonious, competent, and prosocial relationships with parents, teachers, and friends.

Location 2761: But if our entire population consisted of warriors, there would be no one to notice, let alone battle, potentially deadly but far quieter threats like viral disease or climate change.

Location 2793: If you're a sensitive sort, then you may be in the habit of pretending to be more of a politician and less cautious or single-mindedly focused than you actually are. But in this chapter I'm asking you to rethink this view. Without people like you, we will, quite literally, drown.

Location 2842: But instead it reinforced my deeper yearning for balance. This balance, I think, is what Elaine Aron would say is our natural state of being, at least in Indo-European cultures like ours, which she observes have long been divided into warrior kings and priestly advisers, into the executive branch and the judicial branch, into bold and easy FDRs and sensitive, conscientious Eleanor Roosevelts.

Chapter 7. Why Did Wall Street Crash and Warren Buffett Prosper?: How Introverts and Extroverts Think (and Process Dopamine) Differently

Location 2886: Reward sensitivity on overdrive gets people into all kinds of trouble. We can get so excited by the prospect of juicy prizes, like winning big in the stock market, that we take outsized risks and ignore obvious warning signals.

Location 2892: Behavioral economists have long observed that executives buying companies can get so excited about beating out their competitors that they ignore signs that they're overpaying.

Location 2903: Dorn has observed that her extroverted clients are more likely to be highly reward-sensitive, while the introverts are more likely to pay attention to warning signals. They're more successful at regulating their feelings of desire or excitement.

Location 2917: Although the new brain also plays a significant role in our emotional lives, it's the seat of rationality.

Location 2931: Extroverts tend to experience more pleasure and excitement than introverts

Location 2942: Dopamine is the reward chemical released in response to anticipated pleasures.

Location 2956: In some ways, extroverts are lucky; buzz has a delightful champagne-bubble quality. It fires us up to work and play hard. It gives us the courage to take chances. Buzz also gets us to do things that would otherwise seem too difficult, like giving speeches.

Location 2965: A lot of antisocial and self-defeating behavior results from people who amplify positive emotions.

Location 2987: Introverts also seem to be better than extroverts at delaying gratification, a crucial life skill associated with everything from higher SAT scores and income to lower body mass index.

Location 3000: Yet it was just this kind of risk-reward miscalculation that contributed to the failure of many banks during the Great Recession of 2008.

Location 3050: Introverts are geared to inspect and extroverts geared to respond.

Location 3057: The longer you pause to process surprising or negative feedback, the more likely you are to learn from it.

Location 3063: Introverts, in contrast, are constitutionally programmed to downplay rewards to kill their buzz, you might say and scan for problems.

Location 3081: Extroverts are better than introverts at handling information overload. Introverts' reflectiveness uses up a lot of cognitive capacity,

Location 3087: Extroverts are more likely to take a quick-and-dirty approach to problem-solving, trading accuracy for speed,

Location 3091: It's as if extroverts are seeing what is while their introverted peers are asking what if.

Location 3112: It's not that I'm so smart, said Einstein, who was a consummate introvert. It's that I stay with problems longer.

Location 3115: The point is that we tend to overvalue buzz and discount the risks of reward-sensitivity: we need to find a balance between action and reflection.

Location 3165: In a state of flow, you're neither bored nor anxious, and you don't question your own adequacy. Hours pass without your noticing. The key to flow is to pursue an activity for its own sake, not for the rewards it brings.

Location 3176: If you're an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status.

Location 3181: So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race.

Location 3264: Buffett takes pride not only in his track record, but also in following his own inner scorecard. He divides the world into people who focus on their own instincts and those who follow the herd.

Part Three: Do All Cultures Have An Extrovert Ideal?

Chapter 8. Soft Power: Asian-Americans and the Extrovert Ideal

Location 3303: Of the 615 students in the graduating class of 2010 at Cupertino's Monta Vista High School (77 percent of whom are Asian-American, according to the school's website, some of which is accessible in Chinese), 53 were National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

Location 3433: It makes sense, then, that Westerners value boldness and verbal skill, traits that promote individuality, while Asians prize quiet, humility, and sensitivity, which foster group cohesion.

Location 3461: The point is not that one is superior to the other, but that a profound difference in cultural values has a powerful impact on the personality styles favored by each culture.

Location 3585: Aggressive power beats you up; soft power wins you over.

Location 3638: Gandhi's passivity was not weakness at all. It meant focusing on an ultimate goal and refusing to divert energy to unnecessary skirmishes along the way.

Location 3641: I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. A thoughtless word hardly ever escaped my tongue or pen. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth.

Part Four: How to Love, How to Work

Chapter 9. When When Should You Act More Extroverted Than You Really Are?

Location 3772: According to Little, our lives are dramatically enhanced when we're involved in core personal projects that we consider meaningful, manageable, and not unduly stressful, and that are supported by others.

Location 3829: Self-monitors are highly skilled at modifying their behavior to the social demands of a situation. They look for cues to tell them how to act. When in Rome, they do as the Romans do,

Location 3888:
Anyone can be a great negotiator, I told them, and in fact it often pays to be quiet and gracious, to listen more than talk, and to have an instinct for harmony rather than conflict. With this style, you can take aggressive positions without inflaming your counterpart's ego. And by listening, you can learn what's truly motivating the person you're negotiating with and come up with creative solutions that satisfy both parties.

Location 3928: There are three key steps to identifying your own core personal projects.

Location 3929: First, think back to what you loved to do when you were a child.

Location 3933: Second, pay attention to the work you gravitate to.

Location 3937: Finally, pay attention to what you envy. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You mostly envy those who have what you desire.

Location 3948: Restorative niche is Professor Little's term for the place you go when you want to return to your true self.

Location 3980: A Free Trait Agreement acknowledges that we'll each act out of character some of the times in exchange for being ourselves the rest of the time. It's a Free Trait Agreement when a wife who wants to go out every Saturday night and a husband who wants to relax by the fire work out a schedule: half the time we'll go out, and half the time we'll stay home.

Location 3994: But the person with whom you can best strike a Free Trait Agreement after overcoming his or her resistance is yourself.

Location 4020: When your conscientiousness impels you to take on more than you can handle, you begin to lose interest, even in tasks that normally engage you.

Location 4022: Professor Little believes that prolonged acting out of character may also increase autonomic nervous system activity, which can, in turn, compromise immune functioning.

Chapter 10. The Communication Gap: How to Talk to Members of the Opposite Type

Location 4112: It can be hard for extroverts to understand how badly introverts need to recharge at the end of a busy day.

Location 4125: But whatever the reason for these differences in social needs: whether gender or temperament ”what's important is that it's possible to work through them.

Location 4162: When people have compatible styles of conflict, a disagreement can be an occasion for each partner to affirm the other's point of view.

Location 4173: introverts like people they meet in friendly contexts; extroverts prefer those they compete with.

Location 4212: Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn't soothe anger; it fuels it.

Chapter 11. On Cobblers and Generals: How to Cultivate Quiet Kids in a World That Can't Hear Them

Location 4366: We should all look out for cobblers who might have been great generals. Which means focusing on introverted children, whose talents are too often stifled, whether at home, at school, or on the playground.

Location 4395: But parents need to step back from their own preferences and see what the world looks like to their quiet children.

Location 4467: You can also use your empathy to help you judge when to encourage him to face his fears, and when this would be too overwhelming.

Location 4487: One of the best things you can do for an introverted child is to work with him on his reaction to novelty. Remember that introverts react not only to new people, but also to new places and events. So don't mistake your child's caution in new situations for an inability to relate to others. He's recoiling from novelty or overstimulation, not from human contact.

Location 4491: The key is to expose your child gradually to new situations and people taking care to respect his limits, even when they seem extreme. This produces more-confident kids than either overprotection or pushing too hard. Let him know that his feelings are normal and natural, but also that there's nothing to be afraid of.

Go at your child's pace; don't rush him. If he's young, make the initial introductions with the other little boy if you have to. And stick around in the background or, when he's really little, with a gentle, supportive hand on his back for as long as he seems to benefit from your presence. When he takes social risks, let him know you admire his efforts: I saw you go up to those new kids yesterday. I know that can be difficult, and I'm proud of you.

Location 4504: Every small step is a giant stride in a child's world.

Location 4508: If you're consistent in helping your young child learn to regulate his or her emotions and behaviors in soothing and supportive ways, something rather magical will begin to happen: in time, you might watch your daughter seem to be silently reassuring herself: 'Those kids are having fun, I can go over there.' He or she is learning to selfregulate fearfulness and wariness.

Location 4514: If you can, it's best to teach your child self-coaxing skills while he's still very young, when there's less stigma associated with social hesitancy.

Location 4516: Similarly, invite some of his classmates to your house. Let him know gently that when you're together with others, it's not OK to whisper or tug at your pants leg to communicate his needs; he needs to speak up.

Location 4530: You can also teach your child simple social strategies to get him through uncomfortable moments. Encourage him to look confident even if he's not feeling it.

Location 4531: Three simple reminders go a long way: smile, stand up straight, and make eye contact.

Location 4584: The truth is that many schools are designed for extroverts.

Location 4588: If your child prefers to work autonomously and socialize one-on-one, there's nothing wrong with her; she just happens not to fit the prevailing model. The purpose of school should be to prepare kids for the rest of their lives, but too often what kids need to be prepared for is surviving the school day itself.

Location 4601: Kids stop learning when they feel emotionally threatened.

Location 4612: When encouraging shy children to speak, says Johnson, it helps to make the topic so compelling that they forget their inhibitions. She advises asking students to discuss hot-button subjects like Boys have life a lot easier than girls do.

Location 4616: If you find something that arouses your passion or provides a welcome challenge, you forget yourself for a while. It's like an emotional vacation.

Location 4620: Experts believe that negative public speaking experiences in childhood can leave children with a lifelong terror of the podium.

Location 4622: Don't think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.

Location 4627: Studies show that one third to one half of us are introverts.

Location 4629: Balance teaching methods to serve all the kids in your class. Extroverts tend to like movement, stimulation, collaborative work. Introverts prefer lectures, downtime, and independent projects. Mix it up fairly.

Location 4631: Introverts often have one or two deep interests that are not necessarily shared by their peers.

Location 4632:
Praise these kids for their interests, encourage them, and help them find like-minded friends, if not in the classroom, then outside it.

Location 4634: Some collaborative work is fine for introverts, even beneficial. But it should take place in small groups, pairs or threesomes, and be carefully structured so that each child knows her role.

Location 4642: Have your extroverted students take a page from their introverted peers' playbooks. Teach all kids to work independently. Don't seat quiet kids in high-interaction areas of the classroom,

Location 4645: Make it easy for introverted kids to participate in class, but don't insist.

Location 4651: You can look for a school that prizes independent interests and emphasizes autonomy conducts group activities in moderation and in small, carefully managed groups values kindness, caring, empathy, good citizenship insists on orderly classrooms and hallways is organized into small, quiet classes chooses teachers who seem to understand the shy/serious/introverted/sensitive temperament focuses its academic/athletic/extracurricular activities on subjects that are particularly interesting to your child.

Location 4655: Strongly enforces an anti-bullying program emphasizes a tolerant, down-to-earth culture attracts like-minded peers, for example intellectual kids, or artistic or athletic ones, depending on your child's preference

Location 4658: Figure out which subjects energize him most, and let him run with them, either with outside tutors, or extra programming like science fairs or creative writing classes.

Location 4663: You can also help him practice speaking up. Let him know that it's OK to take his time to gather his thoughts before he speaks, even if it seems as if everyone else is jumping into the fray. At the same time, advise him that contributing earlier in a discussion is a lot easier than waiting until everyone else has talked and letting the tension build as he waits to take his turn.

Location 4666: Does he tend to ask thoughtful questions? Praise this quality, and teach him that good questions are often more useful than proposing answers.

Location 4675: Ask your child for information in a gentle, nonjudgmental way, with specific, clear questions. Instead of How was your day? try What did you do in math class today?

Location 4677: Try to avoid asking, in the overly bright voice of parents everywhere, Did you have fun in school today?! She'll sense how important it is that the answer be yes.

Location 4680: You may find that she'll open up only during cozy, relaxed moments, like bathtime or bedtime. If that's the case, make sure to build these situations into the day. And if she'll talk to others, like a trusted babysitter, aunt, or older sibling, but not to you, swallow your pride and enlist help.

Location 4685: Many introverted kids grow up to have excellent social skills, although they tend to join groups in their own ways waiting a while before they plunge in, or participating only for short periods. That's OK. Your child needs to acquire social skills and make friends, not turn into the most gregarious student in school.

Location 4693: Researchers have found that intense engagement in and commitment to an activity is a proven route to happiness and well-being. Well-developed talents and interests can be a great source of confidence for your child, no matter how different he might feel from his peers.

But let your child take the lead in picking the activities he likes best.

Location 4715: If your child is prone to overstimulation, then it's also a good idea for her to pick activities like art or long-distance running, that depend less on performing under pressure. If she's drawn to activities that require performance, though, you can help her thrive.

Location 4727: If you're the parent of a would-be figure skater, help her to accept that she has heavy-duty jitters without giving her the idea that they're fatal to success. What she's most afraid of is failing publicly. She needs to desensitize herself to this fear by getting used to competing, and even to failing. Encourage her to enter low-stakes competitions far away from home, where she feels anonymous and no one will know if she falls. Make sure she has rehearsed thoroughly. If she's planning to compete on an unfamiliar rink, try to have her practice there a few times first. Talk about what might go wrong and how to handle it: OK, so what if you do fall and come in last place, will life still go on? And help her visualize what it will feel like to perform her moves smoothly.

Location 4733: Unleashing a passion can transform a life, not just for the space of time that your child's in elementary or middle or high school, but way beyond.

Location 4758: The other thing that gave David strength was his parents. They focused less on developing his confidence than on making sure that he found ways to be productive.

Location 4768: And the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives. Unhappy people tend to see setbacks as contaminants that ruined an otherwise good thing (I was never the same again after my wife left me), while generative adults see them as blessings in disguise (The divorce was the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but I'm so much happier with my new wife).

Conclusion: Wonderland

Location 4781: Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again. - Anaas Nin

Location 4785: Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.

Location 4786: Cherish your nearest and dearest. Work with colleagues you like and respect. Scan new acquaintances for those who might fall into the former categories or whose company you enjoy for its own sake. And don't worry about socializing with everyone else. Relationships make everyone happier, introverts included, but think quality over quantity.

Location 4789: The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting.

Location 4795: Here's a rule of thumb for networking events: one new honest-to-goodness relationship is worth ten fistfuls of business cards.

Location 4797:
Respect your loved ones' need for socializing and your own for solitude (and vice versa if you're an extrovert).

Location 4803: Take pride in the strength of their consciences and the loyalty of their friendships. Don't expect them to follow the gang. Encourage them to follow their passions instead.

Location 4805:
If you're a teacher, enjoy your gregarious and participatory students. But don't forget to cultivate the shy, the gentle, the autonomous, the ones with single-minded enthusiasms for chemistry sets or parrot taxonomy or nineteenth-century art.

Location 4812: If it's creativity you're after, ask your employees to solve problems alone before sharing their ideas.

Location 4816: Don't mistake assertiveness or eloquence for good ideas.