The loud people get heard more, but might this be changing?
He’s the center of attention. The one who can say something with the kind of wit that I wouldn’t have even thought about saying until hours or even days later. Everyone around him seems to be laughing. Sure, the edges of conversation are melting like a Salvador Dali clock over into monologue but nobody seems to care. His ideas get heard; his stories talked about even when he’s not around. Call it personality or flamboyance – whatever it is I’ve always disliked it. Disliked it because I secretly admired it.
Admired it because I wished I had that quality, that it factor, that ability to basically freestyle total bull but have it appear like total wisdom. I admired it because I’ve watched people with that trait advance up corporate ladders or take leadership roles well beyond where their actual performance or thoughts should have taken them. I’ve watched them leapfrog those more deserving, those quieter ones who would have done a far better job.
There are myriad positive qualities to having this kind of personality, no doubt. Some of our greatest orators and leaders have had it. But so too have some of our worst. Now, with books like Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, there’s seems to be a pivot taking place. Those who speak less are gaining more appreciation and maybe, just maybe, we’re creating a world more balanced.
The RSA is a charity based in London that encourages the development of “a principled, prosperous society and the release of human potential.” They put together what they call an “RSA Short” titled “The Power of Quiet.” It takes a few ideas from Cain’s work and puts them to sketch. Check it out:
–Photo: Gerry Balding/Flickr