Susan Cain “The Power of Introverts”

The TED video is here. It is interesting that introversion tends to cultivate leadership and creativity. In a commercialized society like Hong Kong, extroversion is highly valued and (I think) overstated. It is very frustrating to know that my Hong Kong peers rarely do real reading. By “real reading” I mean reading that inspires contemplation and enriches one’s knowledge of how this world works.

Spiritual leaders tend to be introverts, maybe because they spend more time contemplating about their lives and discover deeper truth in life. They are more convincing because they have faith and persistence in their careers. I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Art of Power, and was amazed by his deep thinking over life and inner strength. He was able to tap into the very core power in our lives and suggest a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow way to use it artfully. He lives a very simple life in a small temple though.

I’m not saying that we don’t need any communication or cooperation. But there’s a growing trend of an overemphasis in “team work”. Susan mentioned in her speech “madness of constant group work”. This is exactly what I have been through in my university. Admittedly, it does benefit me — it teaches me how to deal with difficult people and how to mitigate conflicts within a team. But we also need some space for contemplation in our lives. I object to economic courses adopting too many group presentations. The presentation method is essentially more suitable for the business context. By definition, it focuses more on how ideas are presented instead of how reasonable and deep the thinking behind is.

Of course, education should not be the only way for us to develop our thoughts. Insight can be nurtured from reading, thinking, communicating, and writing.


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