My fellow book lovers, does any of the following sound familiar?
“You need to participate more in class.”
“You’re too quiet. Speak up!”
“Get out more! Socialize! Stop being such a hermit.”
“What do you mean you’re leaving early? The fun is just beginning!”
If you’ve heard these phrases countless times, most likely you are an introvert, as am I. And so is Michaela Chung, introvert coach, writer, entrepreneur and now the author of The Irresistible Introvert: Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World.
The Irresistible Introvert is a mix of memoir, manifesto and self-help that combines Chung’s personal struggles with introversion, celebrates the unique traits of introversion and finally, offers sound advice on how to navigate both the professional and personal realm as introvert in a society that favors extroverts.
There is a myth that introverts aren’t as cool or as interesting as extroverts. Chung blows this myth out of the water by relaying her story of selling her belongings so she could travel the world. I’d love to sit down with her and listen to her globe-trotting adventures. Furthermore, we could bond over our love of dancing, salsa dancing for her, belly dancing for me.
But Chung also shares a lot of the pain and confusion she dealt with as an introvert. She often felt out of sorts with her most extroverted peers. Teachers would admonish her with the ideas that introverts are withdrawn, anti-social and depressed. At times, she felt over-whelmed and over-stimulated by the outside world, which she thought made her deeply flawed.
While reading these passages, I couldn’t help but nod my head in introverted alliance with Chung. Like, her I thought I was horribly flawed because of my introverted nature. It’s only in the past few years, I’ve been able to feel comfortable with being an introvert, and even celebrate it a bit in my quiet and discreet manner.
Throughout the Irresistible Introvert Chung discusses things that affect many introverts such as clutter, noise and being overwhelmed on making certain decisions. I know for myself, I am often overwhelmed by huge parties, crowds (I avoid Black Friday because of this), obnoxious speaking voices, and open office spaces hinder my ability to produce and work productively. Introverts need to be aware of these issues, and using the ebb and flow of our introverted energy to cope with these things as we face them. Fortunately, there are practical tips in Chung’s book that helps us do just that. And these tips also reminded me of some things I do personally when I feel over-whelmed like deep breathing and meditation, exercise and escaping into my favorite solo activities after a rather busy, challenging day like baking, reading or crafting.
Now what about being an Irresistible Introvert? How do we go about doing that? Well, one way is just by accepting our introversion, and cherishing and celebrating those introverted traits that make us interesting, lovable and charming. Let’s face it; despite introversion being a bit more understood that it was as little as five years ago, extroversion is still considered ideal. We live in world where so many people are clamoring for attention whether it be through social media, reality TV or by never shutting up, talking about topics that are totally TMI on a multitude of topics-sex, families, work, money and political persuasions.
It’s all so maddening and obnoxious. And perhaps this is where being an introvert is a plus, not a minus. Let’s harness our more quiet, thoughtful and mysterious qualities and softly shine them into the world. It just might be a very welcome reprieve.
Throughout Chung gives practical advice that help introverts navigate the world both professionally and personally. She has down-to-earth advice on shedding the mask of introversion, using one’s energy to achieve positive engagements, the best communication skills for introverts, establishing intimacy comfortable for introverts and a lot more. This practical advice includes both verbal and non-verbal communication.
The Irresistible Introvert is written in a down-to-earth and charming manner. Not quite as thorough as Susan Cain’s iconic book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Chung’s book is still a worthwhile read for both introverts and the extroverts who love them.