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The power of introverts | Susan Cain

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http://www.ted.com In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate If you have questions or comments about this or other TED videos, please go to http://support.ted.com
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Text Comments (11359)
Laurel Iloani (4 hours ago)
An introvert will always find extrovert annoying. I do think they're annoying.
jyoti kamble (6 hours ago)
Loved it. Thank you Susan. I cried because whole of my life I felt like I am unaccepted because I am an introvert person. I was seen as wrong. Since my childhood I went through a guilt that I am not like others. This is so unjust. Thanks again Susan. Now i know what to do.
Dimitri Doroshko (10 hours ago)
Why bring up religion?
Meb Yeah (14 hours ago)
This was great, people need to understand the vision of an introvert and love them just in the way they are
I'm an introvert and many times my quiet nature was misinterpreted as me being emo, or have depression. I just like solitude, I prefer it to being in a loud and crowded party, or being wild with friends. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hanging out with friends but sometimes I need time on my own.
I'm unique (1 day ago)
I'm an introvert who have no friends and I feel like it's okay with me..Is this a problem? NO..
G-Money 123445 (2 days ago)
I’ll never get introverts. Like how do you go throughout a day without talking to anyone and have fun with it? Frickin weird.
don't get decived (2 days ago)
We don't
Introverted females are pretty hard to come by.
small footprint (2 days ago)
I spent my whole life trying to be something I'm not, because I thought it was expected of me. I'm better because of revelations spoken by people like this speaker. It helps. I just started a book called, "Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," by Susan Cain. I'm able to read a book like this now, because I'm not ashamed of being who I am. I always tried to read books about getting it together, and being a mover and shaker. It didn't change me and, I made a lot of mistakes in life trying to be gregarious.
Tommy (3 days ago)
Catqueen 2107 (3 days ago)
I am not an introvert or an extrovert I like my friends and I like my own time too. I'm an ambivert
Butterfingers 14 (3 days ago)
The hardest part is when I can't go out, usually when I've been going out for several days in a row, and someone invites me to something, but I'm too physically/mentally drained to go out again... And then they don't understand and think you just don't want to be with them. 🙁
Dette Gaspar (4 days ago)
This gets me soooo much.
Chí Trung Dương (4 days ago)
I live in a crazy world where my classmate are extroverts, my family are extroverts and I really mad at it. My mom believe introvert are useless and they should die. Just like black people are equal to white people, introverts are equal to extroverts.
Christian Ashley (6 days ago)
I am an introvert and this speaks to me however my main concern is does she look and sound like pheobe from friends to anyone else?
Basement Dweller (6 days ago)
extroverts are both unintelligent and morally bankrupt.
MsMelody (6 days ago)
That last part... :) Thank you, Susan, for saying it out loud 'Softly'. It felt like, there is someone who understands.
Javier Gonzalez (7 days ago)
This world is and will always feel 1,000 times more difficult for the introvert. I'm an introvert; and I'm telling you now, it's difficult. Every day is a challenge of sorts, especially with so much noise and social mingling nonsense going around (just ask Ellen about that). Our ideas and personalities are often shunned just because we are the "quiet" types. It's unfair, really.
Hannah Berkheimer (8 days ago)
Honestly, you don't need to be an introvert to think that constant group chatter and teamwork is annoying. Earlier this year, we had to do a write stories, and we were supposed to talk about them. I myself am not an introvert (I'm an ambivert so not quite an extrovert), but I still felt like really. You want me to talk all about this story that is very personal to me and I don't want to read it or explain the plot line until I'm done. But noooo, we have to critique it, and you should be happy and sharing. Same happens in math class. If I'm confused about a subject, I will ask someone to explain the formula, but I don't want the answer. I want to be able to do this on my own, I just need a review. Then when we have to do assignments in math as partners, I can't because I have to go off and do it on my own. I have a set method. I do like group projects though, sometimes. Like in history or science or even English. Those can be fun, and having a partner can lighten your load (unless your partner is a slacker and everyone finds those people annoying, it's not an introvert or extrovert thing). I also do not agree with the long list of introverts basically complaining about extroverts be the worst, obnoxious, arrogant, egotistical. These people are just annoying and plenty of extroverts are good people, and the same could be said about introverts. Finally, I think things can be difficult for introverts, ambiverts, and extroverts. Introverts for reasons described in the video. Extroverts because they want to be social, but if they are in a situation with a lot of people who don't want to be social. And ambiverts because people don't get us. You'll be in one situation where you want to be extroverted, and then you'll be in a situation where you want to be introverted. Like, you were just being totally extroverted, why are you shy now. It's because this situation makes me uncofortable, and that one made me happy. Or because I like this person but this person makes me feel drained, or I felt social, but know I really need my alone time. Basically, you don't fit into the box of introverted or extroverted, but people put you in one of those boxes and that is where your personality is supposed to stay.
Hannah Berkheimer (8 days ago)
I can not believe I just posted that long train of thought, probably some of it was inaccurate, and I didn't proofread it, I'll also be surprised if anyone reads it. I'll probably take it down in a few days.
Sultan Akçakya (8 days ago)
İçe dönük olmanın çekingenlik olmadığını anladım. Sanırım hepte böyle kalacağım çünkü beni ben yapıyor. Thanks Susan Cain💖
uKnow (8 days ago)
Wasn't that suite case full of books very heavy for a child? Books are amazing for unwinding the mind.
Rajdeep Ghosh (9 days ago)
Actually it's opposite for me, whenever I spoke I lost it, whereas doing my job alone and maintaining a quite demeanor made me attractive to others
Depressed Pun (9 days ago)
This one time in 5th grade, I was pulled aside from the class by my teacher; and what she told me is making me angry. She practically discouraged me for being the introvert I am. She told me my "Behavior/socializing" or whatever grade would go down. And affect others things too for grades. Which sucks, and most of the time people would pity me for sitting by myself and reading a book during recess. They'd call me "lonely", "sad", or sometimes even "outcast". Which is horrible to hear because it's just how you are and others discourage get you for it. So yea, that's my horrible "Need To Be Extrovert" experience.
katanakhip (9 days ago)
Thank you for letting us see what's in your suitcase, Susan.
Dustin Houser (9 days ago)
She reminds me of Phoebe from friends
Yesika Narvaez (9 days ago)
People really underestimate those who don't like to socialize, I'm an introvert but I have my moments of powerful insight that most don't share. Books, and reading are better than sports 😌😑 also drawing IS an activity
Kommissar Antilus (9 days ago)
her nervous laughter is very telling about her introverision
Maria Rouces (9 days ago)
Wacky HAAA (10 days ago)
In my workplace, everyone is ignorant about the meaning of introvert and what kind of behavior introverts have. People assumingly thought I was kind of a killer or a person with a mental illness because I'm just quiet minding my own business, I'd rather be alone than to socialize with them when they are just conversing about non-sensible topics and particularly when they are judging people. I find it more productive to read a book rather than judge someone which doesn't gain me anything from doing so.
Tu Ngoc (10 days ago)
I'm an introvert, I want to be alone
Moria Mcclain (10 days ago)
It seems to be getting more and more popular for people to SAY that they're introverts when their behavior is anything but. I don't really get it, especially since there are people like me who consider their introversion a crutch when it comes to things like dating or going on social outings.
sumit kumar (10 days ago)
Γιοου Σκετο (10 days ago)
Why do l feel that being an introvert has become kind of a trend? I once told to one of my friends that she is very lucky that she is able to communicate with others so easily and she seemed insulted, like being an extrovert is a "bad" and embarrassing thing. Am I the only one?
Chwytasz (10 days ago)
Susan said it best in a seperate talk on the same subject: the introvert's situation is similar to what women endured in the 1950s: you are discriminated based on something that goes to the core of who you are.
marko pol (10 days ago)
I'm not going to prove myself to anyone As I am
Theresa Settle (11 days ago)
I wish i would have told myself when i was little that its ok to be different, that its ok not to care about group thinking.
Sahil Garg (11 days ago)
Susan Cain for President... Of introverts
Des Tan (11 days ago)
Read lots of comments here and watched her ted talk. I have one thing to say: being an introvert is different from being an anti-social, people-hating, over- individualistic person. Contrary to many comments here, introverts can still work well in groups and contribute effectively. We can have meaningful relationships with extroverts. We don't necessarily have to be too "quiet"; we need to voice out our opinions at appropriate times. Very importantly, we have to be aware of our own strengths and weaknesses. Being an introvert is no excuse for consistently being labelled as "too quiet" at the workplace or during class group projects; our opinions don't necessarily have to be overshadowed by "loud extroverts". Those who feel that way are usually lacking in certain social skills such as assertiveness, confidence and/or tact irregardless of their introversion. I like Cain's final point in her presentation, after speaking up for introverts all this time, the need for them to open up and let the world see their personalities for what they truly are. Although, it is a silly assumption that introverts are often people who don't open up. There are many social Introverts around.
Dirk Weag (11 days ago)
Wer hat denn die deutschen Kommentare zwangsuebersetzt? Ist 'ne deutsche YouTube-Seite :-)
モン・ブラン (12 days ago)
日本語訳を書いてくれる方に感謝します( ´∀` )v
Brown eyed girl (13 days ago)
Being an introvert is a nightmare. Run away and save yourselves! ! !
Daisy Debs (13 days ago)
Yes !!! Brilliant ! Thankyou ! :)
Bishes Basnet (13 days ago)
I once went to an introverts' conference. We ended up heading back home after an hour of complete silence in the conference hall.
frunches (13 days ago)
I think I am now an introvert. I wonder what happened in between.
Dane Bryant Frazier (13 days ago)
INTROVERTS UNITE!!!!! virtually and quietly
Dane Bryant Frazier (13 days ago)
Me online: "Hey how's everything going? Yeah I get that too. The piano is such a fantastic instrument and goes very well with a cello. Then again, it goes very well with a violin and/or a viola. Yeah I hear you. Bassoons are so underrated and it's tough there are so many people who don't know the sound a bassoon makes. Idk, always bothers me a bit." Me in person: **crickets**
Marc Frank (14 days ago)
i'm an introvert :)
Falxhor (14 days ago)
As with most things in life, nothing is black and white. People often mistake introverts for being shy and anti-social and sometimes even self-centered. Personally, I am usually "diagnosed" extravert by other people, personality tests etc., like >67% leaning towards extraversion. But it drains my energy. I get energy from being alone, doing my own thing, and self-reflecting. The energy part is as introvert as it gets for me, the behavior is the opposite though because as soon as I am around other people, I enjoy being more spontaneous, social and talkitive, but it's an energy investment for sure. My point is, intro/extraversion is a spectrum, and there's things you can't change, but there are also things you CAN change if you're willing to invest energy into it. It goes for extraverted people as well as far as I've been told, they often don't take a moment to sit and just reflect and enjoy the serenity of a sunday spent alone in the apartment doing hobbies, listening to music and whatnot, which can sometimes cause them to feel not grounded, which can be stressful. They're always engaging with others and they spend little attention to themselves. And it's again up to them to invest energy in that if they want to. Yes it's annoying when people expect you to change, change things that are hardwired. But just realize not everything is hardwired, and if you wish to change something e.g. improve social skills, you CAN. Don't let the introvert label stop you.
Amazing speech for a world where everyone is so desperate for social acceptance! I am sorry but I cannot help but mentioning how much I love Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. When I saw the cover, I gasped.
Dontgotaclue88 (16 days ago)
Loved this
E O (16 days ago)
I’m both shy and introvert. Most of the time, alternating between them, sometimes both at the same time. So, there you go.
John Robinson (16 days ago)
That group form of learning was tried in my physics class in high school...it was a complete failure. Nobody learned squat. Education-by-committee doesn't work unless the project REQUIRES a group (like a human pyramid in cheer-leading or something), and most do not. But, it makes it easier for the teacher because he/she can just sit back and watch rather than earn their pay.
John Robinson (16 days ago)
Notice that it is she, the introvert, who stands most closely to the audience and is unafraid of them. I have noticed this elsewhere: the more extroverted types stand further back or behind a desk or a podium. We introverts try to make a person-to-person connection and get right in the audience's face. Ironic.
Francesco Nastasi (16 days ago)
Congratulations for your speech. I'm an introvert too. Your words were so true and so moving
Enzo Seven (17 days ago)
Respect I really need to hear this every time because I've got a suitcase full of things to that I need to share I just dont know where to start #enzoseven
Twanted Vivianne (17 days ago)
its so true schools are a place for extroverts nowadays
Bryan Cicco (18 days ago)
https://www.facebook.com/thatdreadedacademic <!??@&(>*)///@///////
Jonathan Montez (18 days ago)
I could be wrong but doesn't anti social actually have nothing do with being introvert or keeping to yourself? And it is fact the opposite?
Maaz Safdar (18 days ago)
I'm an introvert I tried so hard to make friends but they all eventually don't take me as Their Friend they just think that I'm just a contact in their list I never had friends not real not fake none. & I don't understand why nobody want to befriend me
Zees M (18 days ago)
I came here again, will come again and again !
Drew M (19 days ago)
Standing Ovation, Nuff "said"
Joselino Lacerda (19 days ago)
So much comments, and millions of likes for the comments positively affected by the video. Why proportionally so few likes for the video?!
Angege :D (19 days ago)
Some people think I'm a snob for being quiet, it's frustrating. I don't want to be judged just for being an introvert. 😔
Rogier van den Berg (19 days ago)
My father and mother in law always told me i was too quiet. Lol, screw that.
Deng (20 days ago)
I found myself a very introverted person that I would tell lies just to escape from a certain events but I really love to listen to Martin Garrix music genre, I love the beats of drum and different sounds mixed together, I love to go to a Music festival seeing people enjoy the party. Kinda weird.
casual investor (21 days ago)
Proud introvert here
Huda Lhm (22 days ago)
Funny I just picked up her book to read when this video popped up.
HIGH (22 days ago)
Litterally watching this by myself while my whole family is having a Christmas party in the backyard
Shatter Shadow (24 days ago)
I absolutely hate the table groups in middle school. The teachers says do the work with your table, I just give up, make them do it together and then do the work myself. When she or he grades them and says that mine is different from my classmates I just smile to myself.
DoctorDejay (24 days ago)
Virky Vids (24 days ago)
Schools are so bad for favouring extroverts, I’m in school at the moment and teachers think that there’s something wrong or that you don’t get the work if you’re quiet. Teachers pick me all the time to answer questions and while they think that it’s giving me a chance to talk, I just feel uncomfortable and I often get the question wrong because I’m so worried about be asked in the first place.
NQRA (24 days ago)
When I was 9 and was supposed to give a presentation about frogs at school, I did everything I could to avoid it. I told my teacher that I don't have the notes with me and I skipped classes. It was terrifying to talk in front of the class. That's just one of my bad memories from school years.. People always asked me why I'm so quiet and I was the hard-working one in all the group projects. Introverts are easy targets so I was bullied as well. Reading was my favourite hobby. Now as I'm older, I've taught myself to step out of my comfort zone and learned how to seem like an extrovert. It makes life so much easier, even though I don't love it.
NQRA (1 day ago)
+akshay 1993 I don't fully understand your comment but maybe I wasn't clear with my words. I meant that I do see it as a skill that I'm working on very often, especially cause my job requires it, but still most of the time I'd prefer being alone/with someone close to me. 😊
akshay 1993 (1 day ago)
dear thank you for sharing your story.But i think u need you to first fully just accept yourself . Do not try to seem like an extrovert.Just try to see talking as a skill you want to get better at or muscle you want to be grow or like a craft.Just take one step at a time and try to learn this skill. Remove judgement or any sort of emotional attachment from this.Just see it as a skill.
Fobulous TV (26 days ago)
This is the third time I’ve listened to this talk and every time, EVERY TIME, I learned something new. Something new about myself, about what it means to be an introvert and about how to be better. It also warms my heart scrolling through the comments and knowing that there are so many people who can relate. Let’s all remind ourselves that there’s nothing wrong about being a perfect introvert and that the world actually needs people like us. Let that be our motivation to better ourselves and to actually help us open up more, just like now. Thank you Susan for sharing your story and thoughts, I’m sure I’ll come back to this again at some point ;)
Anna Taylor (27 days ago)
I love this talk so much I’m in Avid and everyone always says I need to talk more or I’m to quiet and weird cause I rather read then talk about the fight that happened at school, all my teachers think I’m just lazy when it comes to group project just because I always try to do it alone or in private, but this video is like an eye opener to everyone about introverts and you are soo lucky your family would read together all mine wanted to do is play basketball 😂😂😂
I had an idea the other day. Have a school aimed towards the introverts. Because the school I’m at feels like it’s aimed towards extroverts, as we’ve always had tables instead of desks and more group presentations and discussion. Today we had one of our more important presentations where there were people tens of years older than us cycling through, and I could tell my introvert friends wanted to hide in a corner and we’re getting sensory overload. In this school, you wouldn’t nesesarilly have to always talk to each other, but have more quiet time. Feel free to add your own ideas.
Nadia .S (27 days ago)
I was transported by this video and soothed by the amazing insights Susan explored along with the humor and balance she has provided to all of us who are introverts. I, too, loved quiet, books, thought, and growth of balance in my life .... from the age of 10, when I realized I was "different" ... to the present when I'm exhausted and drained by the constant exposure I have to a retail environment, where as a 65 year old woman ... I chose to take this floor manager job as my last job before retiring..... I was in for a number of challenges that I had not faced in my life. I realized, after counseling and reading about this agony and confusion I faced with customers everyday .... that I was more introverted than I had realized .... I had even compounded the situation by relocating to a primative farm where human noise was rare and I was surrounded by nature and it's unique sounds.... I had not experienced this before and was amazed at how wonderful it all is..... so my days are split between human "roar" and nature's "whispers".... I'm also diagnosed with OCD so I'm very detailed and fact oriented. I can appear funny, extroverted, and helpful to the customers I serve but I am becoming absolutely drained by the effort I have to make daily to deal with it all. This is an extraordinary simple and "spot-on" video made by an wise and insightful woman who helps us understand the big challenge of blending our minds, ideas and capabilities in the larger than life human world "out there". Thank you so much. The example of your grandfather brought tears. My grandfather was a thoughtul attorney in his life who championed social issues and defended those who were isolated from justice for them. I'm a person who has the same heart and thoughts. It's really all about loving each other and respecting what we "bring to the table".
Ayush Thada (27 days ago)
"Solitude matters, and for some people, it's the air they breathe ". It bought me here and I'm happy that I did.
Derick Asamani (28 days ago)
Get me someone who speaks linux, OSPF and SDN and i can talk all day long, otherwise it's me behind my computer all day long
Stephen Hunt (28 days ago)
On the outside I appear an extrovert, but in reality the real me I'm an introvert. pretty weird!
What a motivation I got
Legendarylord 11 (29 days ago)
I've noticed whenever I'm with my friends, I feel as if I'm an extrovert. But as soon as I'm in a class with none of my friends at all I strongly fall into the category of an introvert.
Azar Darabipour (6 days ago)
Totally true
TheSapphireGirl (8 days ago)
I think because of the fact that you're with friends, people you know and they know you, that you are "extroverted". Introverts are not anti-social people, we do socializing too, just not with random persons but with our own set of people. That's why you get to be you when with friends even though you are an introvert. I'm the same. I don't do well with small talk with strangers but I can chat anytime with close friends about anything.
Lydia Olamibo (29 days ago)
Problem introverts have with society.. Society : be who you are. Do whatever you think makes you happy. Introvert : sure. Society : no, not that way. Like this. It's only like this.
Malati Mondal (6 days ago)
Rizwan Syed (9 days ago)
Aarav Singh (30 days ago)
Only extroverts have problem with introverts. Fire all extroverted HR in company, they dont any introvert candidate.
Prince Hans (30 days ago)
I actually like opening up and speaking with other calm and silent people rather than loud and noisy once
Prince Hans (30 days ago)
People around me keep saying "you're not wise" or "you're not active which makes you stupid" just because I don't talk much like everyone else
Chris (30 days ago)
This was amazing! Bravo 👏
Da Memes (30 days ago)
I don't want to have friends.Am I an introvert? EDIT:kids at school say I'm rude and grumpy which kind of makes me angry.
Cal (1 month ago)
the quietest people have the loudest minds for sure
Monica Trejo (1 month ago)
I hated group projects
Thnks Susan. Great talk!
Gretchen Wooten (1 month ago)
It almost seems like she is resentful towards extroverts. This is fine, but she is basically telling us how much better introverts are than extroverts. Our society works by magority, meaning that if most of the population is right-handed and you are left-handed, everyone is not going to change because "left-handed people have slightly better handwriting," nor does it mean that left-handed people are better than right-handed. If 1/3 of the population is introverted, than we are more likely to accomadate most things for extroverts, right? Makes sense. So then why does she act like we are special little snowflakes that require the entire workplace to change to fit introverts' needs? Because we don't. All we need to do is have someone recognize our way of thinking and be open-minded about it, and not have it repressed. In my opinion, she gives us introverts a bad representation about who we are and what that means.
Katie Burken (1 month ago)
She's not saying everyone has to change for us. She's saying that they just need to let us be ourselves. If a group of extroverts wants to work in a group, that's fine. But they shouldn't force introverts to join them.
Ellé Victor (1 month ago)
I am a pure ambivert..... I have moments and qualities of both
Nova (1 month ago)
Will agree to do all 30-40 minutes of work So long as the other person is the one presenting it in front of everyone for 5 minutes
Shemariah Winters (1 month ago)
Why are all the comments just talking down to extroverts...
Chip (1 month ago)
I loved the book. I wish that the ambivert personality type had been explored more
Elise (1 month ago)
Brilliant! Thankyou. I feel less like “Be extroverted 🤪 or Go home🥺”. Introverts be chill 😎
DEVARMONT7 (1 month ago)
Her boots are sexy
rahul cc (1 month ago)
Is it just me ?, who can relate to her so much ❤️
tweetyspecial (1 month ago)
Being an ambivert is actually kinda tough. The flux of energy and stimulus is stressful

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