Hey! I am giving a speech in my public speaking class on Thursday, and I just finished writing it. Here is the rough draft:

My life is full of monumental experiences. I could tell you about my mission trips to China or Mexico, moving to a new town, or the transition from homeschool to public school. I could talk about the many inspirational people in my life, such as my Dad, cousin, youth minister, or professor. But I believe my most influential experience is not a person or place at all. It is an object. 

The book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” by Susan Cain, shaped my life immeasurably. For eighteen years leading up to the discovery of this book, I felt as though something was wrong with me. Why did I prefer reading by the fire on a Friday night to partying? Why do group settings intimidate me so much I often become silent? Why was NSO so terribly difficult for me? I found my answers in “Quiet.” 

Susan Cain masterfully describes the differences between introverts and extroverts. Many people misconceive the definitions of these two types of people. They think introverts are skinny, pale misanthropes who hide out in their rooms instead of functioning in society. Many believe extroverts are the ideal, charismatic, bubbly, and vivacious people-lovers. These definitions couldn’t be more wrong.

Introversion simply means you recharge by being alone, while extroversion means you recharge by being with people. The key word here is recharge. Introverts love interacting with people and building deep relationships, but they also need time on their own to recuperate and restore energy. 

So why am I telling you this? This book changed my self-perception. I began to understand my innate character and why I behave the way I do. For example, I struggle with guilt on a daily basis. Cain explains that introverts are more prone to guilt because they are more sensitive to people’s feelings. She also gave practical advice on how to ease these feelings. 

Let me tell you a story of a moment in my life where this knowledge would have come in handy. It is my first day at Pepperdine. NSO is off to a running start, and my schedule has me running from one session to another. It is finally night time, and I am ready to turn in, when I look down at my schedule and read the words “Dance Party.” I am immediately filled with dread. Here I am trying to impress my class mates, and the sight of me dancing will undoubtedly ruin it all! I do not enjoy or excel at dancing, and if I was true to myself, I would have gone back to my dorm that night. But those guilty feelings crept in, and I went to the dance party. 

Hot and stifling, the caf is filled to the brim with students. There are NSO workers clad in Safari gear high fiving me and slapping me on the back. Music blares over the loud speaker, and I jump up and down with the crowd. Inwardly I am screaming, while outwardly I do an awkward robot dance move. 

Why am I telling you this cringe worthy tale? If I had read this book then, I would have understood that putting myself in this situation was not necessary, and not conducive to making true friends. Since I read “Quiet”, I have freed myself to enjoy guilt-free nights by the fire and one on one coffee dates.

“Quiet” has affected the most important faucet of my life: my faith. Just because I do not love Jesus out loud all the time, doesn’t mean I don’t love him. Psalm 139 verse 13 affirms this statement, saying, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” 

I encourage you to let your true self affect everything you do. Introversion is not a hinderance, it is a blessing. Some of the most creative and influential people were introverts. Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Steve Wasniak, Dr. Seuss, and more. “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” was a turning point in my life because, in the words of Cain herself, it gave me the power to, “Speak Softly.”


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