Book Review: Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

After reading the last book on introversion which was a real disappointment, I ordered this book Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, which I enjoyed Immensely.

This book is written by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, PhD. and is a very enlightening book, not nearly as strident as quiet about the extroverts. It is actually surprising according to research by the developers of the Myers and Briggs personality test, that introverts may actually be slightly in the advantage. It may well be that over the last years the stigma associated with being an introvert is starting to lift. Being an introvert might be cool. In some ways there may be more introverts who are very social who you wouldn’t think are. Of course there are also the Shadow Dwellers, who can seem more asocial or people such as the goth teens, who may have been victims of abuse, which are she shadow in Jungian terminology. These people can also include your geek types.

She also refutes what people may mistake about introverts: We are not antisocial, but some may be asocial. The difference is substantial. A person who has an antisocial personality disorder is a person with real problems that don’t have positive outcomes. A person who is asocial may just not enjoy interacting with people much. Extroverts may think we are snobs, but is not nearly the truth, perhaps it’s just an incorrect interpretation.

For those who are not aware of Carl Jung’s Personality theory, the positive potential in introversion has been found in his work. Jung would suggest that we all have both introvert and extrovert aspects of our personality, how much of each is what matters. She suggests that being able to accept the opposite and try to use some of it is a good thing. Yes we need time alone to recover, and you don’t need to love parties, but putting yourself out there a little more can be to your advantage. The shadow in Jung’s work is the dark side that we don’t show in our personality, with the caveat that what we don’t accept and embrace may come out in a odd way.  an example of the shadow is you may have a person who seems kind, but turns out to be abusive.

She suggests our real power is in what’s inside us, in our inner world.  the majority of the book is focused on us, our strengths, and how to have a good life.

 

Loneliness/Isolation

I love to listen to my podcasts on the way to work. I love science oriented ones and I have found a lot at abc.net.au. It’s surprising the US doesn’t have anything like this of this quality. Well I was listening to a show All In the Mind I have mentioned earlier and there was this discussion about chronic loneliness and isolation.

The Show was based in Emily White’s book Lonely: A memoir. You can also read more on their blog. It was an interesting thought provoking show about this problem, which raised issues for instance stigma against people struggling with chronic loneliness, the assumption that if you are lonely than you are unattractive, you caused your problem, etc. which can be totally false. Raising this as an issue can set one up for ridicule. It also raised real health risks for people who struggle with this, including overall health, immune function, anxiety, sleep, heart health and other complications. It was interesting the familial link that had been found. If you have a parent who has been chronically lonely, than it may be a problem for the children as well, and as many as 15% of the population may deal with these issues.

This has been a challenge for myself at times, during times in high school, early in my adult life and during a 2-1/2 year unemployment period after 9/11 I was really struggling with this problem. Yes I got out and later when I was unemployed, I had places to go to be around people, but it’s really hard when it goes on for a long time. I am a moderate introvert and at times shy, though also quite bold. Sometimes it has been hard to go out and meet people new.

I think for gifted people this can become a problem, simply because of the decreasing number of people you can truly relate to drops substantially, simply from a statistical analysis. Considering the bell curve and the number of people left at the edges, simply being gifted brings you to 2% of the population, and as intelligence goes up, the number of people decrease, and then the specific sub-groups and where you happen to live enters into it. For instance living in a small town like I did can be a real problem.

I Plan to review this book next week, please check back next week.

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Stories–Small N Examples

Quantitative researchers will refer to small examples as annecdotal evidence, which often won’t hold up in quantitative research. In Qualitative research, which focuses on depth, individual experience, does not dismiss small N examples and see them as starting points for research, or look at them for deeper kinds of information than normally is tracked in Quantitative research. One might see from a Qualitative a possible pilot study that might explore an exception to the rull than may influence other research.

Research is pointing to more environmental influences, particularly shared environment variables which could argue against theories that substantial influences on intelligence are genetic. In my own family and my partner’s large extended family I see examples that show cases that break the rule.

My Family

My parents were gifted (both deceased), and all of my siblings. My mother was very accomplished and received an Ed.D in the ’70s in education. Her interest was in disabilities. She served on the State Board of Education. She devoured books. My father was an actor, writer, newspaper publisher and politician in New Hampshire politics involved in rather esoteric theories about land value taxation. My grandfather a sailor, detective working in early fingerprinting and photography, when these tools were very new in criminology. My mother however had problems with alcohol and never healed wounds from her childhood and didn’t know what to do with gifted children.

The picture at left is me at age 1, already very precocious. We lived in a very unstimulating factory town. If it were our school or neighbors, I can’t see how it would have influenced us. In many ways our parents were very limited and I think we became who we are in spite of them. they were challenging and I am sure this had an influence. I have to think genetics was the source of our intelligence. My brother’s children are gifted. His first son, devoured books when a small child. He has had to deal with Asberger’s, though a “chip off the old block,” interested in studying biochemical engineering. He is entering his first year of college.

My Partner’s Family

My partner was Mexican-American born in East-L.A. the youngest of ten. Though his father had only a seventh grade education, he read Shakespeare. The children were very accomplished.  My partner is a playwright and supporter of animal causes, and a real fascination with classic literature. The real story surfaces in his oldest sister’s children and their children. His sister who is disabled had two daughters J and L, both intelligent and have spent most of their time with their children, though I am sure they could do much more. Jennifer’s first son with a different man, than the rest is in the GATE Gifted programs in his local school. He is in advanced classes, and now has to chose a college. He hopes to be an anesthesiologist. The next two children of J are very average, and came from a different father. Later another child was born. From when she was an infant, it was clear she is gifted, seeing her at one and one-half, she seems like three. She has had a tremendous curiosity, taking apart everything in the house. Their father is unemployed and has substance issues. If there isn’t a genetic factor going on, it is hard to say how she surfaced, her oldest brother is also gifted. Her cousin, L’s daughter has the most infectious laugh and smile, she is very  bright and it is clear she is very smart.