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I recently read The Power of Quiet by Susan Cain and took so many great insights away from it. Without giving too much away, this book truly changed the way I view introversion. And while our society may value the “surface-level” attributes of extroversion, Quiet dives deep into what introversion really is, and how it can be a quietly powerful quality. The book also gave me a great deal of perspective on the things I already do—as both an introvert and a creative professional—that help me thrive.
In Quiet, Susan Cain puts the myth of the shy, socially stunted introvert to rest. Instead, she highlights how introverts are really just people who need quiet and solitude to recharge. This time apart allows them to be more productive, more insightful, and more engaged in work, at home, and with themselves. With a definition like that, it’s easy to see why most creatives identify as introverts, even if they’re what society would consider to be outgoing or social.
I believe this is because the creative mind is best ignited in solitude. I think the people who are comfortable being in solitude are the ones who are more mindful of their vision, who can generate more ideas, and who can see how they want to proceed in their work or life. As a bonus, they’re also likely to be more successful in business.
Introverts, by nature, are also keen observers. Creative entrepreneurs are inspired by what they see, which is only possible when they aren’t afraid to sit quietly, or sit alone. It’s an admirable quality to be able to sit in silence. The act itself results in creative thinking, which lends itself to creative practice, and can also strengthen an entrepreneur’s overall vision.
But it does take work, especially in our digital and hyper-connected world.
Getting quiet, or embracing your inner introvert, does involve an elimination of distraction and a commitment to being alone with our thoughts. I was listening to a TEDx Talk on “The Power of Solitude” recently and one point stuck with me: “In silence, we’re able to find the answers.” I feel like, as creative entrepreneurs, whether we identify as introverts or not, we can learn to embrace this power of quiet to get answers for most of what we experience.
But because we tend to operate in a state of distraction most of the time, it’s difficult to let those answers come to the surface and to identify what we’re feeling deep down. For most of us, we’re simply trying to get through the day, but our own desires get suppressed when we don’t give them time to speak up. This can cause turmoil for a lot of people, especially creatives and introverts who thrive on new ideas and exploration.
I also believe this is why many of us feel discontent; because we’re so connected and so “busy” that we’re not taking the time to really think about what we want. There’s no denying that it’s exhausting to be hyper-connected and constantly distracted, which is why I think it’s so important to build time into your schedule to get quiet. Whether you identify as an introvert or not, the truth is that quiet is something we all need.
Creative entrepreneurs know the struggle; you hustle to build your business and you’re doing the work, but you don’t have time to sit down and think about all the ideas you have in your head. Instead, those thoughts continue to swirl just beneath the surface while you’re simply trying to keep your head above water.
Our thoughts are always there, but until we take these moments of quiet, we won’t hear what they have to saying. Those moments of truth, for me, come when I’m not rushing through my day or connected to my devices. I feel most tapped into who I am at my core when I take time to get quiet.
If you’re ready to see how getting quiet can benefit your creativity, business, or life as a whole, I recommend giving yourself time to reflect on a regular basis. Whether you block off a specific day each week or you plan a monthly “quiet day,” it’s up to you.
For me, I’ve found that I’m able to get quiet with:
• A simple morning walk
• Hiking alone or with friends
• Restorative yoga
• Time spent away from screens
You can try these on for size, or create your own “quiet time” based on what works best for you. Getting quiet, and scheduling time for yourself, is one of the best things you can do for your mental health, your business, your creativity, and your relationships with others. If you’re interested in learning more about introverts or how getting quiet can help, I’d also highly recommend reading The Power of Quiet. It’s one of my favorite books of the past few years.
I’d also love to hear if a particular activity works for you, or what you’re doing to get quiet in the comments below!