March 31, 2012

Understanding The Quiet

Quiet: You don't say anything.
Shy: There is a 'self-barrier' that stops you from saying, acting or doing something.
Introvert: You like the quiet. You like being quiet. The crowd drains your energy. 
Extrovert: You are loud. You get energy from a crowd. No problem speaking up. 

The Malaysian expression "Eeee.... tak tahu malu ke?" or the heavy invisible weight of a community -not wanting to be outside of a group that belongs. Sometimes I hear people say, malas nak cakap. Malas nak terlibat dalam pergaduhan. Lebih baik berdiam diri je kalau takleh nak membantu. 

I can't understand those reasons, only because I find it easier to participate and engage, rather than leave. Commonly, personality tests will say I am an extrovert. I keep telling people I'm shy, tapi takde yang nak percaya. 

Introvert or extrovert, quiet or loud, nothing is better or worst- it's just different. 

There are only a handful of people in our PERMAI community who you can properly label as extroverts, loud and  attention-craving. In a crowd of friends- there is always this person who becomes the 'energy' of the group. The loud guy who will always make a laugh somehow. 

Even in such an 'open' and very 'so-called democratic' organization that we have- you can count how many would really be willing to be in the spot light, to be opinionated or criticizing even for free. The same people would stand up and speak, the same people would write and comment on facebook, and we sometimes listen to the same opinions over and over again. 

Why won't people speak up? 

To make myself clear, I have nothing against people who like to be quiet. In my experience, I have seen our leaders- are not all 'loud'. A lot of good leaders are introverts in our community, they might not be the most aggressive when it comes to debates, but they can settle disputes and have rich and positive plans for us. A lot of people who volunteer and work in our organization- don't talk too much, but they get the job done. They get it done, perfectly. 

People who are introverts, sometimes are better at listening to ideas, more composed and careful, and are more creative and sometimes smarter too (ask those on the dean list every year). Memang respek. 

No one can deny, sometimes, the quiet have more to give. 

Managing the Orator Club, and being very vocal myself,  it took me a few months to be at peace... and simply respect the quiet and listen to the silence. 

There is a difference with being SHY and 'being quiet'. If you want to say something, but just can't, over some inner fear- you are most probably shy (that bad shy). If you just don't want to engage in large group discussions (like open talk), and rather, out of choice, listen, than you are being quiet. That is why, I tell people to speak up and stop being shy unnecessarily, I don't tell people to be loud. 

Facebook and technology has helped a lot of people who are uncomfortable speaking in front of others, or who just like to be quiet in a crowd-- to be heard. Come on, you have to have met that one guy or girl, who on the outside might be quiet and minding his or her own business, but their blogs are hits and they have 'top liked statuses' on facebook nearly all the time. 

Quiet people do have opinions and ideas. 

I still think we need a lot of people with great ideas to come forward and share them. Though I respect your quietness- I don't need you to be me, to be loud- I just want you to share. More than once, I have heard great ideas out of people who so rarely said anything. Most artists are quiet and introverts. Bill Gates, was an introvert- look at him now. A saying goes: There is zero correlation between who talks better and who has the best ideas

Just because you know how to talk, doesn't mean you have great ideas. And vice versa. 
It's like the loud should listen more, the quiet should talk more. And everyone should respect more. 

Not everyone can or should be loud and debatable. Not everyone should be forced to speak in front of hundreds and hundreds of people. But in a society that celebrates and embraces the 'quiet, yet hard working and knowledgeable person', I really hope that is who you really are. 

Be quiet and silent, and be productive and useful. Be this balance to an extrovert (though sometimes I think I am introvert?) like me, tell me what's wrong and right, let us balance each other. And sometimes, I think loud people need to be quiet know, spend some time to think and get some perspective. 

Don't be quiet and silent, because you have nothing to give. 

There has been this saying that is circulated around facebook, "Better be silent, if you have nothing good to say." Berkata baik atau diam. 

I think it's a good saying, I just wondered...Why do we have nothing good to say? 

p/s I used the terms introverts and extroverts loosely, to describe in general loud and quiet people. Not hundred percent accurate. And people can change, just so you know. 

Probably some interesting additional reading: 

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