Never underestimate the quiet ones.
Mahatma Gandhi has often been quoted saying, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
Look at this Latin phrase:
“Quod flumen placidum est, forsan latet altius unda.”
It means something along the lines of: “Who is silent, melancholic, or shun, perchance the quiet rivers run deep.”
It is taken from The Distichs of Dionysius Cato, an unknown author from the 3rd or 4th century AD.
You could compare it to the English proverb “Still waters run deep.”
Parents of a ‘quiet’ child are often worried, is he or she sad or are there psychological problems? Why is my child not participating in social activities, like other children?
If psychological challenges, bullying and other possible problems have been accounted for, these concerned moms and dads are left with a child that just seems to be quiet, often living inside his or her own mind.
Still they want to change him or her, hoping that the child will eventually be like ‘the others’.
If you are such a parent, please DON’T.
Quiet people just have different wiring than what we could call ‘noisy people’. As a result, their friendships are intenser and longer lasting, they, on average, tend to be smarter, can achieve great things due to spending so much time in their ‘inner worlds’ and often try to use those talents to change the world, rather than solely seeking personal gain. The few, but loyal friends they have often experience them as being empathic and they can enjoy meaningful conversations based on mutual respect.
It is true that they are challenged by being sensitive to stress, and big crowds; and that they’d rather spend time alone than indulge in chitchat, but when they take their alone time they are quietly helping to change the world for the better.
Look at this list of some famous “quiet achievers”:
Michael Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harrison Ford, Bill Gates, David Letterman, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Van Gogh, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Christina Aguilera, Eleanor Roosevelt, Courteney Cox, Albert Einstein, Emma Watson, Mahatma Gandhi, Laura Bush, Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn, Warren Buffett, Roy Rogers, Candice Bergen, George Stephanopoulos.
If you want to learn more about the powers of introverts, a good read is the NY Times bestseller “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, by author Susan Cain, in which she, an introvert herself, explores the myths and truths of introversion and extroversion.