My friend and colleague Jennifer Kahnweiler just released her second book on introverts. Whether we’re introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between, we can all benefit from the creativity unleashed through quiet time.
This excerpt is taken from Chapter 4 of “Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference” by Jennifer Kahnweiler, PhD. Copyright © 2013. Used by permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Taking Quiet Time and Influence
Taking Quiet Time contributes to your ability to influence others because it unleashes your most creative thoughts, sustains your energy, increases your understanding of yourself and others, and helps you maintain focus.
1. Unleash Creativity
When you prioritize quiet time, you increase your ability to tap into your knowledge, skills, and experience in order to solve problems and develop ideas. Influencers, by definition, promote new ways of thinking. Quiet time allows these innovative ideas to percolate and then emerge from your mind. Your right brain, the side that is more unstructured, experimental, creative, visionary, and less orderly, has a chance to work to a fuller capacity when you are in a relaxed state. The ideas that set you apart as an influencer—the ones that cause people to stop and listen—are nurtured in these moments of solitude.
In fact, new research reveals that the best ideas emerge from solitude. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, writes that solitude is actually a catalyst to innovation because it has long been associated with creativity and transcendence. She mentions that creative geniuses such as Steve Wozniak, builder of the first PC, naturalist Charles Darwin, and author Madeleine L’Engle all cultivated their dreams during quiet time.
Science journalist Sharon Begley would agree. Writing in Newsweek, she noted, “Creative decisions are more likely to bubble up from a brain that applies unconscious thought to a problem, rather than going at it in a full-frontal, analytical assault. So although we’re likely to think creative thoughts in the shower, it’s much harder if we’re under a virtual deluge of data.”
Quiet Influencers report seeing this phenomenon in action. Former salesperson and now executive coach Vinay Kumar explains how quiet time contributes to his version of creativity: “Most of my writings emerge from someplace deep within during moments when I am jogging, hiking, et cetera. . . . Those are the times my subconscious mind seems to be most active.”
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., is an international speaker and executive coach whose clients include General Electric Co., AT&T Inc., the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NASA. Her first book, “The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength” (Berrett-Koehler, June 2009), has sold more than 20,000 copies and has been translated into multiple languages. Her latest book, “Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference” (Berrett-Koehler, April 2013), shows how introverts can harness their innate tendencies to make a real difference. For more information, visit www.jenniferkahnweiler.com.
My favorite times of quiet are in nature–walking along the beach, playing with my dogs and hiking. Where do you find your quiet time? Share your wisdom below.