Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More on Quiet: GIVEAWAY

I once went to final rounds of an interview process where I was interviewed by 12 people. The law firm was filled with nice, outgoing people who were mostly bubbly and very friendly. That is not me when I meet people for the first time. When I first meet people, they usually think I am either really quiet or reserved, basically the Asian model minority stereotype. It's only when I get to know you that I become very loud and have the kind of interaction with you that embodies the extrovert ideal. At the lunch interview with three attorneys, they were shouting and teasing each other about their personal lives and I was thinking, "what is going on here? This is so unprofessional." I guess I couldn't hide the fact that I thought they were too out there for me so, bottom line, I didn't get the job. The feedback was that they wanted someone who was more of a "go-getter."

When I read Susan Cain's Quiet I felt like so many bells were being rung in my head, one after the other ding ding ding, with regards to that entire interview process. Just because a person doesn't vomit platitudes about how awesome the firm/job/interviewer is doesn't mean that person can't be one of the best people to ever work with you. If they aren't saying much and you are talking a lot, it might not be because they have nothing to say but because they are actively listening to and THINKING about what you are saying. It could also be because they are introverts who hate small talk. The book was really liberating for me because now I feel like I don't have to pretend to be someone that I'm not or get upset if someone rejects me based on their perception that the extrovert ideal is the formula for success.

That isn't to say that I'm all introvert. I would say that according to the book, I'm pretty much split down the middle. Extroverts have vivid dreams--mine are so real that I think they actually happened and I get deja vu all the time. Extroverts have a lot of friends and get energy from large gatherings--I get disappointed if I don't have some sort of party every weekend. Extroverts are motivated by negative reinforcement, like "you can do better, don't quit now or you're a loser." Once during a three mile run, I [figuratively] punched Stewart in the face (according to him) when I told him to shut up because he was saying, "good job, you can do it." That's just not how I'm motivated. My sister told me that I was going to fail the California bar exam because I was no longer young and I had not studied for a long time. Now that was something that was going to make me do every single bar review assignment and spend every second I could doing more multi-state review problems!

I learned so much about myself and those around me from reading Quiet that I am going to put my money where my mouth is by hosting my own giveaway of this book. It just came out this past Tuesday so it's finally available for purchase. I will have it shipped directly from Amazon to the winner.

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  Contest period runs from Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 10:00 PM (Pacific) until Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM (Pacific). Enter by leaving a comment on whether you are an extrovert or introvert, and leave your e-mail address OR sign in to comments using your Blogger ID, making sure your Blogger profile is public and includes your e-mail address.

Bonus Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry, it counts if you've done any of these so leave a comment for each one)
1) Follow me on Twitter
2) Tweet this contest and leave the tweet url (once per day)

If you don't leave a qualifying comment and your e-mail address or public Blogger profile, your entry will be disqualified. I reserve the right to extend the contest period. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize to randomly choose the winner. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will go to the next place winner as decided by This contest is open for US Residents onlyGood luck!

Join From Left to Write on January 26 at 1 PM EST as we chat live with Susan Cain to discuss Quiet: The Power of Introverts. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year!

Last week I was at my friend's house and her kids and I were discussing birthdays. I said, Baby E's birthday is on the holiday that has fireworks. She said, "Oh, Chinese New Year!" Um, no, Baby E was born on the Fourth of July. So that spurred me to this post. Today is not Chinese New Year, it's Lunar New Year! Lunar New Year is celebrated in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, Taiwan and many other places in addition to China. Of course, here in the U.S., the celebrations in those countries are no match for the iconic dragon dancing through the streets of your nearest Chinatown, the red envelopes filled with money and the aforementioned fireworks [yes, invented in China].

In Korea (where I was born!) the lunar new year celebration usually involves everyone going back to their hometowns. That would be Masan in southeast Korea for me. Because people have to travel, the holiday lasts for three days. The table is set for observance of the ancestral ritual, tteokguk (rice cake soup) is eaten, and children bow to their elders as a form of filial piety. The last activity is called sebae. The boys usually do sebae to their grandparents on New Year's Day of the Gregorian calendar. They bow and say the words saehae bok mani badeuseyo (Hangul: 새해 복 많이 받으세요). Then the grandparents give them some advice on how to live in the new year. This year H bowed and said it. He received his advice and pocket money. After much prompting R finally did it but instead of saying the Korean words he said, "saehae ocho nueve." Obviously the semester of Korean school did nothing for him. R got it that he should speak a different language and I guess "saehae" to him sounded like "siete" so he went with what should follow that.

The Lunar New Year is one occasion during which Koreans still wear their hanboks. I haven't worn mine since H's first birthday. This is R in his hanbok from a couple years ago. I haven't gotten either of them new ones this year because there really isn't much occasion to wear it. Either this or next summer we hope to go to Korea and then I'll get them new ones there. The latest styles are really so different from the traditional ones and are really beautiful. Baby E is very lucky--my mom already bought Baby E's first birthday hanbok when she was in Korea last month.

If you haven't yet made your new year's resolutions, you have another chance. So go get some tteok or noodles or oranges and celebrate today. Happy Lunar New Year!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year and From Left to Write Book Club: Quiet

There is that commercial that starts with the tagline, "A body at rest tends to stay at rest." I feel like that is the story of every human action. It is difficult for us to get over the hurdle of taking the first step. I vowed to start blogging away when I got our new iMac but the mental hurdle of figuring out how to use Blogger just kept me from actually doing it. Even as I write this, I don't know how to do so many of the things that I had painstakingly learned on the PC. All the shortcuts, ctlr-this and that, those are all gone. My many years of computer-based employment required me to learn those shortcuts in order to save my wrists from carpel tunnel, but now I have to learn new mac ones. The mind is lazy and doesn't want to do new things, yet something inside me can't accept this and thus I create situations in which I have to grow myself. So Happy New Year my Random Mommy friends, albeit 17 days into it!

I don't know what inside me compels me to challenge [torment] myself, but it was the same thing that prompted me to sign up for this month's From Left to Write book club selection. I don't usually read non-fiction books that aren't work-related in some way, but I felt like my mind needed something other than the young adult science fiction that I've been devouring lately. The title of the book contains many ideas itself--Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It suggests that introverts like quiet, introverts are [actually] powerful and that extroverts are blabbermouths. I think it could offend a lot of people who are extreme extroverts because it makes it seem like they are somehow oppressing the introverts. Of course, it's probably better interpreted as a good idea on the part of the publisher to get the book noticed.

I was thinking about the ideas of introvert and extrovert a lot in the context of the blogger world. It can't possibly be that all bloggers are extroverts. But when we go to conventions and events, it seems like everyone is or that they are at least pretending to be because that is how you make connections and get noticed by sponsors. I just want to put this out there that just because a blogger may not be in your face and talking it up with you a mile a minute doesn't mean that s/he isn't going to be an effective part of the message that you are trying to spread. That blogger could be an introvert that doesn't necessarily like to talk to people, but is taking in all the information and thinking deeply on how to make your brand a success. Her/his online persona may be totally different, s/he may be one of those bloggers that is able to write really well and appeal to thousands of people across the country who are also introverts like her/him and prefer to connect that way. S/he may not have a hundred thousand Twitter followers but she may have five hundred who really follow her advice and take action as a result of her blog posts. She may not even have a big online presence at all but be president of her local moms club that has 300 active members and a word from her can get them to tell five of their friends who will tell five of their friends and so on.

I'm not talking about myself, according to the book I'm an ambivert. I have been to enough blogging events, though, to notice that not every blogger is bubbly and wanting to meet everyone in the room. It would be interesting to see if some of these events can be changed so that the dynamic shifts from "fiesta" to "tete-a-tete" with real conversations so that everyone can be heard. To me that is why From Left to Write is such a great book club; everyone can get their views across because everyone is on an equal footing, introverts and extroverts (our internal conversations are always interesting!). The world needs all kinds of people in order to function. So please PR reps and fellow bloggers, the logical approach would be to treat everyone with respect and consideration. Let's aim for both in 2012!

Are you an introvert or extrovert? Author Susan Cain explores how introverts can be powerful in a world where being an extrovert is highly valued. Join From Left to Write on January 19 as we discuss Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. We'll also be chatting live with Susan Cain at 1PM Eastern on January 26. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

I just previewed this post and for some reason the text is highlighted white. Yay, another thing for me figure out!