Imagine if how it would feel to let your personality flow free, have the courage to talk to that attractive person in the bar or to express your opinions with confidence and assertiveness at work. This is a practical self-help guide on how to overcome shyness.
If you are a shy person you probably recognize behaviors like: worrying too much what other people think of you, overestimating risks of social interactions or constantly managing your appearance and behavior for others.
These behaviors can create huge limitations in your life. Problems with making new friends, missed job opportunities or poor a dating life. For guys, shyness can be even more problematic since personal confidence is strongly linked to male social status and perceived success.
It’s easy to feel lonely in your problems but you are REALLY not alone. A survey showed that half of all Americans consider themselves to be shy. That number is growing. The trend is thought to be caused by the increased use of technology instead of real interactions.
When shyness kicks in the brain start playing cunning tricks on you. When you are talking to your boss at work, your brain thinks that you are waiting for the judge to deliver your death sentence. Your brain has good intentions and wants to protect you, but for the shy, it reacts out of proportion to the actual situation.
People Have Crushed Shyness Before
The first thing you have to realize is that there is no such thing as “a shy type of person”. Yes, you might have been, but that does not mean you always have to be. You must erase that belief if you want to accomplish a confident personality. It IS possible to retrain your brain to a new set of beliefs and behaviors.
The famous actor and hilarious comedian Will Ferrell have a very charismatic personality. It did not always use to be that way. He was very shy growing up. He was described as “a soft, friendly face, impeccable manners but is softly-spoken, obviously shy”.Will start challenging his fears in a rather extreme way.
Will start challenging his fears in a rather extreme way.
In college, I would push an overhead projector across campus with my pants just low enough to show my butt. Then my friend would incite the crowd to be like, ‘Look at that idiot!’ That’s how I got over being shy.
Today, none would have guessed from where he started out.
The example is a bit extreme but it works thanks to a process called systematic desensitization. It numbs your brain to your fears. For the process to work the “challenges” must be:
- Step-by-step in difficulty level
The is a growing community around the concept of challenging your social fears. Here you can find inspiration from others who have transformed themselves from shy to assertive and confident.
Three Practical Tips
Now you need to get out there and actually interact with people.
1 Talk To Cashiers
A great way to increase your social skills and general confidence level is to socialize with strangers. The benefit with strangers is that the social risk is low since you are unlikely to meet them again. Cashiers are perfect practice. They are usually bored and a conversation is more fun than the normal work. Start a routine of always making a small conversation each time you pay. For example by telling something about your day. Try to hold the conversation going a few lines. You will be surprised what fun things that can come out of this simple practice.
2 Comfort Zone Challenges
If you worry too much what others think of you, comfort fort challenges are the solution. A comfort zone challenge is to continuously put yourself in a situation that triggers social fear with the purpose of making you more socially confident. You gradually come to the insight that it does not matter if some people think bad of you. In fact, it is SUPPOSED to be this way. If all people like you, nobody like you.
Here is an example of the most famous comfort zone challenge. It has been done thousands of times, all over the globe. The “Lay down challenge”.
Here is how:
Go to a populated place, like a town square or a mall. Lay down on your back for 30 seconds. Just lay there and watch people pass.
This feels really scary, and it is supposed to be this way. Still, most people get surprised how little people actually notice you, even when doing something very out the ordinary. Make a habit of doing one comfort zone challenge each day and you will become less self-conscious and more socially confident.
The lay down challenge is pretty tough one and there are many “entry level” challenges to start with. For more comfort zone challenges, check out this app:
3 Immerse Yourself In Groups
Maybee the most crucial tips is to seek up and join some sort of social groups. This can skyrocket your social abilities and get you mentors as inspiration.
A great way to find like-minded people is thru meetup.com. Here you can go to meetups with people who share the same interests as you. For example sci-fi books, gaming or personal development. People are generally friendly and supportive. It’s easy to find something to talk about since you all share a common interest. You can even create your own meetup and invite others to come.
Go For It!
It is possible to overcome shyness and people have done it before. What one man can do, another man can do. Of course, it takes time and effort but we would argue that it is one of the most rewarding journeys one can embark. Imagine the fear of holding that presentation are transformed into anticipation. Free of the worries of what others think of you. We hope that you are inspired to start working towards the best version of yourself.
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