How To Overcome Shyness
By Leo Gura - January 19, 2014 | 7 Comments
Learn how to overcome shyness in 15 minutes. Implement these simple ideas into your life and watch your shyness melt away and blossom into real confidence.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org, and in this quick self-help segment we’re gonna talk about how to overcome shyness. What I’m gonna do is not go into the topic completely in-depth, because this is a deep topic, but what I am gonna do is provide you with some really practical things you can start doing right now to get this problem handled in your life.
The Many Forms Of Shyness
Let’s talk about this shyness. There’s various forms of shyness that we can be talking about: shyness in school, shyness in business, shyness in your dating life, shyness in your social life with friends. Let’s break down each one of these and give you a couple of practical techniques, you could say tactics, that you can use to start overcoming this shyness problem.
First thing, and this is going to be a deeper idea, is that it’s all in your mind. This idea of shyness, you’ve got to get it out of your mind that you’re a shy type of person. You’re not a shy type of person. You’re someone who’s been shy in the past. That doesn’t mean that you have to be shy for the rest of your life or that you were born shy.
This is a really silly and very dangerous idea to buy into, this concept that you are somehow a shy person, a shy personality type, an extreme introvert and that you can’t have success. In fact what I can inspire you with, with my story hopefully, is that I was extremely introverted.
I still consider myself to be a really extreme introvert, but I’ve been able to make a lot of progress in that, to the point where if I’m interacting now most people cannot tell that I’m an introvert In fact, they think that I’m extrovert because I worked on my social skills.
Firstly you’ve got to realize that this is a problem you can totally handle. This is not something that you have to live with for the rest of your life. Get that into your mind right now. I want that seed planted and then we can find ways to make it sprout, to make it grow.
Overcome Your Self-Image
Let’s talk about this. What are some actual things that you can do? To really overcome shyness you have to start to overcome your self-image. You have to start to overcome this idea that people are looking at you and people are really caring about what you’re doing. The problem, the fundamental problem is that you care too much about what other people think of you.
That is something that you’re going to have to numb down through a process of progressive desensitization. You’re gonna go through and you’re gonna — whatever technique you use that I’m going to give you here is you’re going to numb yourself down to this idea that it’s important what people think of you.
Right now, you care too much and maybe because you care so much about how people think of you you stutter, or you don’t make eye contact, or you don’t go up and introduce yourself, or you’re afraid of approaching someone and putting yourself out on the line.
You either fear rejection, you fear embarrassment, you fear people will laugh at you, you fear that people think that you’re weird, or any number of these doom and gloom scenarios. The fact is that’s something that you’ve constructed in your mind. I know because I have this. I’ve had it really bad in the past and I still have it to some degree.
It’s still hard for me to sometimes go up to a stranger and introduce myself, or to go on the line and go hit on a girl in a club or a bar. That’s still challenging, it can be. First of all, realize that you’re totally normal and that there are a lot of people in the world, millions of people, that are caught in this situation. The reason is that they haven’t gone in there and they haven’t numbed themselves down to it.
The only way you’re really going to overcome shyness is actually going out and interacting with people. You can’t really avoid that. What you can do is kind of build up gradually so that it’s not as painful or scary as it would be if you just, for example, went up and you had to give a speech in front of a thousand people auditorium. That would be so scary that you’d probably throw up and you would never do it.
Whereas if you start yourself small and baby-step your way up over a long period of time, then you can get this problem handled. For example if you are shy in the context of work, you’re not asserting yourself at work, and you know that other people are more involved, their voice is being heard more in group meetings etc.
What you’ve got to do is start opening yourself up. Start very small. What can you do? What’s one thing you could do? You can maybe find one colleague, or two colleagues, and just make friends with them and start building up relationships with them. Maybe you could start going to lunch or meeting up with them during coffee breaks, or at the water cooler. Just start chatting them.
This is something that you’re going to have to train yourself to do. You have to push your comfort zone a little bit, because naturally, you’re not going to want to go and just have some idle chit-chat with somebody at the water cooler, or maybe ask them to lunch. What if they reject you? You have to put yourself out on a limb. It’s a small limb. The fact is that most people will not reject. You’ll be surprised at how good they respond to you.
Even if you’re socially uncalibrated, they’ll still respond well to you, in most cases. Even if they don’t — again, this goes back the problem of why do you care so much. Why do you care so much that someone doesn’t want to go to lunch with you or snubs you at the water cooler? It’s not that big of a deal.
You have to get yourself accustomed to that, because right now, if you’re very sensitive to it, if you’ve got thin skin than that’s going to be painful. You’ve got to put yourself out there and try it. Start small and then once, for example, you’ve got some lunch relationships built, you’re going out with people at lunch, maybe then you’re going out first with one other person so it’s just the two of you.
Then maybe you invite a third person. Then maybe you hold a weekly lunch with your team of ten people or five people. All of a sudden, you start hobnobbing with them, interacting with them in a more casual lunch environment. Then, all of a sudden, when you’re at work in a group meeting, you can be more assertive there. It’ll just transfer over. You’ll get better and better and better at it. It’s something you have to practice. That’s the work situation.
Shyness In Courting
How about shyness with the opposite sex? How do you overcome that problem? That’s something I’ve been working on for the last few years. Really big problem for me because I really wasn’t involved with relationships or dating when I was growing up, in high school and college, because I just simply chose not to. That’s something that was not on my priority list .
I viewed it as a distraction for me. That came back to bite me in the ass, because I realized that eventually I have to get involved in it and now I don’t have the skills and experience that I would have developed had I been in that environment. Plus, I would have had more opportunity to get exposed to it through school and college. That was a good place to get exposed.
If you are scared there and you are shy you have to put yourself on line again. If you’re a guy — go out to bars, go out to clubs, hang out with other guy friends and see what they’re doing, copy them and go approach girls.
Yes, it’s going to be painful. It’s going to be scary, but you have to do it. That’s the only way that you’re going to get that part of your life handled. That can be a really involved process that I can’t go into here. Realize you have to go out there and put yourself out on the line.
The worst case scenario is you get shot down and you know what? It literally does not feel nearly as bad as you make it out to be in your mind.You just have to go out there and put yourself on the line.
For women? Women don’t pursue guys as much as guys pursue girls, so it’s a little bit different. It’s still the same situation. If you want to be more assertive, if you want to be more authentic you have to go out there and put yourself on the line. Start small and build your way up.
The same situation applies to your social circle of friends. You have to push yourself to do a little bit more in each interaction. For example, if you’re talking — if you go out with your girlfriends to lunch and you feel like you’re the fifth wheel in the group, and you’re not serving much of a purpose, and you’re not really assertive and you’re kind of meek.
Then you’ve got to realize the situation, and in that moment step it up and try to push it a little bit. Try to get outside your comfort zone and do that every time you’re in and interaction. Eventually, you’re gonna open. You’re going to start to open up.
Talk To The Cashiers
I actually found a really good way to break your shyness is to go and talk to cashiers. For example, when you’re buying groceries, or you’re buying your gas, or you’re at a store and you’re buying something, talk to the cashiers and chat them up. They’re always friendly, they’re bored, they have nothing to do and they’re not going to reject you. They pretty much have to talk to you, they have to be nice.
Go up there and talk with them. Force yourself to actually start a conversation. Don’t just say “Oh, hi! How’re you doing?” and then end it at that. Actually ask them a question or tell them something about yourself.
What I’ve really found extroverts do is not so much that they ask a lot of questions, it’s that they’re really so comfortable being themselves and being expressive that they draw you in with a magnetism. What they do is talk a lot about themselves and it’s usually stupid stuff that, if you’re an introvert, you would ask yourself and say “Why would you even talk about that?”
The fact is, that for an extrovert, it doesn’t matter. They just blurt it out. They don’t have those filters in place like we do, like introverts do. For example, if you’re standing there in a grocery store and you’re checking out maybe you make a little comment as to what the clerk is wearing.
Maybe you poke fun at that person, or you just make a sly little comment, or you mention something that you saw on TV or in the news. You mention sports, you mention something that’s on your mind. You can just mention how you feeling. You can walk in there and it doesn’t matter, you don’t have to pretend to be happy, you can walk in there and say “You know what? I’ve had a shitty day. I lost my keys and then I ran out of gas and now I’m here at the grocery store and you didn’t have the thing that I wanted and this sucks.”
You can just say that and the other person, it doesn’t matter, even if it’s negative what you’re saying, they’ll still respond to it and that’ll actually spark up a conversation. Of course, you can also ask questions and get a conversation going that way. Start small and then just build your way up. Make a little habit of doing that all the time.
Talk To Everyone
I found that that’s probably one of the best ways to break out of your shyness. Start talking to people that you’re interacting with in the real world, as you’re out and about doing your errands. Force yourself to get those conversations to be a little bit longer. Usually we try to cut things down. We don’t talk to the waitress, we don’t talk to our bank clerk, we don’t talk to the gas station attendant.
We say “Oh, what’s the point?”. If you’re an introvert, there is a big point. You talk because, first of all, you’re developing the skill, and second of all, you’re going to notice that you actually could enjoy your day more, your interactions more when you’re actually having and striking up these conversations.
Sometimes you’ll strike up a conversation and you’ll find that it’s a lot more interesting than you realized it could be. You start on a topic like weather, which is boring and then all of a sudden the cashier will tell you that she just got married, or he’ll tell you that he just bought this thing and it’s something cool. Maybe it can add some value to your life, maybe it can add some value to his life. It ends up being a win-win.
Join A Club
Those are some practical techniques. I think some other things you can do is you’ve got to immerse yourself in groups of people. Put yourself into organizations or little groups where you can actually go out there and interact with people. A big problem nowadays, when everyone is on the Internet and locked up at home, is that we’re just too isolated and so maybe that’s the problem you have.
You don’t have enough people to interact with. A way to break up that shyness is to take the initiative and join a group of some kind. One group that you can join, for example, is Toastmasters, which is a public speaking group which also help you overcome the fear of public speaking. It’s a really friendly environment, they have Toastmasters literally all across the world, in every city.
Hundreds of these organizations, thousands of them. Little small clubs that you meet with once a week and just talk. It’s very friendly, very supportive, easy group to join. It’s also very cheap. There are other groups like this. Find a group that really holds and aligns with your interests.
You can go to someplace like Meetup.com and you can search for meet-up groups literally on any topic, on any subject, from overcoming addictions to people that are into science fiction, to people that are into music, and to people who are into philosophy and like to talk about books.
You can find these different groups and usually these are very supportive,friendly environments. It’s very easy to get into them because they are aligned with your interests, so if you like to read books of a certain kind, maybe like to read science fiction books, you could find a group of people that meet up every week and talk about science fiction books, and break out of your shell that way.
Use What You Have
That’s a really good way to do. You’ve got to get yourself involved with people. Be out there. Also, if you’ve got friends go out with them at night. If they’re going out to bars, they’re going out to clubs, they’re going out to laser tag or some sort of social event, go with them. I know as an introvert there’s a strong tendency to just want to say “No, that’s not something I really want to do. It’s not something I like to do.”
You’ve got to really ask yourself do you really want to overcome your shyness or do you want to be plagued by it for the rest of your life? I can guarantee you that it will hold you back in so many ways. That’s why I had to overcome it. It’ll hold you back in your dating life, it’ll hold you back with quality friends, which really affects your happiness level in life. It’ll hold you back from business opportunities, it’ll hold you back at work, it’ll hold you back at school. Just so many different ways.
You don’t want those areas in your life to be stifled. You want to be expressive and you’re going to be so much happier when get rid of this whole shyness issue. You’re going to be much less self-conscious, you’re going to be out there, you’re going to be relaxing and having fun.
Realize it’s going to take you a while to get there and the best way to start is to get yourself out the door. Get out of the house, talk to people. Put yourself on the line a little bit more each time.
Alright, that’s going to do it, because this is a rapid, quick self-help segment. I’m gonna leave it there. Go ahead and leave me your comments. Go check out Actualized.org for advanced self-development techniques. I can cover this topic so much deeper on Actualized.org, where we really are gonna talk about advanced level techniques that you can work on your inner game, on your psychology and really work on a much deeper level to understand why you’re shy, how to overcome it, and not only how to overcome it, but how to turn it into a strength of yours and take it to an amazing level where you go from introvert to extrovert, where you go from being shy to being the most outgoing person in your circle of friends.
You can do that. It’s out there, so go ahead, check it out. I am signing off.