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Yes: The One-Word Solution to Overcome Shyness
“The only time you have no opportunities is when you decide to stop taking them.”
– Danny Wallace
Dany Wallace wrote Yes Man, a memoir based upon a year of his life, in which he chose to say “Yes” to any opportunity on his path.
The Yes philosophy was born and thousands of people across the globe tried it, including me.
This article will get you through what I’ve learned. Overcoming shyness and living new experiences by saying a simple yet powerful word: Yes.
All the points discussed in this article are detailed and illustrated with examples in this book.
Why Overcoming Shyness Is so Hard: The Negative Loop
The first milestone in overcoming shyness is to get out of the negative loop that comes with it.
You must understand that shyness is a complete state of mind within which you have locked yourself.
Shyness is not hardwired into your brain, and no one was ever born with outstanding social skills.
Shyness is the result of numerous bad experiences with social interactions, which made you feel so uncomfortable as not to try socializing ever again.
You reinforce this feeling every day by avoiding people and by convincing yourself it is not too big of a deal.
The negative loop becomes stronger every time you give up on a social interaction, even the tiniest one. When you surrender in an argument, when you do not say “hi” properly, when you let a person take advantage of your shyness, when you are charged more because you cannot say “No”.
If you have ever thought “It’s okay”, you were wrong.
Every time you have refused to attend an afterwork with colleagues, a party with friends, an event with relatives. You made the decision to stay alone instead of joining people and enjoying moments with them.
You did so because the simple idea of having a social interaction triggered your defense mechanism. The more you did it, the more you felt accustomed to saying “No”.
You must reverse this loop and develop your eagerness to live new experiences with complete strangers. It has to become natural to say “Yes”, or at least to keep from always saying “No”.
How to Overcome Shyness by Saying Yes
The main idea is to say “Yes” as much as you can, as long as you are not taking the risk to endanger yourself.
This behavior takes you through incredible and unexpected experiences you would have missed if you had said “No”.
As for ourselves, this philosophy is crucial to exit the negative loop, and enter the positive one.
Whenever you are asked to go out, to attend an event, to meet someone, say “Yes” without even thinking for a second.
The more you think, the more reasons you find to scare yourself, anguish about the social confrontation, and eventually say “No”.
Just say “Yes”, no matter what it takes. Try to be as available as possible, and put your social events in priority.
Stop saying “No”.
Say “Yes” instead.
Whenever you plan to overcome shyness, laying on a sofa, scrolling through all the events in your city, make it mandatory to attend an event this week. You will read events’ descriptions, and you will think “Oh, this is not perfect. I don’t know if it suits me.”
Unless you try out, there is no way to tell. Make it a challenge, and put yourself all in to achieve it. I recommend you download Meetup, Eventbrite, and similar mobile apps to find events in your area.
Unless you take the first step and make the decision to act, no one will ever put you out and build your social confidence for you.
Take action, say “Yes”, and multiply your social interactions.