So, up until now, how have you thought of yourself? Were you shy? Were you tentative? That's how some people label themselves, which brings me to the myth of "that's just the way I am." What a loaded phrase. Are you confident? Are you shy? Are you tentative? They say, "That's just the way I am." They need to stop saying that. It's as if they are chanting a negatively reinforcing mantra. The real secret is that it's a dirty rotten broken affirmation that keeps people stuck. The affirmation "every day and every way I'm getting better and better" is a famous affirmation by Emile Coue, an early-self help pioneer. "I'm shy because that's the way I am," will work as an affirmation also if people repeat it. If others repeat this phrase, append to their statement, "They are shy because that's just the way they are according to them". That myth is the worst myth ever passed on from dis-empowered people to other dis-empowered people.
Believing that your parents were shy which caused you to be shy is no excuse. Same goes for your kids. People do not become shy automatically when they are born. There is no 'shyness gene'. Shy people can't blame their genes. People become shy because they've learned to behave and act in a certain way. When I was shy around people, it's because I was in the habit of looking at a person, saying inside my mind, "He/she won't like me," and then feeling bad inside, picturing him/her rejecting me, and then feeling immense fear that paralyzed me. That was simply the way I learned to behave. I only knew one way of behaving, but fortunately I got more choices. Kids unconsciously pick up the behaviors of the parents. Your parents may have influenced you to be shy, but that's different from them inflicting you with some untreatable genetic disease, which is really what it really means when people say, "That's just the way I am!"
Let me tell you about the myth of "I'm shy". It's an excuse and enables people to stay stuck. Shy is not a trait; it's only a way of acting. If you can act one way that means you can act another way too. Shy is a behavior; it's not an adjective that describes a person. It's not a state of being. It's a way of acting. You can behave in a confident manner too. You always have that choice. People locked into the "I'm shy" method don't realize they have the choice.
Consider this: if you could choose your identity, if you could choose the way you see yourself, then would you deliberately label yourself as shy? As a person lacking confidence? As hesitant or introverted or anything less than glorious? Absolutely not. And yet, that's unfortunately what so many people do when they say, "I'm shy, I'm just not confident," or anything else of that nature.
Therefore, it's important to avoid the phrase, "I'm shy."
Worse than saying, "I'm shy," is talking about shyness as if it's some sort of disease or disorder. "Yeah, he has a case of shyness." "She has a case of shyness disorder." That is the most ridiculous thing ever. If I walk into a room of shy people and there's this bug that flies around and if it bites me, do I become shy too? No. That is downright absurd. People don't go walking along one day and go "UGH!" and crumple to the ground, and suddenly they are diagnosed with shyness.
Since it's not a disorder, we're in luck. Few people realize that we have all the resources we need to behave in a confident manner, and as this realization sinks in to you now, you can feel really good, knowing how radically you will change yourself. You can choose to behave in a confident manner.
In the case of confidence, it's useful to think of confidence as contagious and infectious. The confidence bug can bite you. It may not be absolutely true yet it's useful to believe. In fact, this book contains a very potent species of confidence bugs and they will bite you all throughout this book. There is a powerful frame of mind at work here:
It's the "as if" frame. The "As If" Frame
If you act as if something is real for long enough, you will eventually forget that you are only pretending and however you are acting will become your habit. People who used to be shy have used this "as if" frame of mind to develop their confidence. The difference between people who are confidence and those who are shy are their habits.
Habits can either be good or bad. The secret is to have good habits. The more empowering habits you have, the better your life will be. Developing these habits of behaving confidently is enjoyable too. It's exciting to witness your personal transformation as you gain more confidence in yourself.
The mind and body are part of a cybernetic system. This means that the body influences the mind and the mind influences the body. We can pretend to have confidence by reliving confident experiences in our mind and our body will adopt confident physiology. Or if we choose to adopt confident physiology, our mind will adjust what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling internally to experience confidence. We can use this to our advantage. You can pretend anything and master it. Getting confidence is no different than that. You can pretend to have confidence and pretty soon you'll forget that you're pretending and by the time you've done that, your habit confidence is a habit. Following that, your confidence gets ingrained into you as a person when you think about yourself as a confident person.
Remember times in your past when you played "make-believe" as a child. Children have excellent imaginations and are very good at playing and consequently learning. Pretend that you have the confidence before you really do have it. If you were to be ten times more confident than you are now, answer the following questions:
• How would you be moving differently right now?
• How would your body posture be different right now?
• How would you be talking to yourself inside differently right now?
• How would you be speaking to others right now?
• What you see inside your mind to instantly make you ten times more confident right now?
• What you hear inside your mind to instantly make you ten times more confident right now?
• What kind of confident feeling in your body would you experience?
• Where in your body would you feel that confidence first?
• How could you intensify that confident feeling in your body?
In answering the questions and doing what the questions presuppose you will do, your unstoppable confidence will soar. When your confidence soars, forget that you're pretending and follow through on taking action to do whatever you need to get done.
I've used this technique a lot when I first learned how to walk up and begin talking to strangers. I would ask myself all of the questions listed above and then answer them one by one. With each question I answered, I adjusted my behavior to pretend as if I already had the confidence I was seeking. And after I had finished answering all the questions, I actually could feel unstoppable confidence within me. This propelled me to go introduce myself to some strangers and begin talking to them.
The reverse is also true so be forewarned about that. If you think about shyness and adopt shy body language, your mind and body will make you feel shy. If you catch yourself doing this, acknowledge it, and then begin asking yourself the confidence questions designed to get you into a super confident state.
Confident and shy body language (physiology) differ greatly. Having shy body language means hanging your head as if you're ashamed of yourself, slump your shoulders forward, having a droopy back instead of standing up straight, and looking down to the ground Having confident body language means keeping your head held high, your shoulders back, your abdominal muscles tucked in, standing up tall and proud. By realizing the difference, you can be sure to maintain confident body language as you have unstoppable confidence.
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