Shy people change the world.
They’re just too humble most of the time to take credit. They’d rather be quiet and sit back to watch their creation transform lives.
As a kid I was painfully shy. My mother purposely got the other kids to play with me until one or two friends stuck to me like glue. Then the other kids joined in and I was no longer a shy loner anymore.
Now as a writer, I still feel shy a lot. I hate posting photos of myself. I don’t like recording videos. I prefer to just post my words online and let them do the talking.
I like the idea that words are more mysterious than videos or podcasts that have a degree of intimacy built in. I don’t want to get intimate with any internet weirdos.
This is the guide to the shy life I wish I had as a kid.
Never talk about shyness
The worst thing you can do is walk into a room full of strangers and announce “Hi, I’m shy.”
When I used to attend Toastmasters public speaking sessions I’d see it all the time. A shy person from the dungeons of some operations department in our bank would build up the courage to attend Toastmasters.
Then they’d mess it all up by telling people they had a shyness problem. So people would avoid them like coroni-rona
There’s no need to tell people you’re shy. Most of us have no idea. We’re busy trapped inside our own heads full of fear and doubt.
What we speak into the world becomes true. Abolish the word shy from your vocabulary to quit sabotaging your ability to build relationships.
See shyness as a superpower
Shyness is often thought of as a weakness. It’s not.
Shyness is a superpower you’ve been given. It means you talk a lot less than the loud beasts who never know when to shut up and are full of themselves.
Some of the greatest humans in history are shy:
- Bill Gates
- Emma Watson
- Albert Einstein
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Warren Buff-man Buffett
There’s something about quietness that amplifies the best ideas in the world.
Ditch the label
Labels limit your potential.
As soon as you walk around talking your shyness into reality, it hijacks your abilities. You’re not shy, really. You’re a unique human with goals and dreams just like everyone else.
Sometimes you’re shy. Sometimes you feel like Batman. Either is possible.
Force yourself to meet new people
Meeting new people is definitely harder as a shy person.
My wife can be shy. She overcomes the limitation by going to meetups and asking strangers, “Sooo, what do you love working on?”
These one-sentence icebreakers cut through tension like an axe through a log. Suddenly she’s forgotten she’s shy and is in the depths of an interesting conversation. The better you get at building relationships the quicker your confidence grows.
Confidence around new people is the antidote to shyness.
Perhaps you’re just more selective with who you hang out with
(I read this once on Twitter.)
Maybe it’s not shyness at all. Perhaps your standards for people who get your attention are higher than most. Maybe you don’t rub shoulders with every person in the bar and take home their colds, coughs, and STDs.
Maybe someone needs to intrigue you first before you talk to them. Maybe you collect friends like you collect classic cars. One or two is all you need to feel like you’ve got a few collector’s items.
My friendship circle is way smaller than it used to be. Call it shyness. Or call it careful curation of human beings. I’ll let you be the judge.
Many think shy, quiet people have a hidden advantage
The loud beasts will say you’re too quiet.
Remember, though, for every deadbeat that says that, there’s another human who thinks you’re a great listener.
Being quiet is great listening in disguise. I’d say that’s bloody beautiful, mate.
After a big social occasion, reward yourself with time alone
Having to be social takes more energy away from shy people than it does to others. After I attend a work function or go to a Tony Robbins event I’m exhausted. All I want to do is sit alone in my bedroom for a few days to read.
I used to think this was naughty. Now, time alone is my reward whenever I put on my big boy pants and face crowds of people.
Why not reward extraverted behavior with introverted indulgences such as reading and writing? Pro tip: you can.
Shyness and money go together better than cheese and red wine
When you make loads of money and get rich, you can get loud. Your shyness can wear off. That’s what happened to me as a 20-something-year-old.
I learned a valuable lesson: mix shyness with financial wealth instead.
Make a decent amount of money online, but let your shyness cover most of it up. This is known as stealth wealth.
It’s a superpower because when you get loud-rich people start to hate you. But when you get quietly wealthy and most people are unaware, you don’t lose friends or great relationships along the way.
Shyness amplifies financial wealth.
It all boils down to this
Stop seeing shyness as a weakness. It’s a bloody superpower.
Quiet people rule the world. You just don’t hear from them as much. They’re low-key, behind-the-scenes type people.
Mark my words: shy people are hidden geniuses because they hear things others don’t by listening instead of talking so much.
Embrace your shyness. Change the world.