I had an interesting experience this evening. I was invited to a dance performance by a friend of mine. He is part of a dance group, and they put on performance several times a year. He is a junior high school student, and whenever I speak with him he is incredibly shy. I gave me the ticket to his performance, and asked me if I’d come. Of course I said yes. I had no idea how big his group was, or how extravagant the performance was going to be.
It was incredible. I was expecting a small show, with perhaps parents and friends coming to see. It was in a large hall, downtown in the city where I live. I was surprised to see a large, long snaking line waiting for the doors to open. It was raining today, so the line had to form inside. The reception area of the hall itself is quite large, but it wasn’t built to accommodate a long, slinking line. So there was a lady holding a sign that identified the end of the line.
Finally the doors opened, and I walked in, and was lucky to get a seat. The place was packed, both levels. Before the lights dimmed, I found my friends picture, and figured out which group he was in. (Which was kind of difficult, as it was all written in Japanese.) The amount of moves and choreography presented was amazing. It was truly a professionally done show, that had obviously been well rehearsed.
That wasn’t quite what amazed me the most. This shy kid, who is almost too embarrassed to make eye contact during a normal conversation, was on fire on stage in front of thousands. In his particular group,Â he was the lead dancer. I remember back on Valentines day, when here in Japan it’s traditional for girls to give guys chocolates, he was lamenting that no girls had given him any chocolate. One of the performances his group did was him and about twenty girls doing a number on stage with him being the lead dancer.
Then when it came time when each group lined up and waited for their name to be called by the announcer, so they could take their bow, he blew me away. Instead of just saying “Hai!” and taking a bow like the rest of his fellow dancers, he did a quick dance move, and then blew several kisses to the crowd. Not the shy junior high kid that I imagined.
Which got me thinking, all of us have different resourcesÂ for different situations. I think it’s important to realize this whenÂ we say things to ourselves like “I’m shy,” or “I’m not a good public speaker,” or “I’m not very smart.” All of us can be all things, in some context or another. The trick is to figureÂ outÂ how to transfer skills in one area of life into other areas. Up untilÂ now, I’ve been taking this kidsÂ statements ofÂ his being shy at faceÂ value. Never again.Â Maybe when I remind him how brave and relaxed he was in front of over a thousand people, he’ll convince himself as well.