Tag Archives: Shyness

Transfer Skills To Dance Through Life

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, 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 resources for different situations. I think it’s important to realize this when 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 figure out how to transfer skills in one area of life into other areas. Up until now, I’ve been taking this kids statements of his being shy at face value. Never again. Maybe when I remind him how brave and relaxed he was in front of over a thousand people, he’ll convince himself as well.


Increase Confidence and Shed Shyness

I had a friend that used to be really, really shy. Like he wasn’t even able to make eye contact with other people. Not even for a split second. I don’t know if you’ve ever known a friend like that, but it kind of makes it hard to plan to do things. People that are incredibly shy find it difficult to relax over a few beers.  His girlfriend always shared with me how difficult it was when she had work parties,where it was kind of expected to bring your significant other.

I’ve seen a couple of funny youtube videos where people are at Christmas parties, and they are recorded saying things about their boss that they will likely later regret. But they are pretty funny. The thing about those parties, is that you have to behave kind of differently. It’s like you are in a party atmosphere, complete with food, alcohol, and music, but you still have to behave like you are at work. It’s almost as if you are supposed to pretend to have fun. Pretending can be good sometimes, but many people have said that the biggest trouble with telling lie is keeping everything straight.

This book I was reading on evolution was talking about the reason peoples brains became so big. This guy in the book was quoting this other guy who did a bunch of research at this university, along with a team of anthropologists. He said that one of the driving forces in the development of the human brain was the ability to not only detect deception in other people, but to deceive others and ourselves as well. Because you can’t very well catch others in deception of you don’t know hot to imagine what it would be like to be in the other persons shoes who is doing the deceiving. It is all somehow tied into the importance of knowing your place in the social structure. Of course there is no evidence for any of this, but it’s is an interesting theory nonetheless. It’s funny when think about things that you are only beginning to understand. It’s like you have an idea of what is going, but until you play different scenarios in your mind, you really can’t start to appreciate the complexity that is under all human life.

There was this one youtube video, where a girl that was apparently really drunk started telling her boss off. She said some pretty mean things. And her boss was standing right behind her. She turned around at the end of her tirade, and he said something like “I want to see you in my office first thing on Monday.” But it turned out to be a joke. Everybody was in on it, and it was all staged. Except the drunk part. I’m pretty sure that part was real.

And my friend eventually overcame his shyness with his girlfriend, because she finally coaxed him into attending a few assertiveness workshops together. Not only did he shed his shyness, and develop a really outgoing personality, but their relationship really improved. They’ve been married for six years, I think, with at least a couple of kids last I checked. And a large part of his job involves public speaking, so he really did develop strong confidence, which is always good.