I used to be very shy, and no longer am.
How did I become less shy? And how has this helped me in my personal, photographic, and entrepreneurial life?
We are trained to become shy
This is my thought:
As children, we are not shy. We are taught and TRAINED to become shy by our parents (who are generally risk-averse).
Now as an adult, it is your task to “un-shy” yourself.
Is being shy a bad thing?
It depends on what we mean by ‘shy’. If we study the etymology of shy, this is what we get:
The Proto-Germanic for “shy” means to be frightened.
And where does “fright” come from? It essentially means fear.
Is being fearful a bad thing?
The next question:
Is it bad to be fearful?
In my eyes, it is good to be fearful when it comes to life or death situations, or situations which might lead to your untimely death.
For example, I am frightened of texting while driving because I don’t want to die. I am frightened of going bungee jumping or skydiving. Anything which has even a very small probable risk of death, I avoid like the plague.
This is good– because my fright ensures my survival (I don’t die). And the only bad thing while being alive is dying.
When it is good to NOT be fearful
Real life entails risk. Skin in the game. And in my eyes, the only way to live a great and fun life is to live a thrilling, risky, and exhilarating life!
What is the worst than can happen?
From a stoic perspective, it is good to always judge the potential downside.
“What is the worst that can happen?”
For example, in street photography, at worst someone will yell at you, shame you, or become physically aggressive to you. To be honest, it ain’t that big of a deal.
By vividly imaging the worst-case scenario, you realize that most things in life aren’t so scary!
But ultimately, just keep practicing! Practice your social exposures, and keep taking slightly bigger social risks.
Over time, you shall become truly fearless.