As you may know, I used to suffer from some pretty bad social anxiety. I was the shyest person I knew all the way up until my mid-twenties, before I finally knuckled down and worked to overcome it. Nowadays I love chatting to strangers and rarely get anxious in social situations.
For a long time I considered my shyness to be something of a curse, but now I’m actually grateful that none of my social skills came naturally. When I meet others who are struggling with shyness I like to suggest that they adopt a similar perspective.
Why should you be thankful for your shyness? Here are three reasons:
1) Your shyness is a challenge. When you work at it and overcome it, you gain confidence that you can overcome pretty much anything. The experience makes you stronger and more self-assured.
2) Once you overcome shyness, you appreciate just how cool it is to be able to speak comfortably in front of a crowd, or successfully hit it off with that attractive stranger at the bar. Naturally confident and outgoing folks are likely to take such moments for granted.
3) Most important of all: Once you beat shyness, you’re in a great position to help other people do the same. A naturally confident guy won’t be able to help a shy kid as much as you can. Because you’ve actually been there. You can relate, share, and serve as an inspirational example.
Shyness is just one example here. Reframing can work for many other things. You simply choose to view challenges as opportunities. Look beyond your current struggle and imagine all the good that can come from the experience. Yeah, you’ll still have to dig deep and work your ass off to get where you want to go, but there’s no need to feel cursed along the way.
Tell me: What are you lucky enough to be struggling with right now?
P.S. For a great example of reframing, check out this post by Jack Bennett over at thirty two thousand days.