The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “project”

First Conversation with a Stranger!

Today was a pretty busy and fun day.  I went on a private tour of Pixar Studios with my parents, thanks to my dad’s friend’s neighbor, who got us in and showed us around.  It seemed like a really fun place to work, and I can see why so many people dream about working there.  It was interesting hearing about what happens each day and seeing all the storyboards and clay figures that were the starting points of some of their movies like Toy Story 3.  I got to ask him some questions and learn more about what it takes to work at Pixar and what it’s like.  I’ve always loved art classes, and it seems like it’d be fun to work there, but I’m not sure if animation or art is something I want to go into as a career.  There’s always been two sides to me: the artsy, creative side and the altruistic, want to help people side.   I’m not sure which side I’m going to go into, but lately I’ve been leaning more towards the helping people side.  I’ve been considering Occupational Therapy and a few other things.  It’s hard to make a decision at 17 what you want to do with your life though, and since I have a variety of interests it’s hard for me to just pick one thing and be certain of that decision.

After Pixar, we went to Ikea, then Rite Aid, and then Sam’s.  And guess what?  Today I had my first conversation with a stranger!  🙂  As I was checking out of Sam’s with my family, I handed the elderly guy(named Tom) our Sam’s card, and he scanned it, and started scanning our other items.  I had noticed earlier that Sam’s didn’t seem too busy today, so I finally asked, “Has today been a pretty quiet day?” Tom laughed and said it hadn’t been, and yesterday and today had actually been pretty crazy.  I told him I was surprised because the store didn’t seem too busy,  but I guess the check out lines must be busier.  And he said yeah, it’s been pretty busy.  My dad then made a comment that he remembered this guy always gave the best food samples when he used to work in that area, and the man laughed and said that his boss complained that he was giving out too much food in his samples, and that he was just supposed to give out a tiny bit and not a meal.  I asked him when they gave out samples, and he said they only do it 4 times a week now, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.  He then went on to say that he was glad he was done with the samples though because he was actually getting paid better working at the check-out.  I told him that the customers were probably sad to see him go, since he always gave out good samples.  He laughed and then said he didn’t know about that, and handed us our items and we smiled and said have a nice day.

It was a good feeling afterward, and I felt like giving someone a high five or something, haha.  At first I was hesitant to talk to him because I wasn’t sure how good his hearing would be and if I would have to shout to talk to him, but it turns out that he had pretty good hearing and understood me just fine.  I was glad that we got him laughing and smiling, and it made me smile too.  So now at least I’ve gotten the first conversation out of the way, which is good because the first one is always the hardest I imagine.  I’m going to start keeping a tally to keep track.  🙂


Not A Great Start

Well yesterday I was supposed to go swing dancing for New Years Day, but the friend I was going to go with who drives us bailed out.  She had mentioned going to the dance the day before, and we had talked about it last week, but on the day we were supposed to go, she didn’t answer any of our emails or calls asking her where she was.  The drive to swing dance is an hour and a half, and she’s always been the one to drive us, so without her my brother and I couldn’t go.  I was hoping that I was going to kick off the New Year by talking to several strangers at the swing dance, but it looks like I’ll have to think of other ways to talk to some people in the meantime.

I went to the library and Ace Hardware today with my brother and dad, hoping to get some conversations in with strangers.  But once again, things didn’t work out as I planned.  I had an armful of books on careers and college majors in my hand, and was waiting in line to be checked out by a librarian.  I was hoping as she was checking out my books, I could start a conversation by saying that I was trying to figure out what careers I might want to go into.  But the line was apparently too long so one of the librarians told us to use the self-checkout.  So grudgingly I sauntered over to the self-checkout, my plan for talking to the librarian ruined.

Then we went to Ace Hardware.  My dad handed me and my brother his Ace card and we headed for the door while he went to check on some lottery thing.  We looked around for Borax, which was something that was supposed to fight off ants my dad had told me.  We looked up and down the pesticide aisle and didn’t see it.  Later my dad joined up with us and he eventually found it, but it was called Boric Acid.

We headed for the check out, and I rehearsed what I could say to the clerk in my head.  I was planning to say something like “We’re having an ant invasion” or something like that to get a conversation going, but once we got to the check out guy, I couldn’t make the words come.  My dad handed him the Boric Acid bottle and the guy just scanned it without looking at what it was, and said the price.  He then just kind of stared at us and looked at us blankly, and I awkwardly stood there ringing my hands, feeling ashamed that I couldn’t say something and break this awkward silence.  But the guy didn’t even look at what we were buying, and it all just seemed so awkward that I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

So I’ve experienced some set backs so far.  But at least I went outside the house today and made an attempt, even though I didn’t do what I had set out to do.  I have a month, there should be other opportunities.  The first couple will be the hardest.

The First Step: Talk to Strangers

Throughout the whole project, I plan to record my thoughts, feelings, and findings.  I am going to work on recognizing my negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones.  I will try different methods like positive self talk, visualization of success, etc. to see what effect they have on me.  I realize that the way I perceive things is probably a huge factor in my shyness, and that a lot of my automatic thoughts and worries aren’t really that realistic.

The first step of the Shyness Project will be to make small talk with strangers.  The idea will be to make eye contact, say hello, and start a conversation.  My goal will be to talk to 30 strangers this month, and if it goes well, I will continue this each month.

The First Day of the New Year: 2011, A Time for Change

The Shyness Project will be a year-long endeavor to confront my shyness, once in for all.  I created this project because my shyness has been interfering with my life for too long.  I do not want to go on anti-depressants or other shyness pills, do not want to pay a large fee for a short series of classes or sessions, and do not want to resort to drugs or alcohol. I want to take charge of my own life.

Plus, I want to challenge myself and see if I can follow through with this.  I’m afraid if I don’t address my shyness now, it’s going to continue to haunt me the rest of my life and keep me from doing a lot of the things I want to experience in life.

I want to be able to drive without worrying if I’ll get lost and have to ask for help. Or if I get in an accident I want to be able to talk confidently to the other person or the police.  I want to be able to travel abroad without worrying that I won’t be able to ask for assistance when I need it or make friends. I want to be able to teach English abroad and have the self-confidence to stand in front of the room and speak/teach.  I want to be able to make more friends but sometimes I have a hard time starting and continuing a conversation.  I want to be able to raise my hand in class without my heart pounding, my palms sweating, and my mind screaming to keep my hand down.  I want to be able to give a presentation without panicking and worrying for days, and even worse, bail out on it or turn the presentation down out of fear of embarrassing myself.  I want to be able to act goofy and fun in front of others instead of feeling locked up and constricted in my movements.  I want to be able to go outside by myself for a walk or run, or to shop at a store by myself instead of needing someone else to go with me.  I want to be able to make a phone call without making a huge deal out of it and getting extremely nervous.

I’m tired of letting shyness dictate my life, and keep me from doing all the things I’m capable of.  My shyness stands in the way of my dreams and ambitions, and I can’t let it stop me from doing what I want to do.  It won’t be easy, and the feelings in my stomach I’ll get from doing something I don’t want to do will surely be nauseating, but I have to start somewhere.  Even though I am often described as “the shy one”, I don’t like being labeled that and realize that this is more than just a little shyness.  It’s something that has gotten really out of hand and needs to be worked on.

Shyness alone isn’t a bad thing, not at all. But when it prevents you from doing what you want to do and leaves you so stressed out and fearful all the time, then it’s a problem.

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