I was terrified.
Because this was the one college course I’d been putting off.
Also known as speech comm.
After refusing to do my first speech — a simple 3-minute “how-to” talk — I had to do the next one. If not, I would fail the course.
My mind chatter was turned up full blast:
I’m an introvert. I don’t do stuff like this. I mean, speaking up in small groups makes me nervous enough. Speaking in front of AN ENTIRE CLASS is going to be unbearable. I’ll shake. I’ll forget what to say. Maybe I’ll pass out. This isn’t fair. I shouldn’t have to do this. This isn’t what introverts do!
Come to think of it, I had built my entire life around my “personality.” I was the shy kid. I wanted to blend in. To be another face in the crowd. To feel justified about living inside of my introvert box. Because that’s what I was supposed to do. It was who and how I was.
But it was time to stand up and speak in front of 30 classmates, for 5-7 long minutes.
I opened my mouth. I mumbled. I stumbled over my words. Behind the wooden podium my knees were knocking like crazy.
But I kept talking. My grade depended on it. If I failed this class, I’d have to do this all over again.
Then, maybe a minute into my talk, I dared to look into the eyes of my audience. They were attentive. Intrigued. Seemingly hanging onto my every word.
Wait, don’t they know I’m an introvert?
Don’t they know who I am — shy, timid, someone who doesn’t say much?
But what was happening in that moment flew in the face of what I believed to be true about myself.
What I thought I could never do, I wasn’t only doing, but I was doing it well.
In that moment I was becoming someone new.
And I haven’t been able to shut my mouth ever since.
Without that experience I may have assumed that my personality was permanent. I would have made excuses about certain activities and opportunities not being “authentic” to who I was. I would have avoided anything that didn’t fit inside of my iron-clad box of fixed traits and characteristics.
But the box only appears to be made of iron. In fact, it’s plastic. Your personality can be bent, stretched, and reshaped into whatever form you choose.
If you think you’ll always be shy and timid, you can become more confident and outgoing.
If you think you can’t speak in front of people, you can become a podcast host who speaks to tens of thousands of listeners every day.
And if you stay in bed until 3pm and think you’re lazy, you can do what Tom Bilyeu did. Tap a link below to find out how he molded his personality to become the founder of a billion dollar company.
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