shy

adjective \ˈshī\
  • : feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people

  • : showing that you are nervous and uncomfortable about meeting and talking to people

  • : tending to avoid something because of nervousness, fear, dislike, etc.

North America is an extro-centric society. Our music, art, and culture is filled with bits and pieces of praise for attitudes and activities mostly associated with extroverts: connectivity, expression, assertiveness, conflict, short-term stimulation, etc. When we were young, our schools and parents always encourage us to be with friends, to go outside, to connect with others.

Shyness became a traditionally frowned-upon trait.

Shyness sometimes stems from actual trauma that causes one to feel anxious when engaging with others. For most introverts, shyness is simply how we behave.

To understand how introversion and shyness is related, one must first understand what is introversion. Introversion does not mean they are socially handicapped. It simply means that it is more natural and comfortable for introverts to process information in solitary, rather than in groups. Introverts would prefer a simple book, music with earphones, or a lone hike over dinner parties when they feel drained.

Shyness allows introverts to create a barrier between them and their environment, minimizing the exposure to stimulation which helps them to think at their optimal condition. I am an introvert, but I was rarely categorized as shy. However, there were times and will always be times when I simply don’t talk much because I needed to internalize the information before I speak.

I’ve worked in sales and sales development for over 5 years. It is a common sight to hear someone bragging about the qualitative information on a certain account or potential during the weekly sales meetings without any tangible value. I believe we can look into our innate shyness, to think before we speak, and to bring real value when we do speak to the table.

In sales, the best salesperson often uses the tools we were born with, two ears and one mouth, to that equal proportion.

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