Shyness Buster #2: Take the Ellis Challenge!

by Brad Isaac on August 13, 2007

project_dream_dating This is part 6 in Project Dream Dating 2007. If you?ve been following along, you know my perspective on meeting and dating the right people. Being yourself is the only way to attract someone who likes you for you. Once you have achieved that goal, my job is done.

So if you are just tuning in now, there are 5 prior parts to this series. Make sure you go back and read them. They each build on one another. Here they are:

Part 1: Project Dream Dating 2007 Introduction

Part 2: Project Dream Dating 2007 Background On Shyness

Part 3: Know Who You Are Looking For

Part 4: Five Steps To Being In The Right Place At The Right Time

Part 5: Shyness Buster #1

Also, if you haven?t already, go ahead and subscribe to the RSS feed. There are several more installments to the Project Dream Dating 2007 series and you won?t want to miss anything.

The Experiment

I have to say, I?ve put this part off long enough. This may be intimidating to some of you. Others may think it?s silly. But if you absolutely, positively want to break out of your shell and say goodbye to shyness, this will do it. If you find yourself frightened or reluctant to do it, remember what I said at the beginning about experiments.

All you want to do is treat this as an experiment. In a way, this is an easy experiment. All you are looking to do is get a checkmark on a sheet of paper for each time you follow through. The result doesn?t matter as much as doing the experiment itself.

After you build up a series of checkmarks, you?ll probably be having so much fun you?ll lose count anyway. But the point of this early on is to behave as if this were an experiment. If it helps, you can treat it like a game ? where you?ll be out on a scavenger hunt seeking checkmarks. Like a scavenger hunt, some checkmarks will be easier to get than the others, but it?s not any one treasure that wins the game, it?s collecting them all that bring home the trophy.

Rational Emotive What???

This method is actually one I discovered in Graduate School from reading about Dr. Albert Ellis. Ellis developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy which is considered one of the cornerstones to Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Now you don?t need to master or learn either of these therapies in order to get leverage on your shyness. We are only going to take one small ? teeny portion of them to bust it.

Ellis reported that he too suffered from shyness and felt too scared to talk to women. So (I am relying on memory here) he came up with a plan. His plan, if he followed through, would make his shyness around women virtually impossible. By the way, this works equally well for women who feel shy around men too.

Anyway, he had the idea if he could simply talk to 100 women, that he will have faced his fears so many times, shyness would be impossible. Thus, he spent time one summer at a local park during the day. Whenever he saw a woman sitting on a park bench, he?d sit down on the other side of the bench. If she didn?t leave, he?d strike up a conversation.

I don?t think he asked any of them out on dates, but he found that all or nearly all of them were cordial to him. But all in all, it didn?t really matter that much, all he wanted to do was get to 100. He reported this experiment ended his shyness around women 100%.

Ellis? Method Circa 1990

Back then, when I first learned his method I was nervous. I thought, ?I bet that would work wonders for me, but? I don?t know?? It seemed a little weird hanging out at parks waiting for people to sit down. Yet, that idea stuck in my craw for days. I simply had to figure out a way that I would be able to do it.

What I found instead was that it was easier for me to get in 100 chats and checkmarks by talking to people in malls, banks and restaurants. Whenever I was out and about, I gave myself checkmarks if I could do 3 simple tasks.

1. Look the other person directly in the eye

2. Say ?Hi?

3. Start a conversation that was more in depth than ?how are you?? ?I am fine.?

Similar to Ellis, I found that most people were happy to speak with me. Lots of people are bored with their jobs; some although working with the public felt lonely, because nobody ever seemed to care how they were doing ? only what they were doing, ie. Handling money, serving coffee, etc.

Fact is, that by taking the Ellis challenge, with an ?Isaac? spin to it, you won?t just be helping yourself, you?ll be helping others who are shy and lonely too. Maybe not all of them, but plenty my friend, plenty.

I don?t know if I ever made it to 100, I really don?t care, because somewhere it all clicked into place. I had so many good experiences, there was no going back. I was gabbing with people in line at the grocery store, picking the brains of librarians, arguing movie titles at Blockbuster, you name it. Overall, I began to look forward to this adventure.

I don?t remember than anyone was mean or rude. A few probably didn?t have the time, and that was ok. I just moved on to the next.

Say Goodbye to Shyness

I suggest if you want to take the wind out of your shyness sails, you resolve right here and now to follow through with this experiment. Keep a notepad in your pocket and a pen handy. The goal is 100 conversations which consist of the following 3 steps:

1. Look the other person directly in the eye

2. Say ?Hi?

3. Start a conversation that was more in depth than ?how are you?? ?I am fine.?

Don?t cheat yourself and don?t take it too seriously. You aren?t going to your own funeral. You might be wondering what you should say. That?s not for me to decide because it wouldn?t be you. What you want to do is to be 100% authentic and yourself. Say ?hi? and then be you? Oh and don?t forget your points.

So are you excited? Thrilled? Nauseous? No matter, I felt all those things too. But I didn?t feel this way for long. After 10 and it starts getting more natural. You start getting into the swing of things. After 20 you?ll be feeling more confident. You can knock this out in a day if you are determined. Keep your eye on the prize. 100 checkmarks and a lifetime free from shyness.

Like I said, if you have any questions or concerns post them below.

You can do it!

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August 14, 2007 at 3:06 am

I like this site, very reasonable advice that makes sense and not overwhelming for the more reserved people out there.

good job!

Brad Isaac August 15, 2007 at 10:39 pm

Hi ejoe and welcome. Thanks for the support!

August 21, 2007 at 11:21 pm

Brilliant advice. I think that first check mark is undoubtedly the most difficult. I’ve always had a hard time talking to new people, but what have I got to lose?

Thanks for another great post!

Rob August 26, 2007 at 11:16 pm

Awesome advice. I’ve done this by accident trying to get a petition signed; after a few signatures I was doing much better. The problem is that it’s easy to fall back to your ways if you let yourself.

August 27, 2007 at 11:18 am

Just need to psyche yourself into it and it’ll all come naturally after the initial “Hi”

NERO October 4, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Great site. Nice and refreshing to see someone address these issues w/out telling us we should act like a “jerk” to succeed, or that we have to be “cocky and funny” and gently tease or insult the girl. I prefer the straightforward approach. The thing is I RARELY “approach”; shyness. Should be a capital S really. Usually if I see a female I’m interested in, all I do is …nothing. And / or then I spend a long time wondering “what if”, could we be a good match, etc etc. Recently I decided to talk to and ask out a young lady who teaches at a school I go to at night for foreign language studies. It was very very awkward-feeling because we didn’t know each other. But we had chatted a little bit earlier in the evening, and I thought there might be a chance, so I just decided to not waste anymore time on “wondering” about this, and so afterwards I went and talked to her and asked her out for a cup of coffe. Well, the results weren’t what I was hoping; she’s actually married (I can’t be blamed — wasn’t wearing the ring). But she was very cool about it and everything. Sure it was a bit of a letdown , but how would I have ever even found this much out unless I had broken the shyness curse and asked. This way I don’t have to go on for weeks and weeks silently “wondering” and wasting time dwelling on it. Personally I think it was a good step and the right thing to do, even though the result wasn’t what I had hoped for.

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