Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Okay, so I have a new toy and I'm a bit enthusiastic about posting in it. If I'm going too fast, tell me to slow down. I'll be going into a lot more detail later on looking at various techniques/exercises you can use that will develop skills to overcome SA. For now, I've got some more fundamentals for you. This is nothing to do with anxiety of any form but a very useful and simple concept in making friends.

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote his international best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. It still circulates today (I have a copy sitting in front of me) and is a highly regarded piece of work amongst those go-getting business suit types. Personally, I don't feel it's a perfect composition and probably slightly dated in this modern age, but you simply can't deny the significance of the fundamental points brought to light in this book. Here's an extract:

'Why read this book to find out how to win friends? Why not study the technique of the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known? Who is he? You may meet him tomorrow coming down the street. When you get within ten feet of him he will begin to wag his tail. If you stop and pat him he will almost jump out of his skin to show you how much he likes you. And you know that behind this show of affection on his part, there are no ulterior motives: he doesn't want to sell you any real estate, and he doesn't want to marry you.'

'Did you ever stop to think that a dog is the only animal that doesn't have to work for a living? A hen has to lay eggs, a cow has to give milk, a canary has to sing. But a dog makes his living by giving you nothing but love.'
- Dale Carnegie

Here's some more:

'You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you'
- Dale Carnegie

Let's be honest, most people don't give a shit about what you get up to at work or how much you paid for your coffee. They care about what they get up to at work and how much they paid for their coffee. Now and again you do meet people who appear to show a genuine interest in your life. Take a look at them. They are the people who have more friends than they know what to do with. All anyone wants is to feel loved, just as you do.

I remember my first day at college. Most of you will have been in a similar situation where you're thrown into a class full of people you have never met before in your life. It's not the ideal place for the typical SAer. After my solo lunch break in the car I made my way back to the class. I must've been early because there was no one else there, apart from one other guy. Regardless of my usual 'don't come near me!' body language he immediately struck up a conversation about the seemingly perilis and friendless situation we were in. The first thing that befuddled me was that this really confident guy showed clear signs of fear when presented with the idea of making friends, but that's another story. The second thing that left me perplexed was the fact that he seemed genuinely interested in my situation as well as his. For the few years I would periodically bump into him after that he always asked me how I was doing and always showed an interest in not only me, but every other person he encountered. Did he make friends that week? He made more friends than would last him a lifetime. I've always held a lot of appreciation for him myself, simply because he showed an interest in me, even when I gave him very little in return his enthusiasm never faded.

If you can become genuinely interested in other people, and show it, you will never have a shortage of friends.


Some of you may be familiar with a Mr Anthony Robbins. Yeah, he's the guy with the pearly white teeth on the late night infomercials living out the American dream and telling you how you can live out that dream too.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of the Californian approach to self-help. I can't help but feel these people are living in a different reality to myself, and that is no bad thing, how you want to live your life is up to you, there are no rights and wrongs, it's just that their way of living is not one that appeals to me. But that doesn't mean they they have nothing useful to say. If you can stomach the nauseating lectures and listen below the surface then you'll realise that people like Tony Robbins are actually onto something. One thing that appears to be universal throughout the self-help community is to start your day on the right foot. Robbins refers to this as the hour of power, and I include this because it directly follows from my previous entry about thoughts.

I know myself, I often get up, turn on my computer, check my emails then log into the usual message forums. Besides the usual negativity in SA forums they do nothing to inspire me in my day ahead. After about 20 minutes I've went through all the new posts, by which time I've settled into my chair. I don't want to move. So what do I do? I refresh the page to check for new posts since I logged in. It's not all that unusual for me to still be sitting there at 11pm, completely ashamed of my existence! I don't know about you but that's not my idea of a productive day. My most productive days come about when I decline the urge to log into the intellect dissolving pastures of online communities and start off on my positive foot. The worst thing you can possibly do when rising out of bed is to sink into a chair with the negativity you woke up with.

As soon as you wake up, before you have the chance to review your negative introspection you need to consciously ask yourself what you're grateful for. And before you begin to tell me how you've got nothing to be grateful for, I'm going to stop you there, you're being a bum! There is always something to be grateful for. It may be the roof over your head, your good health, the repeat of your favourite TV show at 9pm, your family, your friends, this computer, etc. Find something you're grateful for. What do you enjoy? Quickly move on and tell yourself you're going to have a good day, no matter how dull the prospect is you have the power to create. Jump out of bed and get moving, learn to love yourself and appreciate yourself for what you are. If you can believe you're going to have a good day then that is what you will have, the events of that day will have little influence. Once out of bed get that shower and feeling fresh, and if you're feeling really brave dig out the running shoes from the back of the cupboard. Get moving, build on that enthusiasm and feed yourself the energy you need. You can do what you like, you're the boss, just make sure it's positive and that you're thinking positively. This is the most important time of the day as it sets your mood for what is to come, and if you're going to avoid this positivity now, don't hold any hopes for it miraculously showing up later in the day, you've got to create this and there is no time better than the present.

Anyhow, I know I haven't gone into any great detail but I'm trying to set some fundamental approaches that are essential to your mental well being. I can't stress enough how important it is to set your thoughts on the right track, the rest of this blog will require a good amount of positivity for it to be any use to you. You can find your own ways of doing this, and I'll also elaborate on techniques for doing so later on in the blog, but for now if you can grasp the importance in doing so you're off to a start.

And don't worry, I've also got some more characteristic SA stuff to go up next, I'm not gonna dwell on personal-development nuts like Anthony Robbins*.

*For anyone who doesn't know, Anthony Robbins is a motivational speaker in the field of personal development. He is nauseating, but he is also very good at what he does and I wouldn't like to put anyone off checking out his stuff.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


'Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.'
Mahatma Gandhi

Thoughts are the most important events to take place in anyone's life. The next most important thing is the way in which we manage them. Think about the following question for a second:

Who are you? You don't need to go too far into this, I'm not asking you about your spirituality, keep it straight forward, how would you describe yourself in one small paragraph?

Ok, let me tell you now, that is not who you are. That is who you think you are. But what if I were to tell you that you are who you think you are. Read that again. You are who you think you are. In other words you are what you think.

If you're having a crap day, it's not because the day is crap. Someone else in the same house living practically the same life may be having a good day. Why are they having a good day and you're having a crap day. The only possible logical reason is that you've got a head full of crap thoughts. Ok, so you got dumped by your girlfriend/boyfriend, or you missed your favourite TV show, or you had a run in with the boss at work. Those are factors that will influence how you feel, and sometimes it's healthy to feel crap. But those influences don't dictate your life, they are nothing more than influence. If you dwell on those negative thoughts for longer than needs be, then you're prolonging your feeling of crapness. When you prolong your feeling of crapness you head into all kinds of problems: depression, stress, anxiety, etc.

This is fundamental. If you are what you think, then you can think yourself back to feeling good. You can think yourself back to feeling positive. You don't need to go anywhere, you don't need to spend money on a magic cure, you just need to manage your thoughts. Right now I'm not going so far as to tell you how to manage your thoughts precisely, this will no doubt be covered in several entries. I only include this article as the opener because it's the fundamental starting ground, it's the holy grail, and if you can at the very least keep this in mind you'll be heading off on the right foot. Good thoughts will equate to a good life. Your thoughts are everything that you are, do and see, they are your home, so look after them.


Blogs are cool, everyone knows that. If you ain't got a blog, you ain't shit.

Fortunately for you, this blog has a purpose. What I intend to do here is raise awareness of social anxiety, offer knowledge, but most importantly develop an action plan that can be used to successfully overcome your social fears.

Okay, I said 'develop'...

'You're kidding, right? You suck. You haven't got any idea what you're doing have you?'

Feel free to get back to that game of online pool. If you want to stick around, then feel free to do that too, don't let me make your mind up.

If you're looking for a quick fix then I suggest you go down to your local and buy some heroin, this isn't the place for you. If you want to alleviate your social fears then prepare yourself for some work. I can't do this for you. To be frank, I'm here to help myself. I'm no personal development guru, I have no fortunes to boast about, I have no glittering success stories to woo you with, but instead I'm going to be doing this myself, for the first time in my life acting on the knowledge I've sucked up through the ages. Rather than reeling off problem after problem, the aim here is solution after solution. I'm going to be finding out what works, what doesn't, and why. In the process you will be able to see for yourself how to develop and act upon your own plan in an analytical way that works. If you want to improve, then there is only one way, and that is to get out there and do it, make it your hobby, become an enthusiast.

Of course, SA will differ between individuals and the processes may not always be exactly the same, but the fundamental practices which deal with the core problems should, I expect to find, be universal.

If you care to do so, then feel free to join me in my experimentation. It'll work, I'm making sure of that.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome.


Social anxiety has many characteristics and surprisingly for some does not always include shyness. Social anxiety is simply a fear of social situations, regardless of how you act within them.

Ok, so we all fear social situations at some point in our lives. We fear rejection, we fear embarrassment, we have a whole range of fears which serve to protect us, all of which are healthy anxieties. It is when these fears become irrational and problematic in our lives that we are beginning to enter into the realms of social anxiety. For some it is a massively debilitating fear affecting every aspect of their lives, day and night. For others it may be centered around specific aspects of their social lives, sometimes popping up randomly, seemingly without cause. The common denominator in all cases is that it revolves around social situations with anxiety debilitating enough to affect your quality of life.

It's really not rocket science, but if you're still unsure, take a look at the link provided at the top of this article (click on the title), you will find some clear definitions.

Social anxiety will mostly be referred to as 'SA' from now on.