My whole life, I’ve lived in social anxiety. I’ve avoided countless conversations that could’ve benefited my life in numerous ways. Doctor visits, talking to my favorite musicians, professional meetings at work, asking questions in class, asking girls out, and the list of missed opportunities goes on and on. I consistently find myself in a state of regret when I think of past opportunities that I let pass by. No longer.
Regret is a powerful emotion. I’ve allowed myself to dwell in it for too long. The way to deal with regret is to move on from the past promise yourself that you’ll never repeat the same mistakes again. To stop repeating my social avoidance, I need to create tools to be able to talk to anyone I want to. Once I have the courage to speak to anyone I want to, I’ll never have to regret avoiding a social situation again.
Why do I tend to avoid social situations? Fear. From my perspective, the two main reasons why I avoid social situations: the fear of looking like a fool, the fear of rejection. It could be because I don’t know the perfect thing to say. The fear I have is a call to action. Whenever we feel fear, it’s a sign that we need to prepare for something. Afraid of giving a speech? Practice it. Afraid of spiders? Learn about them and play with them. To combat social anxiety, we can utilize our fear to overcome it.
Social Engagement Challenge
To overcome my social anxiety, I’ve come up with the Social Engagement Challenge. I will be diving head first into my fears of social situations. Given enough practice, I’ll surely overcome this fear and be able to live free of regret due to social avoidance.
What types of situations have I been scared of in the past? I tend to clam up in front of people I don’t know very well. Once I get to know someone, I can be a lot more open with them. Thus, I should focus on people that I don’t know. I also don’t want to rely on crutches such as alcohol to be able to talk to people. These are the things that influenced the goal I created:
Result: Engage in 100 sober conversations with people I’ve never spoken to in ways that challenge my current level of social ability in 90 days.
Why is this important? It’s one thing to set some to-do for yourself, but you’re never going to do something unless you realize the purpose behind it. I’ve noticed instances in the past where I’ve let social anxiety get the best of me. Rather than dwell on the past, let’s consider various outcomes I must achieve in my life that having more social engagement abilities will be important to have:
- I will be at PAX West 2018 as an indie game developer showing players the projects that I’ve worked. I must be pumped up and socially engaging to draw people to realize that my games will have value to them.
- To grow my business, I must engage people I’ve never met for various reasons: hiring developers and artists, marketing my game and blog, etc. More social engagement skills will help dramatically with this area of my life.
- My ultimate desire is to have a loving family I can grow. Improving my social engagement abilities will help me find a healthy, passionate relationship that will lead to this family.
- I must have as many skills and experiences possible to enable my future kids to live the lives of their dreams in states of maximum happiness and minimum suffering. Mastering the skills around social engagement is crucial to this goal. I want my kids to be able to engage anyone they desire without stumbling in fears of social anxiety leading the same regret I faced.
- The learnings I take from this will give me enough tools to be able to overcome my fear of social situations and live free from regret due to social avoidance.
- Learn how to overcome the disappointment of rejection by continuous growth and persistence.
Remember, the more reasons you find to do something, the more you will go out of your way to do it. If you ever find yourself struggling to do something, think of at least three reasons why it can be important to you. Re-reading my result and purpose every day helps me stay focused towards the goal I’m trying to complete.
To become the best you can be as a game developer and in general, you need to be able to engage people in conversation. For some people, it’s easy. For others, like myself, it can be challenging. I firmly believe that if we are afraid of something irrational, we need to face it boldly head on, so I must master the art of social engagement and post my progress every week.
If you want to follow my progress, be sure to follow me on social media. The more support I have, the easier it will be! This email list will keep you up to date with my social engagement posts: