Put Yourself Out There

It’s pretty common in technology-related professions to be shy. Lots of people that get into this profession do so under the mistaken impression that they won’t have to deal with people as frequently. That may have worked at one point, but the average software project is so complicated these days that you can no longer count on being the only person you are around. Further, if you really would like to be more comfortable with people and can’t figure out how to get there, this episode will help you.

If you’re painfully shy, a lot of times it’s a response to bad situations that happened much earlier in your life. While human beings have different temperaments that may or may not be partially genetic. However, much of your worst fear, especially the kind of fear that ruins your life, is probably learned. While you aren’t at fault for what you experienced, you do have within you the power to start fixing it so that the damage stops.

Episode Breakdown

16:55 Hang out with outgoing people.

If your circle of friends is painfully shy, that will seem normal. You don’t want that to seem normal. Outgoing friends will normalize more outgoing behavior, be examples of how to do it, and will often drive you towards it.

22:20 Start with small, slightly uncomfortable goals and work your way out.

You aren’t going to be a conference speaker first thing, but you might smalltalk with the cashier at Popeye’s. Choose things that are just a little ways outside your comfort zone. Pay attention to the difference between what you think might happen and what happens. The thing is, our brains are designed to anticipate danger and avoid it. Prior trauma is processed as danger. If you push on the goal consistently, you’ll one day look up to find you’ve long since achieved it.

26:25 Pick goals that force you to confront the programming of your own traumas.

Painful experiences have a way of looming large in the mind. You’ll tend to see potential pain in things that “might” go wrong in the same way, even years later. It takes constant forcing yourself into discomfort to break through that.

28:55 Speak to strangers as often as you can.

Force yourself to say “good morning” and look people in the eye. Intentionally. Learn to smile at and tell jokes to strangers in appropriate circumstances. Learn to ask for directions or restaurant suggestions. Frequent a restaurant or two that you like and get to know the wait staff.

32:25 Fix your health, appearance, and mental health.

It’s hard to make yourself feel like you’ve improved if you feel/look like crap. Take especial care of your body weight, sleep, and mental health. This may mean setting some boundaries so that you can thrive. Try to dress a little better and pay conscious attention to your appearance. If you’ve been telling yourself you aren’t worthy, your appearance is more liable to reflect that than not.

36:25 Master smalltalk and getting people to talk about themselves.

Make people earn knowing more about you. Get them to talk about themselves. Be comfortable with small talk. Yes, you want to talk about more substantial stuff, but it’s ok to start there. Look for reasons to talk to people that you want to talk to. “Is that soup spicy?” Find out what people like and try it. If you like it too, now you have a starting point for further conversation.

42:30 Monitor your self-talk and self-sabotaging tendencies.

Stop saying “I’m stupid” or even “I’m shy”. You’ve done dumb stuff or been shy in the past. That’s all. Say better stuff. We believe the crap we say to ourselves, so pick better crap. Don’t just find cocky things to think about yourself. Start working on backing them up. Eventually self talk + action = truth.

49:05 Improve your strengths and embrace failure until it stops.

You will fail at stuff you do, even if you are good at it. Embrace the failure as part of the process. It’s fine to work on your weaknesses, but often the work pays off more quickly if you work on strengths. You may find that a lot of weaknesses go away or change with greater self-confidence.

52:00 Find your triggers and desensitize them where possible.

Situations will remind you of painful things in the past. Lean into those. You’ll probably find that either your bad experience was a one-off or wasn’t as bad as you remember if you’ve grown since. Overcome your fear of trying again after failure. This isn’t skydiving, where you make a crater when you fail. When something is setting the old pain off, try to use the situation to force yourself to take the beating with the goal being simply not letting them knock you down. Learn the art of reframing the difficulty.

55:25 You have to want it badly enough. Search for rock bottom.

You’re not going to fix this stuff if you are happy/comfortable “enough” with things as they are. You’ll eventually find yourself at a point where it can’t go on like it is. Remember that you will die someday, and choose to live on the other days. Don’t be afraid of your anger. Be afraid of it boiling and having nowhere for the steam to go. View your anger as a symptom, not as a disease.

IoTease: Project

Smart Circuit Breaker

We’ve all been there. We overloaded an outlet or plugged just one too many things into a circuit. Or if you are electric savvy you may have done some rewiring or replacing older electric outlets and switches. In any case most of us have had to deal with a circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are a multibillion-dollar market. Eaton, a major manufacturer, is field testing smart circuit breakers. Most of the circuit breakers we’ve all seen are simple electromechanical devices. These new breakers will be more like small smart devices with connectivity and computing power. They will be able to connect to a smartphone or smart meter. They will be able to better measure energy usage and help settle billing disputes as well as load control on devices.

Tricks of the Trade

We are fountains, not statues. You aren’t something. You aren’t nothing. You can be something or be nothing. It is your choice. We are the results of our choices.

Editor’s Notes:

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