Do you avoid people because small talk makes you nervous? Do you stay quiet even when you have a great idea in a business meeting or when you know the answer to a question in class? Is there something holding you back when you should speak up? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then perhaps Erik Myers’ book “Overcoming Shyness” is for you.
Overcoming Shyness is a simple and easy-to-read self-help book written for everyone who is shy or living with social anxiety. The purpose with this work is to help you overcome your shyness, improve your social skills, and let you feel more comfortable in your own skin so you can “express your true self.”
This book is written for all the people out there who need to overcome their crippling shyness and move on with their life. Overcoming Shyness is divided into two sections. The first section, Mindset, will help you understand what makes you shy and how you need to change you way of thinking to overcome shyness.
The second section, Back-pocket tips, describes some pragmatic tips and techniques on how to handle real-life situations to help you become less shy while building social skills.
The book is simple, practical, and easy to read. More importantly, if you’re a shy person, it may have a great impact on your life.
Who is the Author?
Erik Myers, the author of this book, is a sports-loving guy who happened to be very shy.
That shyness combined with low self-esteem turned into social anxiety over the years. Erik was so shy during his school years that he earned the moniker “Most quiet” from his classmates. Socializing was painful for him; all the time he was over analyzing everything he did or said. He had this voice in his head that was constantly critiquing his every action.
Erik had two different strategies to handle his anxiety in social situations. One was a good strategy, while the other one was a disaster. The first strategy was doing sports, Erik really loved sports, especially swimming, and while doing sports he forgot about his shyness and anxiety.
The other strategy were drinking and partying as much as possible. He was doing this a lot just to handle his low self-esteem. At the time, Erik believed that alcohol helped him to open up and start socializing with people. Of course, this was a bad solution and only helped while he was drunk; he was still the shy guy and feeling anxiety the next day when he woke up with a hangover.
In 2011, he stumbled upon a personal development book and made some lifestyle changes like doing yoga, lifting weights, and talking with a counselor. Six months later he had an “ah-ha!” moment that would forever change his life. Since then, Erik has married and moved to Maui with his wife, where they run a successful online fitness business.
Erik writes from his own experience. He tells us his own story about his journey and how he overcame his shyness.
Your True Self
In this book, Erik talks a lot about “your True Self”. He means that when we are being shy and thinking thoughts that make us anxious and fearful we are being “our false self”. Our True Self is when we are thinking thoughts that make us have better self-esteem and makes us feel in harmony with life; we are connected and feeling good.
First Section: Mindset
Fear is a reason for shyness. It is a fear of what others think about us. A shy person cares too much about what other people think of them and overanalyzes all interactions they are part of. In this section, Erik teaches us how to shift our focus outwards, so we are less self-conscious and have our attention on other people and on our environment. This makes us feel more comfortable and more connected to others.
Another mindset shift is changing your beliefs. For this, Erik recommends a well-known tool called the success cycle, it’s a tool that explains how your beliefs impacts your results and how you can change your beliefs to the better. A short description of success cycle is: potential leads to action, which produces result and reinforces belief.
Erik also talks about visualization, which is another powerful tool for changing your beliefs. When you visualize being a more confident person it will be easier to act that way in public.
What is the story about you that the voice in your head is telling you; does the story make you confident or shy and quiet? If it is not to your advantage then perhaps it’s time to change that, and in this book will explain how to do that.
This book teaches us that the key to overcoming shyness is to get outside your comfort zone and reach for your dreams, especially when there is a risk of rejection. Your goals and dreams should be more exciting than the fear of achieving them, so in this book Erik goes deep on goal setting.
Erik also recommends talking with a counselor. Throughout this book he mentions how much it helped him on his journey to overcome shyness.
We also get to learn why you should surround yourself with social people. The people around you influence you and if you only hang out with shy friends, you will not come out from your comfort zone. If you instead befriend social people you will automatically become more social.
Second Section: Your Back-Pocket Tips
The second section of the about practical advice on overcoming shyness and building social skills. This section starts with a smiling exercise. Erik talks about how he started to smile to people on his way to Spanish class early in the mornings and how this first felt scary and a bit strange, but when he tried it out it made him instantly feel better. Erik means that when you smile and look happy you will give a different kind of energy and not only will you feel good, but other people will see you and get a good vibe and they’ll starts initiating conversations with you more often
Then we learn the importance of good, confident body language. Fifty-five percent of our communication is non verbal, 38% is our tone, and only 8 percent is what we say. Erik teaches us some simple methods how to improve our body language instantly.
Then Erik teaches us to practice talking to people who just happen to be right in front of us. He gives us the opener “Hi, how are you”, the opener doesn’t have to be better than that. Erik emphasizes that it is more important to get the conversation started than to have the perfect opener. Then he goes on and tells us how important it is to be a good listener and how to ask good questions, he gives us many good tips on how to keep on a conversation. I really like this part of the book, how Erik simplifies something that many shy people thinks is complicated.
Erik also teaches us that the most important thing is to take action. I does not help reading all the books in the world if you don’t take action. Then he shares a great technique on how to make it easier to take action.
The key takeaways from this book are outward focus, changing your beliefs, setting exiting goals for your life, body language, and how to handle conversations.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely, I do. This is a good book for any shy person on his/her path to change and build social skills. Erik’s message for shy guys is that if it’s possible for one shy person to overcome shyness, then it must be possible for all shy people; but remember, it’s not enough to just read this book, you need to take action.
If you read this book and practice the teachings in real life and stick it for three to six months, you will see results. You will become more social and feel less anxiety.
This book is especially good for a beginner who is new to personal development and has not read so many of these kinds of books.
You can buy this book from Amazon on this link.
Or you can listen to the audio for free with this YouTube link.
I also recommend Sean Coopers book “Shyness and social anxiety system”, it has a different approach on overcoming shyness, it’s a great complement to Erik’s book. You can read my review here: What is The Shyness and Social Anxiety System?