We’re told that public speaking is one of the most dreaded things to do – one of the most feared. And yet, for some people, they just love the thrill of it. Some people love going to parties and meeting lots of people, while others dread it.
So, what’s that all about?
You’re probably saying to yourself: well that’s because they have a certain kind of personality. Some people are just naturally more adept at public speaking or mingling effortlessly at parties.
But, is that really the reason?
Could it be that we all have our own set of thinking about who we are and what we can and can’t do?
For decades, I believed that I wasn’t cut out for public speaking – that I was more suited for small intimate groups – I was intent on never putting myself on a stage with a large group of people staring at me.
This was a belief I carried with me - I told myself over and over that this was the truth about me. Speaking in public was the villain that I convinced myself I should avoid at all costs – I was its victim.
And I had a lot of evidence to back me up. How often I had heard or read about how difficult it was to speak publicly. Public speaking was compared to dying! The belief that public speaking is the most dreaded thing to do is so ubiquitous that it’s become a truth. A fact that we just accept.
But the truth is: the only thing that was between me and public speaking was a lot of thinking and a lot of NOT practicing. I was a dedicated victim of my thoughts.
When we tell ourselves over and over that something is hard or difficult – and we do this for decades - that’s us feeding the machine of our brains. And so, it makes perfect sense that we should automatically feel this way. What goes in, comes out.
But consider this: What if hard and easy are just made-up concepts – made up by us (with a little help from the outside world)?
If we didn’t label things as hard, difficult, scary, and frightening, we’d just get on with practicing how to get good at them (hint!). Yes, practice! We can’t do anything well unless we practice and develop the skill – and public speaking is no exception.
Can you imagine if your parents told you when you were an infant: Be really careful about walking on your two legs. It’s terrifying. You’re going to wobble like crazy. Most people don’t do well at it. They fall down many times. People will laugh at your attempts. You have to have the right personality to walk well.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?