Browsing: Courage and Anxiety

How to Overcome the Fear of ‘Putting Yourself Out There’

In honor of Arianna Huffington’s marvelous book THRIVE, I want to write about a very specific aspect of well-being: freedom from fear of sharing one’s ideas.


Celebrated Mathematician Forgets Shyness When Focused Upon Passion


Yitang Zhang, admittedly shy, is facing the uncomfortable glare of the spotlight after recently solving one of math’s great problems. Click through for his astounding story.


Gandhi Explains Why Restraint Was His Greatest Asset


Excerpt from “Quiet” | Chapter: “Soft Power

In the West, passivity is a transgression. To be “passive,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means to be “acted upon by an external agency.” It also means to be “submissive.” Gandhi himself ultimately rejected the phrase “passive resistance,” which he associated with weakness, preferring satyagraha, the term he coined to mean “firmness in pursuit of truth.”


The Yin and Yang of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.


How I Quit My Job & Became a Writer

Here are five counter-intuitive pieces of advice, drawn from my own experience.


“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is…”

Mary Anne Radmacher, author, artist and professional speaker, illustrates her personal definition of courage: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying: I will try again tomorrow.” ➤ Enjoy  more inspirational prints by @Mary Anne Radmacher @ Applied Insight.


Resources to Help Extroverts and Introverts Understand Each Other

Recently I received a letter from a reader named “Lily” who describes herself as extremely quiet and shy.  Lily is part of a women’s group called the “Super Women Sisterhood” which is comprised of eight very boisterous, extroverted women.  When Lily attends the meetings she feels invisible and overwhelmed, and she worries that the women […]


Internet Dating – Is It Brutal or Beautiful for Introverts? A Case Study w/Julia & Matt

Dear Friends, Today, a heartwarming love story from Matt and Julia Triplett — who met online via the Quiet Revolution! Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. “One night in early 2012, Matt was reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain, about the joys and struggles of being an introvert in an extroverted world. […]


The Fears That Make Us (Unnecessarily) Quake

It was my second week of middle school, and I was terrified about my first science test. I’d spent the last six years in a sheltered, easygoing primary school, and it was frightening to walk the noisy corridor of unfamiliar kids, the science lab looming at the end of the hallway. To cope, I told […]


From Moonlight to Courage | A Spirit’s Guide to Surviving Life’s Song

*Rich Day, one of this blog’s most active participants, shares a lovely story that’s guaranteed to give you what my mother-in-law calls a “leaky faucet moment.”  ~ Susan Both of my daughters, Christine and Shannon, took up the piano, along with all the lessons, the hours of practice, and the nervousness of performing at recitals.  […]


Is Great Courage (Im)possible? Thoughts on “John Donne’s People”

‘NO MAN IS AN ISLAND’ No man is an island entire of itself; every man  is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;  if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe  is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as  well as any manner of thy friends or […]


Your Playing Small Does Not Serve the World

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?… Your playing small does not serve […]


Um, Ah, Er: Does Hesitation Make You a Better Speaker?

Have you ever wished you could eradicate the “ums” and “ahs” right out of your conversation, and especially your public presentations? Turns out those verbal fillers may play an important role in establishing trust, according to this Slate magazine article by Michael Erard: “…”uh” and “um” don’t deserve eradication; there’s no good reason to uproot them. […]


Words to Live By — Courtesy of Lady Gaga

“When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.’” (This quote was passed on by the incomparable Debbie Stier, of The Perfect Score Project.)


Does Feminism Make Room for Shy or Introverted Girls?

Here’s an excerpt from a wonderful piece in Feministing by intellectual powerhouse Courtney Martin, questioning whether contemporary feminism makes room for shy or introverted girls. Courtney articulates something I’ve worried about for years – in our efforts to instill confidence in young women, are we promoting an ideal of sassy outspokenness that’s just as confining […]


Are You Shy, Introverted, Both, or Neither (and Why Does it Matter)?

Bill Gates is quiet and bookish, but apparently unfazed by others’ opinions of him: he’s an introvert, but not shy.

Barbra Streisand has an outgoing, larger than life personality, but a paralyzing case of stage fright: she’s a shy extrovert.

Shyness and introversion are not the same thing.


Seven Ideas on How to Overcome Fear and Become More Creative

When I was researching my upcoming book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I met a scientist performing groundbreaking work on the neurobiology of social anxiety. An articulate and seemingly confident man, he confided that his interest in the subject came from his own struggles with shyness. When I asked […]


Watch this Teacher Engage Shy Students Via Twitter

I’m quickly becoming a fan of social media in the classroom, especially for shy or introverted kids. Here’s a CNN video of a high school teacher using Twitter to reach his students, especially the shy ones. There is of course a danger that shy kids will become too reliant on these technologies to do the […]


7 Tips for Busting Through Fear and Being More Creative

When I was researching my upcoming book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I met a scientist performing groundbreaking work on the neurobiology of social anxiety. An articulate and seemingly confident man, he confided that his interest in the subject came from his own struggles with shyness. When I […]


If He Can Do It (Public Speaking), So Can You

If you fear public speaking, this story will inspire you. (It was posted on my Psychology Today blog, in response to my article on “Why You Fear Public Speaking, And What To Do About It.“) “My story is that I started out with SEVERE communication apprehension. It was so bad in my early twenties that […]


Question of the Week: When Should Parents Encourage Cautious Children to Push Beyond Their Fears?

Lately, I’ve been flooded with e-mails from readers asking me questions they’d like to see answered on this blog. So last week I introduced a popular new feature, the Question of the Week, in which I post the questions I see most frequently, and ask you to answer and discuss them via your comments. Last […]


How To Achieve Inner Peace (Courtesy of Pema Chodron)

Here’s a really interesting idea from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron: You can train yourself to cope with adversity by working with small grievances. When you get stuck with the middle seat on the airplane, for example, it’s so tempting to devolve into a blue funk of frustration. It feels good to feel aggrieved. Chodron calls […]


Five Ways To Beat Performance Anxiety

This post is in honor of my friend Daphna Stern, who will be singing at a benefit this weekend. Daphna is kind and radiant, and she has a naturally regal bearing and gorgeous voice. And yet, and yet, she’s shy, especially at the microphone. She asked me for tips on beating performance anxiety. My first […]


Public Speaking for Introverts (Courtesy of Robert F. Kennedy)

“Be yourself. Don’t feel you need to mimic the testosterone level of a motivational speaker. You will look and feel fake. Robert Kennedy never tried to copy Martin Luther King’s rhetorical skills. RFK was soft-spoken. He owned that. And as a result, was every bit as affecting as King.” This quote comes from a terrific Harvard […]


The First Female U.S. Army General to Lead Troops in Combat is an Introvert — Why Am I Not Surprised?

Charles Darwin once wrote: “A shy man no doubt dreads the notice of strangers, but can hardly be said to be afraid of them. He may be as bold as a hero in battle, and yet have no self-confidence about trifles in the presence of strangers.” Darwin might have been talking about Brigadier General Heidi […]


Introverts as Revolutionaries?

“SHY U.S. INTELLECTUAL CREATED PLAYBOOK USED IN A REVOLUTION.” This sounds like a headline that I might have dreamed up, but it comes from a recent New York Times article on Gene Sharp, an “exceedingly shy” 83 year old man who grows orchids, eschews the Internet, and writes influential papers like “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” […]


The Best Public Speaking Advice I’ve Ever Gotten…

…comes from T.J. Walker, a media trainer and speaking coach. He says that you should always practice your talk on videotape before you give your speech. It’s not enough to memorize it out loud, not enough to recite it in front of a mirror. You should do an honest-to-god dress rehearsal, to see if your […]


The “Last Blog Post”: Decision-Making for Cerebral People

NO, THIS IS NOT MY LAST BLOG POST! I’m only just getting started! A few days ago, a group of bloggers decided to write their “last post.” The premise was, if you had one last blog post to make before you died, what would you say? The inspiration for this project was The Last Lecture, […]


If You’re Not Excited to Get to Work Every Morning, Try This

“Imagine, for a moment, that you could wave a magic wand to ensure the approval and admiration of everyone on the planet, forever. In that case, what would you choose to do with your life?” —Todd Kashdan


QUIZ: Are You an Approacher, an Avoider — or Both? And Why Does it Matter?

Yesterday I posted about approach-avoidance conflicts, especially in the context of public speaking. If you feel anxious about speaking (or anything else), there’s a good chance that some of your discomfort can be traced to your ambivalent feelings about it. For example, public speaking feels inherently dangerous to me (avoidance), and yet I want to […]


Why You Fear Public Speaking, and What to Do About It

Over the years I’ve come to realize that my relationship to public speaking is one big approach/avoidance conflict. Since this is true of many people, and since approach/avoidance lies at the heart of many an emotional roadblock, let me share with you everything I’ve figured out on this topic: 1. If I didn’t care about […]

Quiet: The Book

- Wall Street Journal

Best Nonfiction Book of 2012

QUIET has been voted the best nonfiction book of 2012


1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.

2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our “heed-takers” more than ever.

3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

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