If you could snap your finger and have either wealth, power, or admiration which one would you choose? (assuming they were mutually exclusive) 

How about the person who aspires to be the life and soul of the party? Are they motivated by gaining admiration?

How about a prime minister/president, or full-time politician? what's their motive? they could clearly make more money as a business person, so perhaps they are drawn to the power...

Try the following little exercise of self-negotiation and you will discover a surprising answer to these questions.

And by doing so you will also discover how to stop being shy and quiet, and take more control in your life.

The exercise contains a short series of questions designed to reveal the highest intention behind any behaviour.

As you are not in front of me and I can’t anticipate what you might answer, I will instead pose AND answer the questions as though I was quizzing my twenty-year-old self…

Once you have read through them, try applying the questioning structure to yourself and your own desire to get over shyness.

Q1. Why were you the way you were?

A1. I was so quiet and shy in company because I didn’t want people to notice me and put their attention on me…

Q2. Why didn’t you want people to notice you?

A2. I didn’t want them to think I was an empty vessel. In truth I felt absolutely no passion or interest for almost all conversation topics and had nothing to contribute. 

Q3. Why didn’t you want them to think you was an empty vessel?

A3. Because they would have looked down on me and dismissed me as insignificant and not worthy of attention. 

Q4. OK, what is the opposite of being looked down on and dismissed as insignificant?

A4. Being considered significant and being looked up to.

Q5. And why do you want people to look up to you?

A5. Because it feels good to have other people’s admiration and respect

I have not scripted these questions in advance so my answers have not been altered to help you understand the process. That would not have been authentic.

That aside, you can see, each question focused on the response from the previous answer. If you keep interrogating each of your own answers in this way, you will eventually arrive at the highest intention for your behaviour.

*By question four, I was in danger of becoming stuck in a loop, so to short cut the questioning for the benefit of this post I turned the question on its head.

As you can see, the highest intention for my shy and quiet behaviour was that I wanted to feel good and be respected.  Now doesn’t that sound very much like the same intention behind why another person would try to take control and be the leader in a given situation? 

They are simply going about achieving it in a very different, and far more effective, way than my much younger self was.  Incidentally, there can be many different intentions behind a particular behaviour, security being one common intention. 

P.S This question structure comes from an NLP (Neuro Linguistics Programming) Parts Integration Strategy, and is intended for use with people who are in conflict with themselves.

When a person has two opposing desires (such as craving the company of others yet wanting to be left alone at the same time), this strategy is used to discover the highest intention of both sides in this internal war.

The highest intention of both sides invariably turns out to be the same, at which point an agreement to share internal resources can be reached as the two sides integrate.

L I F E   C O N F I D E N T ' S


The Shyness & Social Anxiety Breakthrough Program


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