Improvement Pill here
A very interesting study was conducted in 2000
at Cornell University by Professor Thomas Gilovich.
He took groups of students and randomly selected
one individual from each group.
He then told the rest of the students
to show up to a certain room at a certain time
to work on a quote-unquote project.
It’s very important to note that all of the seats in this room were positioned in a way
so that everyone was facing the door.
He then took the singled out individuals
purposely stalled them a bit and had them wear a t-shirt with a well-known person on it
such as Martin Luther King or Bob Marley.
He then told that individual to go to the room
knowing that they would be late
and also knowing that all of the other students
would look up at the door and notice who was coming in.
This experiment was supposed to replicate an embarrassing event.
The singled out individuals knew
that there were the only ones who were late,
and they were led to believe that everyone else noticed by the fact
that everyone looked up when they walked into the room.
After the experiment,
the researchers asked these embarrassed individuals
“how many of the students do you think remembered
the incidents vividly”,
and on average these singled out individuals reported
that 50% of all the other students would be able to recall the event
and the shirt that they were wearing
because well they messed up,
and they were absolutely sure that a large chunk of people in the room noticed.
But what the researchers actually found was that only 10%
of the students in that room
were able to recall the event and the t-shirt,
five times less than what our embarrassed individuals thought.
What this experiment discovered is what’s called the spotlight effect.
We humans often overestimate how much others care
about our negative and also positive actions.
We think that the spotlight is on us,
that everyone is looking at us and judging us
when in reality the large majority of people simply don’t care.
And this is a very very important concept
that you need to internalize if you are struggling with social anxiety.
See, the main reason we feel anxious around others
is because we feel like they’re watching us and judging us.
We’re scared to act how we want to be ourselves
because we don’t want to risk people looking down on us.
We don’t want others to dislike us.
But in reality the large majority of people simply don’t care that much about you.
I know this sounds like a bad thing
but it’s just human nature.
Most people are stuck in their own heads
and are thinking about themselves, not you.
The moment you internalize this concept
and genuinely start believing in it,
your levels of social anxiety will drop significantly.
But of course this is much easier said than done.
How in the world can we get ourselves to truly truly believe
in the spotlight effect?
Well today I’m gonna show you a simple two-step process that I personally used
to drill this concept into my own head
Step 1: you need to become more aware of your own thoughts.
The large majority of us are oblivious to the fifty to seventy thousand thoughts
that we have on average every single day,
which is why you need to start building
a mindfulness habit like meditation
where you try to clear your head and try to focus on one thing like your breathing.
努力清空大脑 仅专注于一件事 比如呼吸
When you build a mindfulness practice like this,
you will become 10 times more aware of how you think,
and you will also start to notice that
the large majority of your own thoughts are about yourself,
past events, future concerns,
worrying about what others think, that sort of stuff
You’ll notice that less than 1% of your own thoughts will be about other people
that you come across randomly throughout the day
Step 2: once you’ve started becoming more aware of your own thoughts,
you can start doing another mental exercise,
one that I like to call “the swapping shoes exercise”.
This is when you go to a public place and pick out a random individual.
Then you focus focus focus, and you try your hardest
然后将注意力集中 集中 再集中
to imagine what’s going on in their head,
imagine that you’re in their shoes living their life.
What problems are they currently facing?
What are they currently worrying or stressing out about?
What sort of insecure thoughts are going on in their head?
What other things do you think they’re thinking about?
Allow yourself to really imagine being in their shoes,
and also imagine what sort of thoughts are going on in their head.
By doing this exercise, you will start to condition yourself to believe
that others spend the majority of their time
thinking about their own problems and themselves, which is actually true.
The more you do this,
the more you will internalize the spotlight effect,
which in turn will allow you to start feeling less and less social anxiety
as you start to realize that people just aren’t paying that much attention to you
It might sound a bit sad to realize this,
but in reality, you’ll feel a huge weight being lifted off of your shoulders.
You will feel free.
This episode is sponsored by Blinkist.
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