Here is the first part of a discussion we had a recent weekend bootcamp. This will give you a good idea about what my bootcamps are like! Stay tuned for the rest…

David: We just had a great discussion about the definition of social anxiety. I’m going to have Josh explain the meaning, and then we’ll get a bit deeper into it.

Social anxiety is a disease that runs rampant all over the world – but it’s a self-imposed affliction. Of course, the pharmaceutical companies will try to medicate you with everything – take Paxil, take this, take that – but the fact is that social anxiety is not something that cannot be corrected with a few changes in behavior and mindset.

Josh, you totally got it, so I’m going to have you explain it.

Josh: Social anxiety arises from just not talking to people for long periods of time. Then the monkey chatter builds up and it’s impossible to be sociable. You’re not warmed up. You become afraid to do that which you haven’t been doing regularly.

David: Yeah. Let’s say you’re walking around the mall, or in the market, wherever, but the longer that you wait to talk to people, the more difficult it becomes.

Then you start judging yourself and overthinking. It’s not you judging yourself; it’s that internal voice that is judging you – the drunken monkey. It says to you, “oh man, you’re such a loser. What are you doing? You should have talked to those three people!”

It begins to build and you start responding to that inner voice. The minute you begin to talk back to that inner voice, you’re no longer present in the moment. You’re now in hell. You’re completely torturing yourself. You start saying to yourself, you’re so right! I should have talked to those people!

Do you remember Animal House? There’s that part where there’s the devil and an angel on each shoulder – all of a sudden you’ve got that devil and angel talking back and forth to each other.

“Yeah, you can really do this!” the angel says, and the devil responds, “no, you’re an idiot, man!” And then all of a sudden, it’s been like an hour since you’ve spoken to someone real!

The next thing you know, the beautiful woman you’ve been waiting for walks by – you catch her out of the glimpse of your eye – and you don’t notice anything about her. You can’t make any observations about her, and you don’t notice anything.

She was probably the easiest person to talk to all day because she had a look of confusion on her face and she dropped her bag – but you didn’t notice anything because you were too busy battling with no longer one drunken monkey but a whole zoo in your head. They’re just chattering away in there.

So, at this point, you need to do the following exercise to bring yourself back to reality: you need to ground yourself and center yourself. You have to tell the voice to SHUT UP.

Have you ever seen Nightshift? It’s a really funny movie with Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton – I think it’s one of the first films they ever did. It’s hysterical. Michael Keaton has this crazy internal voice that keeps talking, and finally, Henry Winkler says to him, “this is Chuck telling Bob to SHUT UP!”

You have to do the same thing inside your own head. “This is Joe telling the monkey chatter to SHUT UP!” Say it to yourself and start laughing about it. Calm yourself down and breathe.

So you screwed up for an hour? No big deal. You can move forward starting now. You can ground yourself again and make a pact with yourself. Promise yourself the following: “I’m going to talk to the next person that walks by. I will observe what they are feeling; I will observe their emotions. If I can’t read the emotion on their face I’ll observe something that they are wearing or anything I can compliment them on. I’m going to pay them a random compliment.”

If you pay them a random compliment, what are you doing? You’re offering it genuinely without expecting any outcome. This means that you can start building up your confidence again.

So you see someone and say, “oh man, that’s a cool watch.” They say, “oh, thank you,” and they smile. What is that telling the monkeys inside your head? It tells them to calm down because that smile is positive reinforcement.

That is how you can get rid of the drunken monkey, monkeys, or jungle in your head. There are guys I’ve worked with that have a jungle in there! They have monkeys, giraffes, lions and tigers! They have a whole neighborhood up there.

A guy I once coached said to me, “man, if you were in my head, you would know that this is a bad neighborhood. You don’t want to go there. I’m trying to get to the other side of town!”

So this is what you do to calm yourself down. You have to tell yourself to shut up, and you have to realize that it doesn’t matter whatever you missed. You have the abundance principle working for you – you still have the rest of the day or night – or even the rest of your life. So don’t judge yourself on the half hour where the monkeys took over inside your zoo.

Join us tomorrow for part 2.

This week we will explore the dreaded monkey chatter forever and all the women of the blog have the same voices and animals in their mind.

So this advice is great for you as well!!

Tomorrow I will post the full version in podcast format as well.