A few nights ago I was sitting at home watching the Olympics when I noticed that every single athlete selected for an interview seemed very comfortable in front of the camera. Of course, some seemed more at ease than others, but for the most part, everyone was able to handle speaking in front of a billion people okay.
I often wonder if there are any very successful, or famous, people that struggle with social anxiety disorder – because it seems that anyone that is in the public eye has the ability to speak relatively calmly to an audience. I know a lot of this comes with practice over the years, but even those that have become famous in a short period of time seem to handle themselves quite well.
Apparently, there are a few stars in Hollywood that have come forward and admitted that they suffer from social anxiety disorder. The only thing I can say is that, if they were truly suffering from this condition, they wouldn’t be able to do what they do.
So, does this mean that a social anxiety sufferer can never become famous? What if you were more talented than anyone else in the world in a certain area? Would you suppress your natural gift for fear of becoming famous and being shoved into the spotlight?
Imagine having a singing voice better than most of the top 40 artists and never being able to share your gift with the rest of the world. I often wonder how much natural talent is wasted because a person simply can’t handle performing in front of a crowd or being interviewed by the media. What if you knew you had a talent for running and could eventually become a world record holder in the hundred meter dash, but you chose to ignore your gift because of the attention you would bring to yourself?
To me, this only proves the far-reaching consequences that social anxiety disorder can have on people. Imagine the life you would be forfeiting and the talent you would be denying people because of this condition.
However, I’m sure that it happens all the time.
Although the majority of people don’t have a natural talent like this, social anxiety disorder can still stunt your growth in many other ways. Most notably, in your choice of career. I’m sure there are many brilliant people that have given up their dream in the corporate world (or didn’t even get started) because they couldn’t handle participating in meetings, doing presentations, or giving speeches. Does that mean that they are any less qualified than their peers who don’t struggle with this problem?
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a lot of talent that the world never gets to see because of this condition. I’m sure that there is not one person who suffers from social anxiety disorder that can’t relate to this in one way or another.
That’s why it just kills me when people dismiss social anxiety as just a little shyness. This condition is life changing and life limiting – and there is nothing trivial about that.