Likely my greatest flaw currently is my lack of boldness. I wouldn't go so far as "timid" but I'm a quiet, a-extroverted person around new people and situations, and always too careful not to look foolish or make an ass of myself.

How do I get past this? How do I develop into a bolder, more confident man?

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Initiation into manhood.

Just Do It.

Psychodrama, to silence those inner thoughts that tell you you're a foolish ass, and replace them with thoughts saying you're OK.

Talk about it to people you trust: not for advice, but just to talk about it till it bores even you. That's the way to kill shame: put it all out in the open.

Those should help!
Seconded. I used to be too self-conscious about who I was and what I said. Then, one day, I said something to someone that took balls to say (long story; look at my other threads). It was then that I stopped taking myself so seriously and realized we're all humans, we all want to be social, and there's nothing someone likes more than someone that engages them with confidence. After all, haven't you found that you appreciate the company of those that are bold and outgoing? It's not necessarily in what they say, but in how they make you feel. That's something that you can mimic until it comes naturally. So, stop taking yourself so seriously, realize you are only human, and be who you want to be without giving a shit what others think. If anyone has a problem with your newfound confidence in who you are, call me up and I'll come beat the snot out of them with you.
Amen. I'll help with the ass-whooping.

I'll never forget my first moment of manliness. Young, quiet and VERY sheltered kid who's been living on his own (thrown out of house) for a couple years. This young boy worked the cook's line at Cracker Barrel, and was privileged enough to have as primary cooks two strong examples of manhood.

Background: At Cracker Barrel, when an order is ready to go, the ticket is taken off the cook's wheel, and placed on the tray so that the wait staff can run it. Important to the discussion, you'll see.

So, one night, one of the girl's pulls a tray to her, and says "Where's side item X that's supposed to go with this order?" When this shy young boy looks at her and asks her if she sees a ticket on that tray, the entire cooks line stopped, stared, and began applauding...

I couldn't stop grinning all night long. Goofy, I know, but everyone has to start somewhere.
That is an awesome story!
Good question and one I can relate to. I used to be that way myself, I lacked self confidence and I was timid and shy. What worked for me was martial arts. Taking up a sport where I was taught to be agressive, but with control, and where I could build my body physicaly while learning coordination, self disipline and respect literaly changed my life. I take an art that is full contact, being hit all the time teaches me not worry about being hit, and by actualy doing something to another man with my own hands built my confidence. I trained both my body and my mind, now I am the person I want to be, bold and confident. I look better, feel better, and carry myself better.

I was taught that my skills are my "secret" weapon, that I should never let anybody know what I know (or that I know anything at all), and if I had to use it then it was only to incapacitate my opponent and flee the situation. Having a secret weapon that nobody can take away from me gave me the boldness to confront any situaton because I now lack any fear of that situation or person, it's like carrying a concealed gun that is legal in every jurisdiction in every country of the world.
Hi John, sounds good. What martial art did you choose? I'm looking around at the moment but am not sure which discipline to pursue. I know I need to learn a martial art in order to develop more agression. Cheers.
There are many great choices out there for martial arts. Choosing the right one is the trick. What I did was go to every "free trial" offer that local stdios had until I found one that fit my budget and time. I started out with ken-Po which is your basic old school style karate that focuses on full contact offensive/defensive street style fighting. From there I made some contacts and learned from private teachers other skills such as weapons, kung-fu and a few others that will remain with me.

I suggest Akido or ken-po for starters. Those styles cut out the flowery stuff and start teaching you practical skills right away. From day one you will have more confidence. Have at it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjH8Ud3iZDk
Developing aggression is not the point, David, as that is an entirely different concept. However, Try Krav Maga (BRUTAL Israeli self-defense art) or Mixed Martial arts.
I'm not sure I think avoiding making an ass of yourself is necessarily a bad thing - all new situations are probably best evaluated before jumping in there. We've all been in situations where someone tries too hard and starts something without the proper amount of preparation or consultation.

That said, obviously one could be too reticent, and I think you probably mean that you think you are. I think it just comes with experience. Fundamentally, I think it's about managing and mastering fear of failure or looking stupid. If you try and put yourself into positions where you need to be forward and bold then you get over the fear of making a fool of yourself. I used to be pretty shy, quiet and reluctant to be in a position of leadership and I still am to a degree, but I've got better at it from a combination of being promoted at work (so I had to grow into being a more decisive and bold person) and from doing various voluntary activities in which I had to take responsibility for something, making sure that people were all singing from the same hymn-sheet, and sticking to the plan I worked out.

I'd say try and get into some voluntary work in which you have to work with new people all the time, and maybe co-ordinate or look to be in a position of responsibility. Voluntary work is good because no-one's going to jump down your throat or bawl you out if you make a mistake because everyone's trying their best and has other commitments.

I think Brett recommended toastmasters or something which is probably quite a good thing to get involved with.
Shame is when we think that others opinions of ourselves, are more important than how we think and feel. Take the small steps to move yourself out of your comfort zone. Say hi to a few people everyday, without the expectation of them saying hi in return. Smile more. Walk around the mall and ask random people if they know where a certain store is located. Don't be afraid to make an ass out of yourself. Once I was walking across the street to the bus stop where a crowd of people were already lined up. I tripped and fell on the curb, in front of everyone. I got up and brushed myself off, and said "Gee, I hope nobody saw that." People were already laughing, and laughed even louder when I said that. I got in line and got on the bus and didn't worry about it. It was done, but for me, how I handled it was what I had control over. Not other's reactions or opinions.
Learn the difference between aggression and assertiveness. Being assertive means setting boundaries. Aggression can help you when it comes to people who do not respect your boundaries. Assertive is most usually better than aggression. The best thing you can learn from martial arts is inner strength.
You're right thanks for the distinction. From my position however, I need both in equal measure. At the moment I'm doing officer training in the Aus Army Reserve, and it's been commented by senior officers that aggression is something that I really need to develop.

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