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On Causes of Boldness and Shyness




   Boldness.  Presuming unduly, brazen, forward, impudent, 
   shameless, insolently assured, saucy, taking too much for 
   granted, overconfidence, audacity, insolence, effrontery, 
   brassiness, impertinence, flippancy, cockiness, cheek, nerve, 
   disrespectfulness;  defiant of restraint (as of law or 
   decorum);  fearless. 


   Shyness.  Timid, fearful, lacking self-confidence, reserve, 
   constraint, restraint, diffidence, self-conscious, bashful, 
   retire into one's shell, keep in the background. 



   What causes boldness?  What causes shyness?  Some children can 
   be obnoxiously bold and aggressive.  Pedrito is six years old 
   and is terribly bold.  He aggressively asks for money, 
   aggressively pushes you to play basketball and other games with 
   him;  he knows where every object is in every one of your 
   closets in the house and obviously has made himself very much 
   at home in your house.  Other children are exactly the opposite 
   --- shy and timid.  Why is this?  What causes one child to be 
   so bold and another so shy?  Is it due to differences in their 
   upbringing?  Is excessive boldness due to lack of teaching, 
   instruction and correction?  Lack of strictness on the part of 
   the parents?  Can one take boldness out of a child by spanking 
   and strict discipline?  A person who is bold is generally 
   audacious, insolent, and cocky.  Isn't the very root and 
   essence of boldness a lack of respect for all authority and 
   restraint?  It acknowledges no checks on its freedom and 
   generally is without shame.  Does this indicate a deep rooted 
   moral problem, a deep spiritual problem?  Shyness is just the 
   opposite of boldness isn't it?  Aren't the two just opposite 
   ends of a spectrum where the healthiest place is the middle?  
   If this is true is not, perhaps, the cause of shyness related 
   to the cause of boldness?  If we knew the cause of one might it 
   not give us insight into the cause of the other?  If, for 
   example, the cause of boldness in children is lack of restraint 
   and discipline in their upbringing, letting them do whatever 
   they please, then is the cause of shyness perhaps too much 
   restraint?  Is boldness due entirely to poor upbringing, lack 
   of instruction and strictness, on the part of the parents or is 
   it a natural propensity in a certain type of disposition i.e. 
   are some children naturally inclined toward it, is it at least 
   partially innate?  How about in the case of shyness?  In the 
   adult world we find many adults who are very bold, aggressive 
   and insolent.  Similarly we find many who are shy and lack 
   confidence in themselves.  Do all bold adults come from bold 
   children?  Do all shy adults come from shy children?  Do bold 
   children ever turn into shy adults?  Do shy children ever turn 
   into bold adults?  i.e. does shyness or boldness ever 
   completely reverse itself into it's opposite.  Is whether a 
   person is to be bold or shy in life completely determined in 
   early childhood?  A shy child may lose much of his shyness as 
   life passes but does he not always retain some tendency or 
   inclination toward shyness?  And, similarly, does not a bold 
   child, even though he may lose much of his boldness as life 
   passes always retain some tendency toward boldness?


   Shyness is of interest to me because it is closely related to 
   lack of confidence which often leads into an Inferiority 
   Complex.  Do bold people ever have Inferiority Complexes?  Do 
   bold people ever suffer from lack of confidence?  One might 
   suppose that they do not since abundance of confidence seems to 
   usually be associated with boldness.  What is the relationship 
   of Shyness and Boldness with Introvertiveness and 
   Extrovertiveness?  Shy people are usually introvertive.  Are 
   bold people always extrovertive?


   Q. What forces would keep me from making the kind of bold, 
   audacious requests, demands and remarks that bold people 
   sometimes make (such as requests for money)?  What restrains 
   me? 

   A. The following:  1. Concern for others.  2. A strongly 
   ingrained habit of politeness and courtesy.  3. I know that it 
   would be taken badly by the other person and I see no reason to 
   irritate people and make them dislike me. 


   We ask again the question: What causes boldness in a person?  

   Might boldness start out originally as no more than a simple 
   bad habit that got started just because a kid finds out that if 
   he boldly asks a person for something they will often give it 
   to him, that if he is bold and aggressive and asks for things 
   he often gets them (although the person asked resents him for 
   asking, dislikes him for asking, and only gives the thing out 
   of an inability to say "no")?  i.e. does boldness perhaps get 
   started just because the kid finds out that it works, that he 
   can use people, can get his way by pushing and aggressiveness, 
   that however wrong, however bad an impression he is making, 
   whatever harm it may be doing, it works?  Let us assume that 
   this is indeed the case.  How about the fear of refusal or 
   censure or concern about what people will think of him?  
   Doesn't that bother him?  Perhaps it might the first few times 
   he does it but then he gets used to it, then he gets hardened 
   to it.  Like a dog who stubbornly braves a shower of pebbles 
   and stones to rush in to steal a piece of meat he braves his 
   fears of refusal or censure in order to take the prize.  The 
   first time or two he may have to steel himself to the task, it 
   may require some nerve, it may be difficult.  But then it gets 
   easier and soon it doesn't bother him at all.  Like the 
   highwaymen of old times who waited by the wayside and waylaid, 
   plundered, robbed and murdered the passersby, he has learned to 
   plunder people.  Like the highwayman he may have been bothered 
   by what he was doing at first but then he becomes hardened to 
   it, it is just "life", and although it is dirty business the 
   plunder makes it all worth it.  All this explains a bold 
   person's total lack of fear of people, his general 
   indifference, and his shamelessness.  How about his insolence?  
   What is behind that?  If we assume that insolence is caused by 
   malice and a deep-seated dislike of people what causes this 
   dislike of people?  Well, he may have developed a feeling of 
   being "unloved" and "unwanted" (rightfully, due to the way in 
   which he treats people) and this feeling is what causes the 
   malice and dislike.  Also, there is a proverb that says "He who 
   wrongs you will hate you" and he has become so accustomed to 
   using people, walking on them, and plundering them, that he has 
   come to have contempt for them, to despise them.

   So, in summary, what can we say?  What is the cause of 
   boldness?  Isn't it caused by repeatedly doing bold things?  
   What is the cause of shamelessness?  Isn't it caused by 
   repeatedly doing shameful things?  

   I believe that the above scenario is the correct explanation 
   for the phenomenon of boldness.  Now for some more questions.  
   How about the great abundance of confidence that generally 
   characterizes a bold person?  Why?  Where does it come from?  
   Well, confidence is a result of two things:  1. total lack of 
   fear  2. being happy with yourself (being pleased with 
   yourself, being content and at ease with your own abilities and 
   accomplishments, having a high opinion of yourself).  We 
   already know how the bold person loses his fear of people.  He 
   does it by steeling himself against his fears and just doing a 
   thing in spite of conscience, social rules or what people may 
   think; by the act of defying people, until he has lost all his 
   fear of them, of their opinions, sentiments and rules.  How 
   about " 2. Being happy with yourself" ?  Why might a bold 
   person also have this ingredient in the two-ingredient recipe 
   for confidence?  Well, first remember that he is shameless, 
   that he has lost his conscience, his sense of right and wrong, 
   and consequently he may well not think of himself as a bad 
   person --- he may be quite content with himself morally.  
   Second, note that any person, even a totally illiterate and 
   ignorant person, can be totally happy and content with himself 
   if he decides to be.  Even a ignorant illiterate can say to 
   himself "I know everything that is worth knowing.  I have all I 
   want."  In addition to this the bold person has a contempt for 
   other people.  He is accustomed to living off them by 
   plundering them.  He is accustomed to looking down on them, to 
   regarding himself as smarter than them.


   NOTE.  The above mechanism by which a bold person acquires his 
   boldness also applies to a lot of other personality traits 
   besides boldness.  Like what ones?  Lying, stealing, cheating, 
   selfishness, hurting others, fornication, adultery, etc..  They 
   are all habits that start out with a single first wrong action 
   that gives a person something he wants.  He finds that it 
   works, that it gives him what he wants and is easy to do.  So 
   he does it again.  And he does it again and again until it 
   becomes a habit.  And with more and more repetition it becomes 
   more and more strongly ingrained until it is a distinct 
   personality trait.  In the case of the personality trait of 
   lying there was that first lie.  It worked.  The person found 
   that he was able to get what he wanted by lying.  He did it 
   again.  Again it gave him what he wanted.  He found it was a 
   very effective way of getting the things he wanted in life.  It 
   was easy and he found that he even enjoyed doing it.  It was 
   much easier and better than always being restricted to having 
   to tell the truth.  It gave him control over things, power.  It 
   was a great discovery.  It was a tool he found himself using 
   all the time.  It developed into a habit and then into a 
   strongly ingrained personality trait.  The same thing happens 
   with stealing.  There was that first theft.  The person got 
   what he wanted.  It worked.  He did it again.  It worked again.  
   It was an easy way of getting the things he wanted.  He liked 
   it.  It was exciting.  It called for cleverness.  He knew if he 
   got caught there would be excitement enough so he must not get 
   caught.  He kept doing it, it became a habit, and he became a 
   very clever thief.

   It is interesting to note that all these bad habits that we 
   have mentioned --- boldness, lying, cheating, stealing, 
   selfishness, hurting others, fornication, adultery, etc. --- 
   all form a single personality pattern i.e. if a person has one 
   of them, he probably has them all; they tend to occur together.  
   Note that they all involve plundering other people.  Those who 
   have this type personality are predators --- and other people 
   are their prey.

   Now let us ask another question:  How does one prevent boldness 
   in a child?  The answer is "instruction, strictness and 
   discipline".  The Bible says "spare the rod and spoil the 
   child" and no advice could be better.  When a child does wrong 
   he should be spanked (or "whipped").  Why does this work?  It 
   nips the bad habits in the bud before they become established.  
   If a parent truly loves his child he can show his love in no 
   better way than in making sure that he grows up in the right 
   way with the right habits, values and principles.  And he does 
   this by constant supervision, correction and instruction.  
   Respect for others, respect for authority, respect for moral 
   law, are the first and most important principles to be 
   instilled.  Obedience is the first lesson to be taught.  One 
   trains a child just as one trains a dog --- by constant 
   repetition, instruction and correction --- by a lot of work and 
   effort.  If a person hates his child and wishes him to grow up 
   in a bad way and have a bad life the very best approach he 
   could take would be to let him have his way in everything, to 
   let him grow up wild;  to let him develop all the bad habits 
   with no instruction, correction, or discipline;  to encourage 
   him in disrespect for others and disrespect for authority and 
   moral law by your own example;  to spoil him, to give him 
   whatever his heart desires. 


   Oct 1977




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