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Social Anxiety

Would you dance for 15 seconds or write a 30-page Paper?

Let’s analyze a TikTok video through the lens of social anxiety

Would you choose to dance for 15 seconds in front of a class or write a 30-page paper?

I’m going to bring TikTok into the conversation because there is this video that is making the rounds on TikTok, maybe on Instagram as well, and it has millions of views.

So I’m going to walk you through this video and we’re going to dissect it, talk about what happened in it, and what I think should be the main takeaways and why I think it’s super relevant when it comes to social anxiety and what some of the lessons are from it.

This video that’s making the rounds is about a college professor who is giving his class of students two options. 

The first option is to dance in front of the whole class for 15 seconds.

A girl sitting in the front row raises her hand. She gets up, does a 15-second dance and then she just walks back to her seat.

And the second option is to write a 15,000 word paper on the implications of AI on biomedical engineering. Yeah, it’s that type of class.

It’s up there in things I will never understand or be able to write about. 

So the rest of the class chose option number two (write a 30-page paper).

With TikTok, you kind of always have to have the benefit of the doubt. Is the video real or not?

You kind of have to think about the intentions and the possibilities. So anyway, even if the video is staged, I do want to talk about it. Because you should always choose option one when you’re presented with it.

And I know, I know you’re going to be like, nope, no Rox, I’m not doing it, I’m not going do that.

And the good part is that you can also write the 30-page paper if that is something that you feel you’re going to miss out on. You can do both.

Now, you might say, “but Rox, I’m terrified. I’ll be terrible. I don’t know any dance moves and people are just going to laugh at me”.

Or you’re going to say, “Rox, it’s just too much for my social anxiety. I could never live with myself after that”. 

Valid feelings. I understand.

But I do want to give 3 reasons why I recommend you stand up and dance, regardless.

Yes. Even if you have social anxiety and all you can do is the chicken dance. Okay?

1. It will expand your comfort zone.

Your comfort zone has many layers. 

It goes from comfort zone to fear zone to learning zone to growth zone. 

Now in this situation, you would probably go from comfort zone to growth zone. From one extremity to the other, and you would just skip the in-between.

And usually when you take a risk, especially one that’s tied to how people perceive you, you will walk away an instant winner because you just challenged yourself and pushed through potentially several layers of fear. 

That’s not an easy feat for anybody. 

And when you do that, your comfort zone is automatically enlarged.

It expands. 

And the next time around, you’re going to dare to do bigger things and so on. 

It will directly impact the confidence you have in yourself and you’ll have an easier time saying, “I can handle whatever comes my way because I was able to do that”.

You’ll create this confidence so that next time around when you’re faced with an opportunity, you’re going to be like, well, this is easy peasy lemon squeezy compared to dancing in front of 60 people for 15 seconds.

And the more you do things of this nature, the more your comfort zone expands and your confidence level goes up.

2. It will create a positive memory. 

It will become such a powerful anecdote for you that when you share it anytime in the future, you will feel that instant boost of empowerment. 

It’s like you’re going to be back in your body doing that dance and you’re going to get all the amazing benefits of it all over again.

It will also remind you that the dread you felt beforehand, you know, when you were sitting down and you were getting ready to go up and dance.

Well, whatever it is that you felt at that moment was worth going through. 

And you will forever know that that anxiety, that anticipation anxiety is worse than actually going through the, the thing itself.

Because once you’re done with that dance and you sit back down, I promise you’re going to be a different person.

And I talked about this in my previous episode about the dreaded low and how once you move past the dreaded low, you will feel like a million bucks because you will be accountable to your actions to saying yes to doing whatever it is that you committed yourself to.

And yes, even if you end up being horrendous and people are laughing at your chicken dance, it will still end up being a positive memory because you will remember yourself as the one who did the thing instead of being the one in the crowd judging the person on the floor,

Especially if you remember that you were the only one in that class to stand up. That’s a positive memory.

No matter how you try to slice and dice it, it is a positive memory.

3. There’s a clear before and after

Again, this is very much in line with number one. 

But there is a clear before and after, should you choose option one, dancing. Because you step up as someone and then you sit back down as someone else.

It will energize you and make you question “What else can I do? If I was able to stand up and dance and sit back down as a different version of myself, how many other versions are there of me that I can tap into?”

Now the girl in the video did something no one else was capable of. 

Again, we’re operating under the assumption that it is a real un-staged video and she walked away benefiting from it while everyone else in that room remained in their safe and comfortable zone.

So those are the three reasons why I do recommend that if you are presented with such an opportunity you take it. 

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5 Quick Ways To Manage Your Social Anxiety

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But let’s break down the video a little bit more because there are some other observations that I made.

So let’s go with the assumption that, again, it wasn’t staged. In the video, the people in the class did not react at all. Even though the girl had some interesting break-dancing moves, she did a flip. They were quiet. They didn’t whisper to each other. And they also didn’t clap.

So if at the beginning when you’re like, “I’m going to be so terrible, they’re going to laugh at me.” If that’s something that you were worried about,  I want you to know, that that’s a lie that you are telling yourself.

What I want you to know is that you’re not scared of people laughing. You’re scared of any reaction they might have.

 Let’s just be honest and put it on the table.

Whether they laugh, they whisper or stay silent, you’ll find evidence that points to them. judging you. You’ll have no problem making up a story in your mind about what they think of you, regardless of what the reaction was.

And you will find a way to spin that reaction in a negative light. You’re scared of the thoughts you will have of yourself after you choose option one, because it doesn’t matter what people will do.

You’ll think the reaction is a reflection of your performance.

Secondly, let’s assume this girl is a cheerleader and she’s used to performing in front of people. So for her, it’s just another day, another dance, another crowd.

And it’s not fair how easy it is for her to do that, right? And that’s why she was able to just confidently shoot her hand up in the air.

Whereas for you, it would be the end of the world.

But here’s what I want you to think about. Is it possible that at one point in time, it was also the end of the world for her? But she managed to go from her comfort zone to growth zone? 

And now it’s just again, easy peasy lemon squeezy for her to do this. If it’s possible for her to get that comfortable with herself, it’s also possible for you.

And maybe your immediate reaction is a hard no. Fuck no. 

I want you to push back against your immediate reaction just as fast. Don’t let it simmer. Don’t let it go to your mind. Don’t start analyzing your thoughts and go down that rabbit hole where you don’t trust yourself.

You’re scared. You’re worried. You’re dreading it. 

All those things will block you from saying yes to such an opportunity.

I want you to try to prove to yourself that you can’t confront your fear and that you will survive it. And not only survive it, but thrive after that. 

So the moment you sit back down on your chair, that is a new starting point for you.

It’s you embarking on a new journey.

And I’m going to leave you with this last question.

Tell me, which person do you think more highly of? The person standing up to their fear and doing the thing, or the ones laughing in their seats, too scared to try?

We’re dissecting a TikTok video where a professor gives the students 2 options:

  1. To dance for 15 seconds in front of the class
  2. To write a 15k word paper

There are 3 reasons why I think you should always choose to dance:

  1. It will expand your comfort zone
  2. It will create a positive memory
  3. There’s a clear before and after

I'm Roxana

I went from being scared to ask a question out loud to hosting summits online. I love coffee, french crepes, and working from home. My mission? Help others build their social confidence to make friends, have conversations, and be comfortable around people!

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