The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Why do I get nervous in situations where I have to express myself, or when I have to talk to people?
Acharya Prashant(AP): What do you talk to people about?
Questioner(Q): (Questioner is a student of class 6) Anything, most of the time related to my schoolwork I guess.
AP: Say something about your schoolwork to me.
Q: About projects etc., about what we eat in school, about non-fiction, about our fantasies.
AP: So say something about that. What do you eat at school?
Q: Unhealthy fast food.
AP: Unhealthy fast food. Tell me something about a few unhealthy fast foods.
Q: Any McDonalds’ burger, or any other fast food.
AP: How does it look?
Q: Ummm...Big and fat.
AP: Big and fat?
AP: Big, fat, and greasy?
AP: Now how nervous are you, when you are saying these things to me?
Q: Not much.
AP: Now let us say you have to say these same things to a mirror, or to a wall. To a wall, you have to talk about a big mac (referring to the Mcdonald’s burger), with nobody else watching you. How nervous would you be?
Q: I wouldn’t be nervous.
AP: Why? You are talking about the same thing.
You are talking about exactly the same thing, and expressing exactly the same content, why wouldn’t you be nervous if you were talking to a wall or a mirror?
Q: Because nobody is watching.
AP: So then nervousness is not about speaking, nervousness is related to ‘public’ in public speaking.
AP: This means that you can get nervous in front of the public even when you are not speaking because it actually has to do with the public, rather than speaking. Right?
In certain conditions even if you are not speaking, you can become nervous…