I was very uncomfortable with Talking to people. I felt anxious and nervous to talk to people especially those I hadn’t met before. I started having tinges of stage fear and slight fear of public speaking.
However, it wasn’t always this way. I was never completely extroverted and the person at the center of attraction but I never used to feel anxious about talking to people. I could manage talking to and socializing with people even if I hadn’t met them before. I never used to fear public speaking or have stage fear.
This switch happened gradually — over the course of a few years — and it wasn’t intentional. It was the side effect of my unrelenting monomaniacal Pursuit of a goal I wanted to achieve badly. With all my heart, mind, body and soul.
I was so obsessed, I was ignoring literally everything else. My logic was that every minute I spent doing anything else was a minute wasted. As a result, I avoided talking to people or as I thought back then, wasting time with people.
About a year later, I did end up achieving what I wanted. So there’s that. But in the process I had lost something equally if not more important: My ability to socialize.
Even after I achieved my goal, my attitude towards conversations never changed. I wasn’t even aware that I was avoiding people. It wasn’t until another year that reality hit me.
I felt something gnawing at me from deep within. As I eventually found out, it was a sense of loneliness and a feeling of jealousy when I saw other people together. I wanted that as well but I didn’t know I did. I thought I was happy the way I was.
I sat down one day trying to figure out how I got here. While I never had a lot of friends, I did have a close circle of friends who I was reasonably close with. I realized I didn’t have that anymore. So when I sat down and started to introspect, it all started crystallizing before my eyes. How I was actively avoiding people and after more than two years of pretty much only essential (read unavoidable) conversations, I lost whatever socializing skills I had.
If there’s one advice I would give to everyone out there who is going after their vision or goals with a monomaniacal obsession, do all you can to achieve them but in the process, don’t let go of other things that you have and value. You might take them for granted now. It’s only when you lose them that you realize their value.
In your pursuit of what you want, are you losing what you have? was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.