The misery of shyness
Shyness is the cause of much unhappiness for a great many people. All kinds of people describe themselves as shy :short , tall, dull, intelligent, young, old, slim, overweight. Shy people are anxious and self-conscious; that is, they are excessively（过多地） concerned with their own appearance and actions. Worrisome thought are constantly swirling(打转，旋动) in their minds: What kind of impression am I making? Do they like me? Do I stupid? I’m ugly. I’m wearing unattractive clothes.
It’s obvious that such uncomfortable feelings must affect people adversely. a person ‘s self-concept is reflected in the way he or she behaves, and the way people think about themselves has a positive sense of self-worth or high self-esteem usually act with confidence .because they have self-assurance, they do not need constant praise and encouragement from others to feel good about themselves. Self-confident people participate in life enthusiastically and spontaneously（自发地，本能地）.they are not affected by what others think they “should” do . people with high self-esteem are not hurt by criticism; they do not regard criticism as a personal attack.. instead they view a criticism as a suggestion for improvement.
In contrast, shy people, having low self-esteem ,are likely to be passive and easily influenced by others .they need reassurance that they are doing “the right thing”. Shy people are very sensitive(敏感的) to criticism; they feel it confirms inferiority（劣势；自卑）.they also find it difficult to be pleased by compliments because they are unworthy of praise. A shy person may respond a compliment with a statement like this one:“you are just saying that to make me feel good. I know it’s not true.”it is clear that, while self-awareness is a healthy quality, overdoing it is detrimental, or harmful.
Can shyness be completely eliminated, or at least reduced？ Fortunately, people can overcome shyness with determined and patient effort in building self-esteem, it is important for people to accept their weakness and as well as their strengths. For example, most people would like to be “A” students in every subject. It is not fair for them to label themselves as inferior because they have difficultly in some areas. People’s expectations of themselves must be realistic. Dwelling on the impossible leads to a sense of inadequacy, and even feelings of envy, or jealousy. We are self-destructive when we envy a student who gets better grades.
If you are shy here are some specific helpful steps toward building self-confidence and overcoming shyness.
1. recognize your personal strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has both. As self-acceptance grows, shyness naturally diminishes.
2. set reasonable goals. For example, you may be timid about being with a group of strangers at a party. Don’t feel that you must converse with everyone. Concentrate on talking to only one
or two people. You will feel more comfortable.
3. guilt and shame are destructive feelings. don’t waste time and energy on them. Suppose you hurt someone’s feelings. Feeling shame accomplishes nothing. Instead, accept the fact that you make a mistake, and make up your mind to be more sensitive.
4. there are numerous approaches to all issues. Few opinions are completely right or wrong. Don’t be afraid to speak up and give you point of view.
5. don’t make negative comments on about yourself. This is a form of self-reject. avoid describing yourself as stupid, ugly, a failure. Accent the positive.
6. accept criticism thoughtfully. Do not interpret it as a personal attack. If, for example, a friend complains your cooking, accept it as a comment on your cooking ,not yourself. Be assured that you are still friends, but perhaps your cooking could improve.
7. remember everyone experience some failure and disappointment. Profit from them as learning experiences. Very often a disappointment become a turning point for a wonderful experience to come along. For instance, you may be rejected by the college of your choice. However, at the college you actually attend, you may find a quality of education beyond what you had expected.
8. do not associate with people who make you feel inadequate, try to change their attitude or yours, or remove yourself from the relationship. People who hurt you do not have your best interests at heart.
9. set aside time, enjoy hobbies, and reevaluate your goals regularly. Time spend this way helps you learn more about yourself.
10. practice being in social situations. Don’t isolate yourself from people. Try making one acquaintance at a time; eventually you will circulate in large groups with skill and self-assurance.
Each one of us is unique, valuable individual. We are interesting in our own personal ways. The better we understand ourselves, the easily it becomes to live up to our full potential. let’s not allow shyness to block our chances for a rich and fulfilling life.
Why the Tortoise's Shell Is Not Smooth
1 The distant sound of low voices, broken now and again by singing, reached Okonkwo from his wives' huts as each woman and her children told folk stories. Ekwefi and her daughter, Ezinma, sat on a mat on the floor. It was Ekwefi's turn to tell a story. Suddenly the murmuring stopped and all eyes turned to their favorite and most skillful storyteller.
2 "Once upon a time," she began, "all the birds were invited to a feast in the sky. They were very happy and began to prepare themselves for the great day. They painted their bodies deep red and drew beautiful patterns on them with dye.
3 "Tortoise saw all these preparations and soon discovered what it all meant. Nothing that happened in the world of the animals ever escaped his notice; he was full of cunning. As soon as he heard of the great feast in the sky his throat began to itch at the very thought. There was a famine i
n those days and Tortoise had not eaten a good meal for two moons. His body rattled like a dry stick in his empty shell. Slowly but surely he began to plan how he would go to the sky."
4 "But he had no wings," said Ezinma.
5 "Be patient," replied her mother. "That is the story. Tortoise had no wings, but he went to the birds and asked to be allowed to go with them.
6 "'We know you too well,' said the birds when they had heard him. 'You are full of cunning and you are ungrateful. If we allow you to come with us you will soon begin your mischief. We know you of old.'
7 "'You do not know me,' said Tortoise. 'I am a changed man. I am not the mischievous man you once knew. On the contrary, I am thoughtful and well-meaning. I have learned that a man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself. Rest assured, I promise I will not cause you any trouble.'
8 "Tortoise had a sweet tongue, and within a short time all the birds agreed that he was a changed man, and they all gave him a feather, with which he made two splendidly colorful wings.
9 "At last the great day came and Tortoise was the first to arrive at the meeting place. When all the birds had gathered together, they all set off together. Tortoise was very happy as he flew among the birds, and he was soon chosen as the man to speak for the party because he was a great orator.
10 "'There is one important thing which we must not forget,' he said as they flew on their way. 'When people are invited to a great feast like this, they take new names for the occasion. Our hosts in the sky will expect us to honor this age-old custom.'
11 "None of the birds had heard of this custom but they knew that Tortoise, in spite of his failings in other areas, was a widely traveled man who knew the customs of different peoples. And so they each took a new name. When they had all taken a new name, Tortoise also took one. He was to be called All of you.
12 "At last the party arrived in the sky and their hosts were very happy to see them. Tortoise stood up in his many-colored plumage and thanked them for their invitation. His speech was so eloquent that all the birds were glad they had brought him, and nodded their heads in approval of all he said. Their hosts took him as the king of the birds, especially as he looked somewhat different from the others.
13 "After a selection of nuts had been presented and eaten, the people of the sky set before their guests the most delectable dishes Tortoise had ever seen or dreamed of. The soup was brought out hot from the fire and in the very pot in which it had been cooked. It was full of meat and fish. Tortoise began to sniff aloud. There was pounded yam and also yam soup cooked with palm oil and fresh fish. There were also pots of palm wine. When everything had been set before the guests, one of the people of the sky came forward and tasted a little from each pot. He then invited the birds to eat. But Tortoise jumped to his feet and asked: 'For whom have y
ou prepared this feast?'
14 "'For all of you,' replied the man.
15 "Tortoise turned to the birds and said: 'You remember that my name is All of you. The custom here is to serve the spokesman first and the others later. They will serve you when I have eaten.'
16 "He began to eat and the birds grumbled angrily among themselves. The people of the sky thought it must be their custom to leave all the food for their king. And so Tortoise ate the best part of the food and then drank two pots of palm wine, so that he was full of food and drink and his body grew fat enough to fill out his shell.
17 "The birds gathered round to eat what was left and to peck at the bones he had thrown on the floor. Some of them were too angry to eat. They chose to fly home on an empty stomach. But before they left each took back the feather he had lent to Tortoise. And there he stood in his hard shell full of food and wine but without any wings to fly home. He asked the birds to take a message for his wife, but they all refused. In the end Parrot, who had felt more angry than the others, suddenly changed his mind and agreed to take the message.
18 "'Tell my wife,' said Tortoise, 'to bring out all the soft things in my house and cover the ground with them so that I can jump down from the sky without hurting myself.
19 "Parrot promised faithfully to deliver the message, and then flew away smiling to himself. However when he reached Tortoise's house he told his wife to bring out all the hard and sharp things in the house. And so Tortoise's wife dutifully brought out her husband's hoes, knives, spears, guns, and even his cannon. Tortoise looked down from the sky and saw his wife bringing things out, but it was too far to see what they were. When all seemed ready he let himself go. He fell and fell and fell until he began to fear that he would never stop falling. And then like the sound of his cannon he crashed to the ground."
20 "Did he die?" asked Ezinma.
21 "No," replied Ekwefi. "His shell broke into hundreds of pieces. But there was a great medicine man in the neighborhood. Tortoise's wife sent for him and he gathered all the bits of shell and stuck them together. That is why the Tortoise's shell is not smooth." (1160 words)
Latchkey Children Knock, Knock, Is Anybody Home?
1 In the United States the cost of living has been steadily rising for the past few decades. Food prices, clothing costs, housing expenses, and tuition fees are constantly getting higher and higher. Partly because of financial need, and partly because of career choices for personal fulfillment, mothers have been leaving the traditional role of full-time homemaker. Increasingly they have been taking salaried jobs outside the home.
2 Making such a significant role change affects the entire family, especially the children. Some consequences are obvious. For example, dinnertime is at a later hour. The emotional impact, on the other hand, can be more subtle. Mothers leave home in
the morning, feeling guilty because they will not be home when their children return from school. They suppress their guilt since they believe that their work will benefit everyone in the long run. The income will enable the family to save for college tuition, take an extended vacation, buy a new car, and so on.
3 The emotional impact on the children can be significant. It is quite common for children to feel hurt and resentful. After all, they are alone several hours, and they feel that their mothers should "be there" for them. They might need assistance with their homework or want to share the day's activities. All too often, however, the mothers arrive home exhausted and face the immediate task of preparing dinner. Their priority is making the evening meal for the family, not engaging in relaxed conversation.
4 Latchkey children range in age from six to thirteen. On a daily basis they return from school and unlock the door to their home with the key hanging around their necks. They are now on their own, alone, in quiet, empty rooms. For some youngsters, it is a productive period of private time, while for others it is a frightening, lonely void. For reasons of safety, many parents forbid their children to go out to play or to have visitors at home. The youngsters, therefore, feel isolated.
5 Latchkey children who were interviewed reported diverse reactions. Some latchkey children said that being on their own for a few hours each day fostered, or stimulated, a sense of independence and responsibility. They felt loved and trusted, and this feeling encouraged them to be self-confident. Latchkey girls, by observing how their mothers coped with the demands of a family and a job, learned the role model of a working mother. Some children stated that they used their unsupervised free time to perfect their athletic skills, such as playing basketball. Others read books or practiced a musical instrument. These children looked upon their free time after school as an opportunity for personal development. It led to positive, productive, and valuable experiences.
6 Conversely, many latchkey children expressed much bitterness, resentment, and anger for being made to live in this fashion. Many claimed that too much responsibility was placed on them at an early age; it was an overwhelming burden. They were little people who really wanted to be protected, encouraged, and cared for through attention from their mothers. Coming home to an empty house was disappointing, lonely, and often frightening. They felt abandoned by their mothers. After all, it seemed to them that most other children had "normal" families whose mothers were "around," whereas their own mothers were never home. Many children turned on the television for the whole afternoon day after day, in order to diminish feelings of isolation; furthermore, the voices were comforting. Frequently, they would doze off.
7 Because of either economic necessity or strong determination for perso
nal fulfillment, or both, the phenomenon of latchkey children is widespread in our society. Whatever the reason, it is a compelling situation with which families must cope. The question to ask is not whether or not mothers should work full-time. Given the reality of the situation, the question to ask is: how can an optimum plan be worked out to deal effectively with the situation.
8 It is advisable for all members of the family to express their feelings and concerns about the inevitable change candidly. These remarks should be discussed fully. Many factors must be taken into consideration: the children's personality and maturity, the amount of time the children will be alone, the safety of the neighborhood, accessibility of help in case of an emergency. Of supreme importance is the quality of the relationship between parents and children. It is most important that the children be secure in the knowledge that they are loved. Feeling loved provides invaluable emotional strength to cope successfully with almost any difficulty that arises in life.
1 Career planning does not necessarily follow routine or logical steps. Each of us places weight on different factors and may consider certain phases of career planning at different times. Career planning includes gathering information about ourselves and about occupations , estimating the probable outcomes of various courses of action<1>, and finally, choosing alternatives that we find attractive and feasible.
2 Many observers have pointed out that students are not very efficient career planners. They cite evidence that (1) most students choose from among a very narrow group of occupations; (2) as many as 40 to 60 percent choose professional occupations, when in reality only 15 to 18 percent of the work force is engaged in professional work; (3) young men show a striking lack of interest in clerical, sales, and service occupations, although these fields offer many job opportunities; and (4) as many as a third of the students are unable to express any choice of occupation.
3 In their book Decision Making<2>, Irving Janis and Leon Mann identify serious flaws in the ways many people make decisions. These flaws seem to be associated with the patterns people use to cope with problems. The first flaw is complacency. People who ignore challenging information about the choices they make demonstrate complacency. People who take the attitude that "It won't affect me" or "It will never happen" use complacency as a dominant pattern of behaving. Of course, complacency is appropriate for any decision in which nothing much is at stake, but that does not describe career decisions.
4 A second flaw in the way people cope with decisions is defensive avoidance. When confronted with a decision and unable to believe they can find an acceptable solution, some people remain calm by resorting to wishful thinking or daydreaming. Students who fail to think about the implications of th
eir career choices often engage in rationalization (deceiving oneself with self-satisfying but incorrect explanations for one's behavior) or procrastination (putting off or delaying). Facing the situation may produce anxiety, but examining alternatives could also bring relief.
5 A third flaw is hypervigilance<3>. This occurs in career decision making when people believe there is not enough time to find a solution and they panic. They search frantically for career possibilities and seize on hastily invented solutions, overlooking the consequences of their choice as well as other alternatives. People who are in a panic sometimes do not think clearly or logically.
6 The best coping behavior is vigilance. Vigilant decision making occurs when people believe that (1) a choice should be made, (2) they can find a solution, and (3) there is enough time. Under these conditions, students can conduct an effective search for alternative careers, carefully evaluate each alternative, and work out contingency plans in case one or another risk appears.
7 Following are the keys to career planning.
8 1. Study yourself. This is the key to career planning. Understanding what you are like, what you value, and what you want to become is the foundation for all career planning. In studying yourself, you examine your strengths and weaknesses, your goals, and the trends in your personal development. The self-understanding that you gain enables you to imagine how certain occupations may best fit your personality, interests, abilities, and goals. All career decisions require us to learn both about ourselves and about work, and to integrate these two kinds of knowledge.
9 2. Write your career goals down. A technique useful for organizing ideas about your career development is actually to write them down by time blocks<4> in your life. Writing something down forces you to crystallize your thinking and to recognize unclear and half-formed<5> ideas. It may lead to new insights into your possibilities and may help you to see new relationships, patterns, and trends, or to identify gaps in your thinking about your career development.
10 3. Review your plans and progress periodically with another person. Every so often, take stock of your situation and consider what steps have to be taken next. Taking inventory of progress and planning further steps can help you cope with the changes that you undergo and the changes that take place in the labor market. Talking over your plans with a college counselor, your parents, and your friends helps you define your goals and improve your career plans or make them work.
11 4. If you choose a career that does not fit you, you can start over. Today, growing numbers of men and women are changing careers or getting second starts in careers that have greater appeal to them. Many of those who find that their line of work<6> is unsatisfactory restrain themselves for a different occupation. Often their new occupation is one that they overl
ooked when they were young or that they did not have an opportunity to pursue at that time for financial or other reasons.
12 Sociologists say that there are few changes in careers that involve "downward" movement; most involve the traditional business of "getting ahead".<7> Society no longer attaches the stigma of "instability" to the idea of career hopping, as it once did.<8>
13 Job changes and career shifts occur at all ages. It has been estimated that as many as one out of four male workers between the ages of twenty and twenty-five change their lines of work. About half that number do so between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four.
14 Career planning does not guarantee that all the problems, difficulties, or decision-making situations that face you in the future will be solved or made any easier. No formula can be given to do that. But career planning should help you to approach and cope better with new problems, such as deciding whether or not to enter educational or training programs, deciding whether or not to change jobs, and analyzing the difficulties you are having with a situation or a person.
15 Nobody can foresee what the future holds for any of us.<9> There are social, emotional, and moral considerations in our future that cannot be foreseen. But the most important lesson of this often unhappy modern world is that progress comes from planning. Ignorance about one's career is not bliss<10>; reason is better than chance and fate. Although there is no sure way to make career plans work out, there are things that you can do now to shape your career possibilities.
How I Discovered Words
1 The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher, Anne Mansfield Sullivan, came to me. I am filled with wonder when I consider the immeasurable contrast between the two lives which it connects. It was the third of March, 1887, three months before I was seven years old.
2 On the afternoon of that eventful day, I stood on the porch, dumb, expectant. I guessed vaguely from my mother's signs and from the hurrying to and fro in the house that something unusual was about to happen, so I went to the door and waited on the steps. The afternoon sun penetrated the mass of honeysuckle that covered the porch, and fell on my upturned face. My fingers lingered almost unconsciously on the familiar leaves and blossoms which had just come forth to greet the sweet southern spring. I did not know what the future held of marvel or surprise for me.<1> Anger and bitterness had preyed upon me continually for weeks and a deep languor had succeeded this passionate struggle.
3 Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line<2>, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was withou
t compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbor was. "Light! Give me light!" was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.
4 I felt approaching footsteps. I stretched out my hand as I supposed to my mother.<3> Someone took it, and I was caught up and held close in the arms of her who had come to reveal all things to me, and, more than all things else, to love me.
5 The morning after my teacher came she led me into her room and gave me a doll. The little blind children at the Perkins Institution had sent it and Laura Bridgman had dressed it; but I did not know this until afterward. When I had played with it a little while, Miss Sullivan slowly spelled into my hand the word "d-o-l-l". I was at once interested in this finger play and tried to imitate it. When I finally succeeded in making the letters correctly I was flushed with childish pleasure and pride. Running downstairs to my mother I held up my hand and made the letters for doll. I did not know that I was spelling a word or even that words existed; I was simply making my fingers go in monkey-like imitation. In the days that followed I learned to spell in this uncomprehending way a great many words, among them, pin, hat, cup and a few verbs like sit, stand and walk. But my teacher had been with me several weeks before I understood that everything has a name.
6 One day, while I was playing with my new doll, Miss Sullivan put my big rag doll into my lap, also spelled "d-o-l-l" and tried to make me understand that "d-o-l-l" applied to both. Earlier in the day we had had a tussle over the words "m-u-g" and "w-a-t-e-r". Miss Sullivan had tried to impress it upon me that "m-u-g" is mug and that "w-a-t-e-r" is water, but I persisted in confounding the two. In despair she had dropped the subject for the time, only to <4> renew it at the first opportunity. I became impatient at her repeated attempts and, seizing the new doll, I dashed it upon the floor. I was keenly delighted when I felt the fragments of the broken doll at my feet. Neither sorrow nor regret followed my passionate outburst. I had not loved the doll. In the still, dark world in which I lived there was no strong sentiment or tenderness. I felt my teacher sweep the fragments to one side of the hearth, and I had a sense of satisfaction that the cause of my discomfort was removed. She brought me my hat, and I knew I was going out into the warm sunshine. This thought, if a wordless sensation may be called a thought, made me hop and skip with pleasure.
7 We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly, I felt a misty consciousness as of something
forgotten-a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.
8 I left the well-house eager to learn. Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life. That was because I saw everything with the strange, new sight that had come to me. On entering the door I remembered the doll I had broken. I felt my way to the hearth and picked up the pieces. I tried vainly to put them together. Then my eyes filled with tears; for I realized what I had done, and for the first time I felt repentance and sorrow.
9 I learned a great many new words that day. I do not remember what they all were; but I do know that mother, father, sister, teacher were among them-words that were to make the world blossom for me, "like Aaron's rod <5>, with flowers". It would have been difficult to find a happier child than I was as I lay in my crib at the close of that eventful day and lived over the joys it had brought me, and for the first time longed for a new day to come.