We would have all experienced this in class. Remember that time when your professor asked a trivial (yet tricky) question that most of us could have definitely attempted answering, yet, only that one outspoken girl or guy responded? Following this, your professor would have typically rebuked and reprimanded the entire class for their lack of concern. But what we fail to realize is that the attitude which majority of the class adopts doesn't always equate to apathy, but rather diffidence - “modesty or shyness resulting from a lack of self-confidence”.
In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
(Cole Porter, 1934)
Modesty often seems to be at the crux of societal concern with highly subjective and wide ranging opinions. What a Talib considers to be modest is surely going to differ from what a supermodel’s notion of it. There is clearly no distinction or frame of reference for what is modest and morally acceptable to all people, yet we cannot refrain from indulging in it in our daily lives. Similarly, diffidence is quite a mixed and funny emotion to me, maybe because I don’t understand its necessity and would never advocate it. I find that people usually have the wrong notion that diligence to diffidence are inter related. Many of my own classmates, when asked, told me that being reserved will benefit their productivity in the long run (which I still don’t understand).
Moreover, I’m lead to believe that diligence is dictated by something more than just fear or shyness. In many societies, women were not allowed to talk back to the men or even look them in the eye. How will a girl/boy who has never spoken to her/his own father be able to answer questions that their professor throws at them? Even in today’s millennial age with skyrocketing advancements, girls are often asked not to talk back, laugh or shout loudly. Parallely, young boys who talk aimlessly or throw tantrums are celebrated by their families. Whereas, boys who are timid and shy are teased by their friends, family and even by the very women who aren’t allowed to talk back in public! It’s absolutely ridiculous isn’t it? Why do we have double standards for the same behavior?
I agree that being scared may be natural in new circumstances and difficult scenarios, but how long can you hide under the shackles of modesty and reservation? Difficult situations call for only the best of actions and outcomes. Only when you break out and speak-up will your voice be heard and you will be able to soar high. Diffidence inhibits growth, don’t let it!