I hear the sirens
On a Tuesday a few years ago I look out the window. I hear the sirens. I see the ambulance. Two paramedics running out of the car and my neighbor opening the front door. Another medic in another car comes. 10 minutes later I’m still watching. I see the Mr. Neighbor standing and looking down at something. I see my neighbor’s girls walking around on the front lawn. Arms crossed. Hugging each other. 5 minutes later the medics carry Mrs. Neighbor out. A corpse. She was 50 years old.
How would I spend my life if I die at age 50?
Everything was clear to me. If I only had so many years to live, how would I spend it? Then I decided to take control and change my mindset to be proactive. I decided to stop associating with people, I didn’t like. I downsized to focus on 3-4 things and be more healthy. I said to myself, that it didn’t matter what other’s wanted, all that mattered was me. I downsized my possessions. I changed my circumstances to optimize for the life I wanted. And little by little I changed my mindset and life.
You are in control of you. If you want to stop stuttering, you can do it. It will be hard and difficult but you can do it.
The takeaway: You can change your mindset
If you will die when you’re 40 or 50 years old. How would you like to spend the rest of your life? Do you still want to stutter?
It’s hard to change your mindset. It often takes a huge event. But you can do it if you learn to take small steps in the right direction.
It was a lot, but not enough decluttering when Mrs. Neighbor died
10-11 things to focus on was a normal pace for me a few years ago before she died. Then I experienced a panic attack. I was at the fitness club. And I was about to die. The members will kill me, I thought. It was too much. Too much clutter. No man can focus on 10 things. It’s impossible. According to research the brain only has four (4) slot of working memory available. After downsizing to 3-4 things I felt better. I felt relieved. I felt I could handle it. But it was still too much.
A massive mental breakdown to start over
About 2 years ago, I had a massive mental breakdown. It was a year after Mrs. Neighbor died. Childhood experiences of the worst kind surfaced. I had been running my entire life from my past. I created mental clutter to run from the experiences. The flashbacks. And it worked until the day it didn’t. I had been running for 20 years. One day it all came crashing down.
Because you can’t run your entire life. At some point, you will have to slow down. Then it will catch you.
Decluttering your brain to be extremely focused
The best part about the breakdown was that I didn’t have to run anymore. I could relax. I didn’t have to focus on 3 or 10 things to keep a distance from my past. Now I had the opportunity to focus on what I really wanted. To write about how I overcame my stuttering habits. To help other people do the same. Now I had the opportunity to focus on 1 thing. And 1 thing only.
I have become a new person after the breakdown. I am way more relaxed around people and myself.
When you fix the bad parts about your life, then other parts will fix itself or be easier to fix.
In a Swedish book about the elite forces, I read that the soldiers can’t have any baggage lying around in their mind. They have to be 100 % focused in the field. If they think about divorce, a fight with their spouse, unpaid bills, funeral, or whatever, it will inhibit their performance. And that means they endanger the entire group.
When one spoke in the wheel is broken, it’s easier to break the whole wheel.
The takeaway: No baggage = better performance
If you have any sort of mental baggage, it will inhibit your performance. Without the baggage, you would perform better in relation to overcoming your stuttering habits. It will be tough to confront the past. But necessary.
And now when you only focus on 1 thing you must improve. I have found that the best way to improve is with the following method.
The After Action Review in relation to stuttering habits and mindset
The AAR is a military debriefing method. And you can use it to change your stuttering mindset and overcome social anxiety. The questions are as follows:
- What was supposed to happen?
- What actually happened?
- Why were there differences?
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- What would you do differently next time?
The situation could be like this. You were talking to someone, and you wanted the conversation to flow. What was supposed to happen was that you had fluent speech. What actually happened was that you stuttered and felt anxious. There are numerous reasons why there were differences. One could be you thought too much about what you were going to say. Another could be that you hadn’t visualized the situation. So the why could be that the conversation didn’t turn out the way it should because of a lack of preparation.
What worked was that you survived the situation and now have gathered enough information to know how to perform better next time. So next time you will have practiced visualization to be prepared.
The takeaway: Don’t settle. Challenge your mind and mindset to perform.
Never settle for less that you deserve. You deserve to have clarity, but clarity comes with a cost. You must face your fears. You must go down into the dungeon in your mind and kill the dragons and wights. (Yes I have been reading way too much Got).
I changed because of circumstances and then I changed my circumstances
It was really hard to look at my neighbor dead with the medics on each side. She was 50 years old. But it struck me, that we only have so much time left on this planet. That we have to decide what we’re doing with our time. Do something that you really want. It will be hard because everything that’s worth doing is hard.
Outside forces changed me, and then I took control and changed my circumstances and environment. It’s all decisions. You have to take a decision whether you want to stutter or not. And you must have so much clarity in your mind that you’ll believe your own decision. Otherwise, the bullshit alarm goes off in your mind and nothing happens.
What’s the one step that you can do today to declutter and make room for clarity and white space?
How would you spend my life if you die at age 30, 40 or 50?