- Being obsessed is the only way to achieve fluency
- Feed your fluency, not your stuttering
- You are not your stuttering
- Will strength is underrated
- Motivation is key
Fluency is something you wanted your entire life. To be great at talking and even talking fluently without stuttering, blocks, or anxiety. What if I told you the cold hard truth that wishing for fluency isn’t enough. Does it shatter your dreams? Does it make you feel bad because you thought you were doing your very best?
If you just wish to have fluent speech, then I say that it’s not enough. You have to stand at the edge, knowing that if you don’t make this jump across the abyss, you’ll never achieve fluency. You have to shed sweat, blood and tears. That’s how I got where I am today. You have to jump and it has to be the best god damn jump you’ve ever made. It’s going to be so hard on you mentally that you want to cry and give up. Then with tears in your eyes you’re going to carry on. It’s alright to admit it’s hard; that it’s the hardest you’ve ever done. It’s fine. But when you decide that this is it, you don’t give up. You stretch your perspective on who you are; your identity. In order to do this you have to be obsessed about fluency.
To “beat” stuttering, you have to do extraordinary things, because stuttering is an extraordinary habit.
Let’s dig further into how we be obsessed about fluency.
Obsessed about stuttering – or how we obsess about the wrong things
You need to be obsessed with achieving fluency. Really obsessed about it. It should be on your mind 24 hours a day.
Then you say: “But Matt, I am obsessed. I always think about how I hate my stuttering and how I wish I lived a stutter free life.” Yes, that’s the mistake you’re making. You’re focusing on “hating your stuttering” and unicorn-zones without stuttering. It’s this kind of negative thinking that takes you nowhere.
It’s common for people who sometimes stutter to focus on the wrong things. The wrong thing here is to live without stuttering. The whole premise is to take “stuttering” out of the equation. The thing is that what you think about that is what you’ll get.
Think about what will you achieve, like really achieve? What is your goal? It should be in the area of: “To live a life with fluency in most of my sentences knowing that I am just like everybody else who also “stutter” sometimes.” That will set you free because the pressure is gone.
When you think of stuttering you feed the beast
It is so easy to lose focus on your target. When you lose focus you begin to think about your stuttering and how it inhibits your day and life. What you should be doing is to tell everyone about your goal about achieve fluency. Tell them that you only focus on your best speech throughout the day. That you focus on your fluency. And if they catch you talking about stuttering they are obliged to get you out of the rut and regain focus.
You should also think about the gains you’ll have when achieving fluency. Write down 3-5 things you’ll gain when you achieve fluency. And remember that fluency isn’t something that comes from one day to the next. It’s achieved over a span of weeks.
Always think of fluency. Always. When you think about stuttering you are thinking about what you want to avoid. Always think about what you want to gain.
You are not your stuttering
The most devasting thing you can do to yourself is to say that you are your stuttering. That stuttering is part of your identity. This kind of thinking is like eating cancer cells several times a day. Would you do that? No, I didn’t think so. But if you say to yourself that stuttering is who you are then you’re really shooting yourself in the foot. Like BIG TIME.
When you say that stuttering is your identity, what you’re actually saying that you’ll never be able to do anything about it.
Here Narrative therapy really is helpful. Narrative therapy helps you focus on the alternative stories about your speech; it’s the speech that you don’t notice because it’s the fluent one and the fluent one does not match your overall image of being “A Stutterer”.
From now on you are not A Stutterer; stuttering is a black dog that sometimes bites and at other times it sleeps and you have fluent speech. You are a person who, just like everybody else, stutter sometimes but most of the time you have fluent speech. Remember that and look for fluency.
No part time obsession
Making a hit against stuttering there are no short cuts. You have to be obsessed with fluency; detecting it everywhere and believeing fluency is achieveable. There are no breaks. You cannot just be obsessed Monday through Wednesday and then begin obsessing again on Saturday. It’s when the going gets hard that you have to follow through. When is it hard? It’s hard when you realize that you don’t know who you are because you’ve put too much of your identity into stuttering. When you don’t know who you are, then you have to keep going and have faith in that you are going the right way and that everything will be better. Have faith in that you are creating a new you with the help from alternative stories about your fluency.
It’s when you lose your touch with yourself that you know you’re on the right track; this is where The Stuttering is losing its grip.
Willpower is limitless
Past research found that the ingestion of glucose can enhance self-control. It has been widely assumed that basic physiological processes underlie this effect. We hypothesized that the effect of glucose also depends on people’s theories about willpower. Three experiments, both measuring (experiment 1) and manipulating (experiments 2 and 3) theories about willpower, showed that, following a demanding task, only people who view willpower as limited and easily depleted (a limited resource theory) exhibited improved self-control after sugar consumption. In contrast, people who view willpower as plentiful (a nonlimited resource theory) showed no benefits from glucose—they exhibited high levels of self-control performance with or without sugar boosts. Additionally, creating beliefs about glucose ingestion (experiment 3) did not have the same effect as ingesting glucose for those with a limited resource theory. We suggest that the belief that willpower is limited sensitizes people to cues about their available resources including physiological cues, making them dependent on glucose boosts for high self-control performance.- source
When you believe your willpower is limitless, you go after personal goals, and fell happier. When people believe willpower to be limitless, it is true.
I believe that willpower is limitless; that we can do whatever we want and achieve a goal by simply taking the decision to do it. That’s why I recently decided to make a architect drawn sofa without any prior experience in sofa-making. I’m an academic, not carpenter. None the less I succeeded.
No matter how you think of willpower – whether you think it can be depleted or if you think it’s plentyfull – you have to say the magic words: “God damn it, I’m gonna do it!”. And then do it.
If you believe that willpower can be depleted you should strive to design your life so that you don’t need to use our will strength all the time. If you have a bowl of chips in front of you it will deplete your will strength. The depleted will strength could have been used to clear the path for fluency. This is why I wrote the article on minimalism and stuttering; when you have a home full of things it’s easy to get destracted and that depletes your will strength.
In all cases it doesn’t hurt to make things easier when dealing with stuttering.
Motivation and how to have enough
Achiving fluency when stuttering is a funny thing. On one hand we all want fluency but on the other it’s really scary. I believe it’s because we have put too much of our self into a “Stuttering Identity”. What happens is that on a logical level we want to achieve fluency, but on an emotional level we cannot leave what has made us who we are.
The solution is to detach from stuttering and see it for what it is. Only then will we have the motivation to move forward into the unknown promised land.
You can control your motivation like you can control your will strength. The question is: Does it really motivate you to achieve fluency? Or how bad do you want it? Are ready to leave your stuttering identity and see yourself in a different perspective?
The motivation must be there. If you don’t have it, find a way to get it.
So now what?
You need to be obsessed with fluency. You need to see it everywhere. Go buy a journal and start writing about how you achieved fluency today. Do it for as long as it takes until you believe that you have fluent events.
Begin thinking positive thoughts about yourself and the situations you’ll end up in. Believe in yourself that no matter how difficult it might seem or be, you’ll always have fluent events. Collect those events and tell them to every person.
Most of all remember that you are not your stuttering and never will be.
Decide that you’ll do it. That the end goal is to see yourself as a normal person who also sometimes stutter; but that this is normal.
Refuse to see yourself as a person who stutter. You have unlimited willpower. Go for it.
Where to go from here?
If you want to know more about how to cure stuttering in adults and achieve normal conversations I suggest you read: