One-pointedness: the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. Learning how to focus on one thing at a time will make you stutter less.
When a hundred thoughts race through your head, your speech is just as all over the place as those thoughts.
In my experience, I was never able to concentrate. I was distracted way too easily by things happening around me and especially by my thoughts. I was a professional day dreamer as well.
Always lost in thinking and never able to focus on the task at hand. School suffered by this, and as I later found, my speech did too.
In social situations I went from day dreaming to fearful thoughts, wondering what people think of me, telling myself not to stutter, while there were other things happening around me that I felt I had to keep an eye on to see if it were things that could be a ‘threat’ to me.
Where is the focus?
Where is the focus? Everywhere! It is completely divided over the 100 things you want to do at once.
You can compare this to multi-tasking. Which, recent studies show, is complete bullshit and even bad for you.
When you ‘multi-task’:
- You cannot get into the ‘zone’ of speaking. Focusing on everything but the task at hand makes you unable to get into the zone, unable to get into the flow of fluency. You’re not focusing on enjoying the conversation, which should be your number 1 priority. Your thoughts are scattered and so is your speech.
- It introduces errors into whatever you’re doing. This too goes for speaking. Let’s be honest, you haven’t learned how to speak properly yet. And in order to do so you need focused attention. Play darts and you’re practicing to hit the bulls-eye? You will have to have focused attention. The same goes with your speech, certain things NEED to happen when you want to learn to speak fluently. Focused breathing, eye contact, start talking on your out breath, taking your time, clearly pronouncing the words, keep yourself relaxed. It all needs your undivided attention.
- It is stressing you out. Too many things you’re worrying about causes your heart rate to go up, adrenaline goes up, and tension arises and so will stuttering.
- You’re not seeing what is happening in front of you. This busybodyness creates distraction from actually enjoying the company of others. You are in your own world, closed off from others. You’re communication becomes uncertain, awkward and confusing just like your thinking. It leads to more stuttering.
You need to get into the art of one-pointedness. The art of right concentration.
Relax yourself for a minute. Take a deep breath, fully breathe out and let go. Lower your shoulders and loosen up.
For a moment listen to the sounds of your surroundings, it will make you stop thinking. Slowly breathe in and out.
Now pick one sound to focus on for 10 seconds, then find the next sound to focus on for 10 seconds. Amp it up to 20 or 30 seconds while easily breathing.
One pointedness means shutting off excess thoughts. Because those excess thoughts only get in your way of becoming more fluent. Take action towards more and more single focus.
Worrying months in advance about a test, feeling anxious about that presentation that you have to do in a week. Stop that and start looking for what can you do now in order to improve the outcome of that what will happen in the future. Worrying about it certainly won’t.
Focus on the one thing that’s important right now.
One pointedness allows you to focus on what’s important right now. Be it enjoying a conversation, focusing on your breathing, or preparing that speech you have to give in two weeks from now.
Focus on the one thing you have to do now. Focus on that and don’t stop until you finished that task. After that you can think about the next one.
When you’re speaking to someone, focus on speaking to that person. Listen to what he or she is saying, enjoy the interaction. You can observe what’s going on inside of you, with your thoughts and emotions, but keep focusing on the task at hand: conversating.
You can train yourself through breathing exercises, meditation or the exercise I wrote about above.
But the best training is to start implementing this in your day to day life. Focus on doing the dishes, nothing else in between. Focus on writing that speech, no distractions. Focus on working out in the gym, no texting in between sets.
Focus on the now and lett go of excess thoughts.
Stuttering isn’t just stuttering, as in something that happens with your speech. It is DEEPLY ingrained into your day to day behavior. Gradually changing that day to day behavior will mean gradually changing your speech from stuttering to fluency.
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