Today I am going to share with you, perhaps the most effective strategy that helped me overcome my stammering. I call it the “Brute Force”. For those of you who’re not aware of the term, it actually belongs to the world of Data Encryption, where you try every possible combinations to decrypt the data until you get the correct one. So it’s basically a trial and error method.
By now you must be thinking what does this non-sense have to with stammering? Well, trust me, the same method can be applied here too:
So, throughout my childhood, my parents tried every possible solution to this problem. I tried speech therapy, slow-talking, breathing exercises and what not! I was dead-tired of these gimmicks and literally told my mom that I am not continuing any of this bullshit from now! I’ve had enough. But hey! My mom just found even a better option. She said that, “Well, if you don’t want therapy, we’ll stop it right away. In return, you’ll have to promise me one thing – You will have to participate in the upcoming speech competition at school”. And, I was like “Is this some kind of joke?” but you know what, I was so fed up with the therapy that I was ready to do almost anything to stop it. My mom soon prepared a basic draft of what I was going to speak at the competition on the topic “My School” (what else would you expect from a Class 3 speech competition?). Anyway, I started the preparation. I literally crammed up the two pages so that I wouldn’t forget anything on the stage. I spent countless hours practicing in front of the mirror, improving my body language, sharpening my accent etc. Soon, the “D – Day” approached.
As soon as my name was announced, I got up quickly, avoiding the reaction of my friends and teachers, and straightaway went to the mic. “G-o-o-d M-o-o-r-ning Everyone, My name is A-a-a-bhi – Blank!” The words simply refused to come out of my mouth. My shirt soon became wet with perspiration, I was damn near to crying and felt so humiliated that I wished a dinosaur would come and eat me up! However, with the little courage I had, I told the host that I can’t continue anymore. Fortunately, the host understood my mental condition and allowed me to step down. Ah! The humiliation, the laughter, the mockery!
Strangely, I did not feel dejected. This was the worst experience I’ve ever had in my life but it taught me a very important thing – The worst has already happened. How bad could it get now? – This line gave me a profound strength. Therefore, I, with renewed confidence and hope, began preparing for the next year. I worked nearly twice as hard as the earlier time. I practiced so much that by the time the event came, I was totally ready to deliver a fantastic speech! I reached the event an hour earlier and occupied the first place. Within 5 minutes into the event, my mind again went into a turmoil. What if I fail? That guy’s speech is amazing. What if I don’t match to him? What if I forget the lines? But with almost herculean might, I shouted in my mind “ENOUGH! I am going on the stage right now – Jo hoga wo dekha jayega (Come what may!).” Saying thus, I took a deep breath and went on to the stage.
The next series of events have been quoted from my earlier blog on “How to deal with those who mock you?”-
“One of the students even yelled at me “Is this some kind of joke, Abhi?”. But you know what I did? I calmly ignored him and moved on with my speech. I spoke constantly for 4 minutes (without even catching my breath), just staring at the wall of the auditorium and ignoring everyone else.
When I completed, I couldn’t believe I had done that! I took the brave step towards my fight and was successful! My mother, who was sitting at the back, was very happy to see me speak so eloquently and my teachers were equally surprised. My peers (especially the “joke” guy) were dumbfounded on seeing this. Since that day, they realized what a terrible mistake they had done by mocking me (Some of them even apologized to me). With the passing years, as I began to participate more and more in such competitions, their mockery transformed into respect. Even today, when I bumped into an old classmate, he saw me with such a respect and awe. And that has been my biggest feat till date!”
This was my “Brute Force” approach. However, you should know this as a fact that this “correct combination” was not achieved by some random luck! It was a result of literally tons of practice in front of the mirror and also before my parents and friends. So my “stammering” was actually cured by all that practice, and not just by randomly marching on the stage with some halfhearted attempt t o memorize a few lines. It was all a result of constant hard work and a burning desire to fight stammer! At the same time, the exposure I got by participating in speech competitions was something that helped more than anything else in the world. It made me overcome my stage fright. It made me realize that even I could achieve that marvelous feat!
My best advice to you is, and always will be, ” All you need is a pinch of courage, some self-confidence and a TON of practice!”. If you have that, congratulations, the day is not far, when you too, would be starting a website like “Fight Your Stammer” and share your experiences with the world!
May the “Brute” Force be with you!