SAM Meeting 04/27/24 – When All Else Fails

Host: Danny

Speaker: Coach Lee

Topic: When All Else Fails

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS

At SAM, by Lee Lovett 240427

 

Someone asked me if my SAM Talk today would be as good as Fatoumatta’s.  I replied that my only concern with anything that I do is this:  Is it MY best work?  How it compares to others is irrelevant.  My life battle is simply “Lee vs. Lee”.

 

I am reminded of so many years ago, when I was 39, and I was giving an oral presentation in Baltimore County, Maryland, seeking a cable TV franchise to serve its then roughly 1M population.  There were 8 or so huge companies vying for the license.  I represented a group of prominent local citizens who had no experience in cable TV but much experience in what was good for their community.  I asked one of my cable TV clients, John Walson, to join our team of locals as a 10% owner and as the one who would build the system.   John Walson, immigrated from Poland in his twenties.  Despite having only a third-grade education, he was literally the inventor of cable TV in 1948; he did it by putting a TV antenna on mountain and running a wire from the antenna to a small town in PA, which was in a valley between mountains where off-air TV signals could not reach.  He sold TV’s and charged $300 to wire nearby homes plus $1.95 a month to deliver 3 TV signals to homes.  John became among the then ten richest Americans by the time that he became my client.

 

The large hearing room in Baltimore was jammed to the gills with spectators.  After my oral presentation (which was as passionate and compelling as I could make it), one of our competitors (the head of a large oil company in Texas), approached me and said, “Well, Lee, I have always expected that there would be a second coming of Christ, but I never thought that I’d live to see it – and that it would take the form of your client, John Walson.” // Amb. Siebert (who was then new to our law firm) was similarly moved by my presentation and later told me that I was wasting my time practicing law and that I should be running for President.  Both comments made me blush, but the point is that, when you are inspired by your message, when you believe what you’re saying, and when you REALLY say it like you mean it, your speech rises to its best level – and all thoughts and risks of stuttering are washed away.

 

Today’s talk is a watershed event for me.  Why?  It is my best, current answer to the seminal question of PWS, “When all else fails, how can I avoid stuttering?”

 

BEFORE we address that question again today, we must remind ourselves of this basic fact:  Stuttering is not an on-off switch.  It is on a dimmer.  Most of us won’t stop it on demand quickly, much less overnight; we will slowly “dim” stuttering out of our lives – first, where it is easiest to do so and, then, to the next most pressured situation, and, then, finally, to the most difficult situation.  If forced to speak under more pressure than we can then handle, we use draconian measures, which we’ll discuss in a few minutes.

 

In the end, stuttering is a ridiculous disorder; in logic, it makes zero sense.  It is simply a nasty habit that can be unlearned.  My motto or mantra, as stated on the cover of my books, remains true: If we can say ONE word anywhere, anytime, logic says that we can say ANY word anywhere, anytime.  But how do we break the habit of stuttering and avoid stuttering in panic situations?

 

First, second and third, if we don’t believe that we can stop stuttering, we never will.  Never forget the inventor of the automobile, Henry Ford’s, famous observation, “When I say ‘I can’ OR ‘I can’t’, I’m right.”  So, look around you and see this community of fluent and fast-becoming fluent people.  If all these ex-PWS can do it, SO CAN YOU, BUT you must believe that you can do it.  That said, let’s talk.

 

From the first day that I began helping others beat stuttering, the endless and most troubling question was and remains:

 

“What do I do when all else fails?”

 

No matter how much the PWS does (reading aloud, practicing Crutches and Speech Plans and mind-training), sometimes, only sometimes, for reasons he/she canNOT explain, under extreme pressure, he/she panics, and he stutters — and then he says:

 

My mind went blank and I started stuttering.

What can I do then, when all else fails?”

 

This has happened to all of us.  Most of you have asked this question.  I have discussed this topic, in many different ways, many times.  Most of my answers now will be familiar to you.  However, since coaching is learning, I view the answers somewhat differently all the time.  So, I did NOT refer to any of my prior writings or comments to prepare this talk!  Instead, I will give you a spontaneous answer – one that I wrote this week, to share with you today:  My latest and best CURRENT retort to this ugly conundrum.   / /

 

– – – – – – – – – – –

 

Many times, we have discussed three very important things:

 

First: We cannot GRADE any speech as “bad” unless it is CLEARLY speech disabled, in the opinion of a fluent stranger.   We must ignore and forget any negative speech that falls short of appearing clearly disabledIf we do not do this, we will not likely ever stop appearing speech disabled. The odd thing is that, once you stop harsh grading/demanding perfection from yourself, you still should keep on trying to improve, and, in time, you will speak better than your fluent peers; and you well may even get close to speech as perfect as a human can produce.

 

Second: In addition to not grading yourself harshly, we canNOT PERMIT BAD INCIDENTS (i.e., allow ourselves to appear clearly speech disabled in the view of a fluent stranger), OR we will likely stutter to our respective graves.  But how can we do this?

 

Third, in addition, we must make our Tools (Crutches and Speech Plans) work under extreme pressure.  This requires more PRACTICE than many realize and/or do.  They won’t practice enough (if at all); so, they keep failing – blaming the very methods that have enabled hundreds of PWS to stop stuttering.

 

How much practice it takes depends on the severity, type and tenure of stuttering.  How can you know how much practice is needed?  If you are having any bad incidents, you need to practice more.  How much more will not be known until you are able to stop the bad incidents.  Best Plan:  Use the Tools 24/7, as if under pressure, day and night in ALL conversations, until they work under extreme pressure.

 

That’s what you should do.

 

Now, when you have NOT done that, what should you do when panic hits under pressure; how can you then avoid having a bad incident?

 

Those UNprepared for extreme pressure have three choices when panic strikes:

 

First:  Stop talking, take a two count AND use our Tools (Crutches and/or Speech Plans) and continue speaking; OR

 

Second: Talk less and use whichever Tools you can and use avoidance to the extent needed; OR,

 

Third: Worst case, our Draconian solution: Stop talking and possibly leave the scene; avoid the problem.

 

I hate suggesting that anyone use avoidance.  However, during my several years of teaching myself ways not to stutter, I did all three of the above, as needed at that very second.  I always avoided the bad incident; so, eventually, I stopped stuttering.

 

How can you learn to use the Tools under pressure?  Do four things:

 

(1) Keep the increments of words short (1-3 words or so) and

 

(2) say “allwordsasone”, while humming through all words, and

 

(3) the longer and more frequent your stops, the easier it is to avoid stuttering and

 

(4) know C1-8 and a basic Speech Plan (such as short-link-stop) well enough to use them easily on any individual word or short increment of words.  IF your mind goes blank under pressure, YOU DO NOT KNOW C1-8 OR ANY SPEECH PLAN WELL ENOUGH.  In that event, you should (1) talk enough less to avoid a bad incident OR, if absolutely necessary, (2) don’t talk and consider leaving the scene THIS TIME.  Next time, you will know your Crutches and Speech Plan well enough to handle the problem without leaving or, in time, without even talking less.  You’ll get like Prathusha and me; you’ll love babbling and not fear it all.  You will then welcome pressure and speak ever better when experiencing it.

 

Again, for the millionth time, one thing is certain: If we keep allowing bad incidents, we will likely stutter to our graves.  So, stopping bad incidents isn’t an option; it’s a must, for all who wish and expect to beat it. //

 

To learn to swim, we must swim. We cannot learn to swim by watching others swim.  So, we must tippy toe into pressure, always speaking just a bit more than we are comfortable, thus always increasing our speaking under pressure and our enjoyment of it.  Then, in the long run, we WILL talk under pressure, gradually more and more, until we KNOW that we can stop any bad incident; then, and only then, will the pressure go away.

 

All of us are 99.9% identical, BUT we are still unique.  So, the answer or exact methods for every person may be a little bit different.

 

In general, to be safe under extreme pressure, do this:

 

*  Speak in very short increments of 1-3 words.

*  Be sure to stop for one, full second and use more 2 second stops.

*  As you speak, force your mind to focus on a thought that you have practiced and mastered, such as thinking:

 

“allwordsasone” OR

“hum through words” OR

think “pronunciation”  OR

“smile”  OR

“joyful passion” OR

anything else on which you can focus fully  AND

how to say your message with maximum expressiveness.

 

Then, practice; practice; practice.  You should speak ONLY using a simple Speech Plan (e.g., Short-Link-Stop) 24/7, seven days a week, for a week, a month or more, AS much as needed BY YOU to MASTER your Speech Plan (SP).

 

Don’t kid yourself; don’t tell yourself you have mastered the Crutches and Speech Plans when you know better.  IF you have, you will not panic under pressure, period.  Keep practicing.  It’s not really hard to stop stuttering for most, but it takes more “practice and persistence” than most realize OR are willing to invest.

 

Some PWS still leave our program because they do not MASTER our Tools enough to avoid panicking and having bad incidents.  These people do not prove that our methods don’t work; they simply prove that they won’t learn them.  The obvious truth is that, what hundreds have done and keep doing, WILL WORKJ for 99% of humans.

 

How can you know when you have mastered our Speech Plans and Crutches enough to avoid a bad incident (appearing speech disabled to a fluent stranger)?  You can’t know UNTIL you have tested it.

 

One of my students, always ends our sessions by saying, “I’ll try.”  Unfortunately, trying is just not good enoughWe have to say and think, “I’ll do it; I’ll keep at it until I do” and believe it.  If you won’t believe in yourself (that you’re like the rest of us and CAN beat it), we can’t help you.  If he keeps insisting on saying “I’ll try”, I won’t coach him.  I can’t help those who don’t believe that they can beat it.

 

So, instead of “trying”, JUST DO IT!  Don’t say “I’ll try.”  Say, “I’ll do it.”  IF you will SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND THUS REFUSE TO FORCE A WORD, you can’t stutter.

 

Once your mouth is SHUT, you can think and use SOLUTIONS (any of many).  Pick a few favorites and alternate among them.  IF YOU DO, it will be impossible to stutter.  At worst, you be “guilty” of some long pauses.  So what!!!  EVERY fluent person is, too.  You MUST prevent ALL bad incidents, period.  THAT is what you do “when all else fails.”

 

When you do this, and when you accept the fact that you CAN do this, then and only then, will have stopped stuttering.

 

There is one, very simple, alternative to all of the foregoing that will work as well or even better.  I’ve said it at SAM many times.  You know what it is.  You know what I’m going to say.  It is this:

 

[THIS PARAGRAPH SAID WITH OVER THE TOP PASSION]

If you, or anyone, will simply THINK ANY POSITIVE MESSAGE and SAY IT (as I am saying this now) WITH MAXIMUM, EVEN OVER THE TOP, JOYFUL PASSION, there will be no need for any Crutch or any Speech Plan or anything else; YOU WILL BE INSTANTLY AND PERMANENTLY FLUENT IN ALL SITUATIONS.  BUT you can’t hold back; you can’t plan words; you must throw yourself into your message with NO reservations of any kind.  Can you do it?  Will you do it?  You’ve just got to do it.  Don’t you see?  Won’t you try?  Won’t you do it?  Do it for your mother, your family, your friends, your work makes, for your ex-stuttering and still stuttering mates, and do it FOR YOURSELF – and for me.

 

I’ll make you a bet:  Not one PWS, who has continuously panicked under pressure, had his mind go blank and stuttered, not one of those people has EVER spoken “over the top”.  They don’t even do it in drills in our coaching sessions.  They hold back.  Then, they ask me, “What can I do?”  I must then ask them and you: How can I make the answer plainer?  The answer isn’t “another program” (especially one by non-stutterers); it’s use this program that has worked and continues to work every month for hundreds LIKE YOU.

 

Yes, your speech may be a bit “over the top” for now, but how much over the top?  That depends on how severe your stuttering is.  Whatever the needed level of over-the-top speech, it will be better than stuttering.

 

Example:  The worst stuttering case that I ever new, a virtual mute under pressure, who still struggles often mute.  What can/should he do?  In my view, he has two options:  (1) Sing, shout or whisper, at whatever level is needed to break the muteness or (2) write on a tablet, and, as he does, sing, whisper or speak the words to whatever level he can, and, in time, he won’t need to write any longer.  Will he do this?  No, he won’t or hasn’t.  I fear that, until he, too, is willing to do this and break his muteness, he will remain mute.  He is holding back to the extreme, but he could break it.

 

Also, ALL OUR METHODS only needed TEMPORARILY – until bad incidents are ended.  You need speak over-the-top only until you have done it long enough (in your unique case) to replace the stutter-habit with the fluency-habit.  As you gradually do this, you will be able to gradually reduce the degree of your “over-the-top” speech and even all uses of our Tools.  Mind training (for non-speech issues) is part of our program than never ends.

 

IN THIS WORLD, there are NO OTHER PROGRAMS with any meaningful body of stopped stuttering cases, AND no other programs created and taught by EX-stutterers.  And nowhere else will you find a SAM Club, Practice Sessions, thousands of coaching videos, dozens of Master Class videos, an army of books about stopping stuttering, and Certified Stuttering Therapists to give you private sessions.  Nowhere else will you find a whole community of people like you, who understand you and can help you.  This is it.  So, be a Man or Woman and stay with us and our program until you beat it.  If you fail, don’t worry.  Just keep trying.  IF you do, you WILL beat it in time.  IF you don’t believe this, just go on Amazon and read the reviews, several hundred of them. Just read the 70 or so on my latest book, “How to Stop Stuttering & Love Speaking”.  They glow with praise by M.D.’s, Ph.D.’s and even SLP’s, and they are 94% 5 Star.    Can all these people be wrong?

 

No coach or other person can do any of the things that I have discussed today FOR YOU, BUT YOU CAN do them FOR YOURSELF.  It just takes “patience and persistence”, to quote Konstantin, one of our PWSS.  Many of us have done it, and you ARE like us, for better and worse.  So, do it and join us in the fluent world.

 

While historical accounts vary, some say that, some 2,500 years ago, there is said to have lived a Chinese guru, called Lao Tzu, aka Laozi, whose many famous quotes included these words:

 

“When I let go of what I am,

I can become what I might be.”

[// Repeat //]

 

NOW is the time for you and all of us to become what we might be!

Thanks for your time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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