Consistency: The Key to Habit-Formation and Speech Fluency
Formation of a habit is initially triggered by a goal. The more you are focused on a goal, the more quickly you will strive to form the habit. Consistent repetition of the elements of the desired habit will expedite and re-enforce it. Strong, consistent habits can overcome stuttering and convert stuttering into a blessing.
I recall studying McGregor’s X and Y theory during my MBA, which is based on human work motivation and management. It is applicable to treating stuttering.
In theory X, the manager believes that the employees are negatively motivated and lack ambition and they require constant motivation to achieve the desired productivity. For example: An employee will work well when he knows that he will be rewarded for his work (positive motivation) and on the other hand, the employees may work well for the fear of losing the job because of a cranky boss (negative motivation). To my surprise, the negative motivation seems to be more effective but less efficient than the positive ones. For example, consider the Covid situation, if you had given a person 1000 dollars and asked him to stay at home for a month, he may or may not have stayed depending on how important the money serves his needs but during the Covid era people were at their homes because they understood that it was essential in order to stay alive.
In theory Y, the manager believes that the employees are self-driven and are highly motivated by their contribution to the work. These are rare group of people – those whose personal goals align with their professional goals, which unites the group by common value, vision, mission etc. However, unfortunately, this type of employee is difficult to find.
For example, consider the period during the WWII, there were many leaders, and one person per house was a soldier. During wartime, many leaders emerge, thus proving that “leaders are not born but made”, as goes the axiom. That is, they turn crisis into opportunity. (The Chinese symbol for “crisis” also means “opportunity”. Each is the other.) The prime driver is “necessity”: When there is a need or a demand, we tend to bend our behaviors and traits to serve those needs. The Covid-pandemic came, and virtually all of us adapted to the virtual world and that’s how it works. This is the best practice and considered more efficient and effective in terms of obtaining results.
Instant Gratification vs. Long Term Change
Coming back to our problem (“stuttering”), how do we stay motivated in doing The Lovett Method and, specifically, its 1,2,3 punch? To my surprise, the more severe the stuttering, the harder most strive to stick to the Lovett regimen. Indeed, I have seen many covert (very mild) stutterers who are not as determined as are the most severe (shut-down blockers). There are exceptions, but the shut-down blockers seem to be more motivated and self-driven because of the “necessity”, every time they try to speak, they block and this constantly motivates them to use a crutch hence, sometimes they even become a PWSS faster than a covert stutterer.
An example is Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker, who talks about the importance of consistency to achieve a desired goal. Every day, you go the gym and do an intense 3 hour exercise and look at yourself at the mirror!! You will see NO CHANGE. The next day you go, do an intense 4 hour exercise and you come home and see yourself!! Again NO CHANGE. So, immediately you quit because you feel that it is ineffective. We live in a world where everyone wants an INSTANT GRATIFICATION. But if you work out for 20 mins every day and believe that this is the right course of action and COMMIT yourself to the regimen, then definitely you will see great improvement in time.
We are human, however. We will miss some workouts and go off our diets now and then – but not enough to break the momentum of our ongoing improvement. We don’t have to be perfect, and reasonable deviation will not prevent our long-term habit formation. However, if we are to make the crutches work, we need to apply them as close to 24/7 as we can.
To make Lee’s crutches work, we need to make sure that we use them a bit more than the previous day!! It is not about the INTENSITY but the CONSISTENCY, which enables us to form the habit. So, give yourself permission to make mistakes but develop strategies for getting back on track quickly. This shows your resilience. Habit is a process and not an event, so you need to embrace the process and commit to the change.
Do you know that a person changes his attitude, behavior and characteristics only under two conditions?
- Condition 1: when one is stressed!!
- Condition 2: when one is inspired!!
When one gets stressed, he can either harm himself and lose confidence or gather all the strength to achieve his goal. But when one is inspired then there is no room for negativity and they will inspire many along the way. For example: Coach Lee inspires a lot of people with his methods, and we-CSC’s follow him, and we are in turn inspiring others along the journey of “eradicating stuttering from this planet”.
My request to all the PWS out there is to not join any of the online “support groups”, as they tend to preach “acceptance” of stuttering and tend to waste much time pitying each other; in time, they get demotivated and suffer their stuttering to their graves. Instead, join SAC, as it provides a beautiful platform for PWS to get inspired from PWSS. Believe that you can beat stuttering and you will!!