Ego is bad for people. Sounds clichéd?? Well, It’s more so for pws. The singular factor that can ease the life of a pws is – Confidence. It is when the mind and heart are in unison, without fear, that words flow unhindered. For a pws like me, (teacher with stammering) with nowhere to hide, the larger goal is not to implement speech techniques or muscle relaxation but to stay in a positive state of mind. Simply put, to be happy! Always!!!. Easier said than done, eh? Well, easy is for normal humans. We are god’s special products, we don’t dig easy. We need to have our daily dose of challenges.
So, how do we be happy always? Or at least when we need to put our vocal cords to use. Well, to state the obvious, give up our ego. Being a pws, I already have enough baggage, right? why do I need this additional burden labeled ego? Before proceeding, let me tell you upfront that I am not a Master Oogway with all the wisdom of the world. What I am though, is a practitioner of the special art of fooling oneself. At the doorstep to a classroom full of psychotic Mechanical Engineering Students, I am left with no option but to tell myself ‘Aaall is well’ and go face the music.
Over the years, I have had a lot of success and few unimaginable failures of managing a class. In all the successful days, the common denominator was a ‘Happy’ me entering the class. The happiness is in knowing for sure that I am well prepared for the class. Happiness is in knowing that I am going to dazzle my wards with “Oh, that’s how it works!” clarity. But then, remember that daily promised dose of challenges? Well, it pops up. Mostly in the form of ego. Tiff with the wife, argument with a friend, disagreement with the boss, a notorious student, anything that will put you off balance, and the slide begins. The much familiar choke in the throat, quiver in the lips and lo and behold, the PWS!!
To make matters worse, I am a Leo! Yeah, blessed with a gigantic ego. Even the stars have conspired against me! Let me be honest here, I am in the midst of a relapse triggered by reasons that are a mixture of both, personal and professional setbacks. I am writing this because it helps me put things into perspective. Writing is therapeutic. My classes have become a nightmare. But then I know it can change anyday, one good class and I am back. For the less informed on stammering, how about this: I handle two classes. I manage quite well in one and for reasons best known to God, I struggle like hell in the other.
To cut the merry go round short, ego issues causes emotional turmoil and your confidence takes a beating. Without confidence, we are at risk. Always. So here are my five points to kickass!
1) We need to avoid tussles. Remember that our fight is bigger.
2) Laugh as much as we can. Laughter is our ally. It brightens up our mind. When things get out of hand in class, humour is what bails me out.
3) Never expect or want perfection. I know this goes against all that “Learn to be successful”, “Become Rich” books that are there in the market. They are for normal. But we are not normal, We are awesome. We do not want to be burdened with unreal expectations. We have a small thing called ‘confidence’ to take care of. So stay away from wanting too much. Count your blessings people. Don’t like it? Go ahead, sue me! Told you I am a Leo.
4) Antithesis to the above, do not fear for the worst. It never happens except in our imaginative busy little minds. So, 3 and 4 put together says, stay away from extremes. Middle ground, safe ground.
5) Work your butt off. Give in to work. Not to achieve anything, but for the satisfaction of have lived a good day. Never trust your idle mind to behave. Inferiority complex is a pws’s shadow. How could we help it? The whole world made you feel lesser than others in your younger days. It’s bound to be there. Effective way to deal with it is to work. To belong. To function. To be busy.
As I write this, I am making a promise to myself that I will continue to work on my ego. You all should do too. We, PWSs of the world, have an opportunity to be better humans. In our main battle against stammering, smaller victories against human frailties, such as ego, will make our lives special.
I am thankful to TISA community.
Here, I can SPEAK.
Mangalore – Karnataka.