When I am speaking about a topic I often think of it as written words. When I know the topic well it feels like I am viewing the words from a distance, like the page of a book in front of me. I see not only the logical progression of my words but also other things (Figure 1). As I speak my mind is able to think about more than just the words I am saying and I can speak at a relaxed and comfortable pace. Normally I can adapt my point quickly and refute challenges to it. I wish it was always like this.
Many times it does not look like that, however. Instead the words are bigger and I can’t process as much (Figure 2). While my logical progression is usually stable in these times, my ability to adapt my point quickly is limited. I may run up against thoughts and points that are unresolved in my mind, which might derail me.
Sometimes I feel like I cannot even see a single full word at a time (Figure 3). When this happens I am more prone to speaking quickly, having thoughts that do not reach a full conclusion, failing to find relevant examples, losing contact with my audience, and regretting speaking in the first place. I feel like I am running full speed over uneven terrain, picking out the next footstep a millisecond before disaster strikes.
My natural inclination is to shut up until I reach Figure 1 status. Unfortunately in a dynamic real life setting the Figure 1 moments are few and far between. I’ve been working on pushing myself to venture into the world of Figure 2 more often. I do my best to leave Figure 3 to others, but find myself forced to hang out there from time to time.
Here’s to perspective.