Friday, March 31, 2006

Transfer-Wk 21,Fri.-Missing a key component

Anybody who knows me, follows this blog, or has seen my before-after videos has to conclude; fluency shaping speech therapy works. Not that it was the goal of this blog to prove it; but I do hope my experience has contributed further proof that total fluency control is possible despite the level of severity.

Now having said that, my fluency is sliding, my practice is becoming even less frequent, and although I’ve accomplished major goals with my speaking (see any toastmasters post), I have not yet gotten to the point of having transferred my skills completely to the real world yet.

It’s hard work … not in the way, moving pianos is hard work, but in the way that losing weight is hard work. Really, losing weight isn’t rocket science. There is a simple formula for losing weight any idiot can learn; burn more calories than you take in. Pretty simple eh? Eat less or exercise more or do both.

So how is it that; the majority of North Americans are still overweight? Most people know how to lose weight, there are serious quality of life and medical issues to motivate us, and there is plenty of social reinforcement in that direction.

So why are we, as a society, so damn fat?

I chalk it up to self discipline. Or lack of it to be precise.

Self-discipline means doing what needs to be done whether you want to do it or not. For example, some children do not want to do their home tasks assigned by teachers. They would rather watch television or do nothing in particular. Such children are not self-disciplined. Unless they change their pattern of behavior, they will not be successful in the workplace as adults. What is true of some children is also true of some adults. A self-disciplined individual, however, realizes that certain things must be done in order to achieve long-term goals.

Seattle Pacific University: Themes in Morality and the World of Work

Lack of self discipline is, in my humble opinion, also the leading cause of my failure to do the recommended practice. I guess it’s a personal character flaw.

Having said that, I should point out; I’m not completely without character. I am a competent programmer who adds value to the world everyday and have run a profitable business for 9 of the past 10 years, with it being my only source of income for more than 6 of those years. Not bad since I don’t do sales calls or give out my phone number.

However; I do perform better in a structured environment. During therapy, I was able to attend therapy 5 hours per day, spend 3 hours in transit per day, get at least 3 hours of homework done per night, 12 hours homework on weekend, produce 6 detailed blog entries per week, get 40 hours work done per week, and still spend a bit of time with my kids.

Without structure, my performance falters. By working at home, I have almost zero structure. There is no start time, end time, lunch time, meetings … there’s nothing. As a result of this, 8 hours of work often takes longer than 8 hours, and hours per day increase as deadlines get closer. Don’t get me wrong, the work gets done, but often at the cost of personal/family time.

Anyway, my speech practice usually gets lost in the above mess. Lori, my therapist pointed out this lack of structure and it’s effect in my follow up session Wednesday. I knew I had a problem with this, but hadn’t really recognized it as ‘structure’ until she pointed it out.

Speaking of my follow up, I wasn’t even going to attend since my practice has been so dismal since my daughter was born. I attended, if for nothing else but to ‘not quit’. Personally, I feel that missing a therapy session is the first step in quitting. It’s like going to the gym; you get up at 5:00 and hit the gym everyday for months, and everything is going fine until one day when you say ‘I’m going to skip it .. just today .. I deserve a break’ … and that’s the beginning of the end of going to the gym.

Lori, told me to just do the shaping when ever I could, and the same with the transfers … just do them whenever … just not at bed time. But actually, if I still haven’t done it and it is bed time, not going to bed until it’s done, may actually be a good idea as well.

Something else which has occurred to me is the high standards our society places on us to feel successful at anything. I mean personally, for me to feel successful, I’d have to have a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, have at least a billion dollars, look like Pierce Bronson, have a wife who looks like goddess, have the level of respect and admiration of Bill Clinton, and have all my kids go on to achieve the same level of “success”. Some of that is an exaggeration … but I do wish I looked like Pierce Bronson. ;-)

So am I over reacting? Is this the standard road to successful fluency? Am I doing well?

Or am I a failure in my therapy? And am currently blogging about my failure to follow through?

Time will tell I guess. I suspect there are many who do not transition their skills successfully, not even as successfully as I have to date. Also, the fact that I haven’t given up, at least places me somewhere above the losers, but not quite among the winners. … off in my own little world I guess. ;-)

Like all the overweight chronic dieters out there, I lack the self discipline to complete the transition process. In future posts I plan to focus on self discipline and motivation as it applies to my situation.

Not meant as advice, please find a qualified therapist if you are interested in similar therapy.


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