Philosophical Time With Lauren

October 31, 2010

Journal

I really shouldn’t try to flesh out half-formed ideas on the computer right before bed, so let me say that the gist of the following ramblings will boil down to: I wish someone had told me as a kid that I will fail/do badly at things several times before said thing gets better/easier to do.

It all started Sunday morning when Lloyd was leading services at the nursing home. He’s done this a couple of other times, and I enjoy it because it’s the closest I get to seeing him in ‘teacher’ mode. He is nervous about doing it, but you can’t tell, and I started thinking how he had to be less nervous this time since he had done this before.

So then I started thinking about me, since I do that a lot.

When I was little, I never wanted to be in front of people. I would rather die than have to have many eyes on me. I believe I relived a story like that for you. Same in high school, same in college. I liked to sing, but definitely wasn’t solo material. We used to have mini-recitals in college that were part of your grade, and once Lloyd came to watch me and said, “It’s interesting watching your skirt while you sing. You’re shaking so hard it looks like you’re marking double-time to the music.” Thanks, Lloyd.

Same with public speaking. I quit the speech team in high school before ever participating in a meet. As an adult, I’ve had to do some presentations, and used to have to take medicine to suppress my body’s reaction to adrenaline. My brain would be fine, but my body would go into shake overdrive. I could have made butter if you hung a jar of cream around my neck.

But it’s better now. I can talk in front of adults now with just a bit of nervousness, and if I would keep doing that, it would probably go away completely. (Not the singing, though. That ship has sailed.)

So, does this make sense? If someone had sat down with 18-year-old Lauren and said, “You are going to speak in public – say – 30 times before you get comfortable in front of people. It will be a complete train wreck for the first 10, less awful for the next 10, and kind of alright for the last 10.”

If someone had said that, then I wouldn’t have minded how horrible it was. “Well, at least I just have 9 more awful times left. Let’s just get through those.”

Did this make any amount of sense? My wise sister, Keren, once told me, “Every time you do something – even if you do it badly – it prepares you for the next time you have to do it.” See, I needed that earlier in my life, but I’m glad to have it now.n’t

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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11 Responses to “Philosophical Time With Lauren”

  1. Brad Said on:

    It does make sense, but I think I’m getting better at long-term thinking as I get older. 18-year-old Brad wouldn’t care if you told him “some day”. The only reason I ever did anything at 18 was guilt and obligation. Wait a minute… that’s the only reason I ever do anything now, too…

    Reply

  2. Beth Said on:

    It makes sense.

    I think if someone would have told me something would be bad the first 30 times I tried, but then it gets better. Well, I probably would have hung it up on that activitiy completely. Because, THIRTY TIMES! That would have been too many to even bother getting through to 18 year old Beth.

    When I’m nervous about doing something, I usually say to myself, “Beth. Who else would have the courage to even try to do this? If they judge you becuase you tried, then they can get up here and do it themselves.” And that makes me feel a whole ton better. So I go ahead with whatever.

    That and drinking wine. Wine helps, too.

    Reply

  3. Beth Said on:

    It makes complete sense.

    I think if someone would have told me something would be bad the first 30 times I tried, but then it gets better. Well, I probably would have hung it up on that activitiy completely. Because, THIRTY TIMES! That would have been too many to even bother getting through to 18 year old Beth.

    When I’m nervous about doing something, I usually say to myself, “Beth. Who else would have the courage to even try to do this? If they judge you becuase you tried, then they can get up here and do it themselves.” And that makes me feel a whole ton better. So I go ahead with whatever.

    That and drinking wine. Wine helps, too.

    Reply

  4. Kristi Said on:

    Potty-training would have been a lot easier had you shared this information with us long ago.

    Reply

  5. Peggy Said on:

    Yea really. No one ever told me this either (although the ’30’times scares me off too). The 1st time I made meatloaf it wasn’t fit for man nor beast so I just figured I couldn’t make it. I did try again 15 years later & it worked.

    I hate talking in front of people. I don’t even talk if I’m at a table of 8 people. Six is my limit.

    18 year old Peggy was scared to death of her own shadow

    Reply

  6. Mark Said on:

    I used to picture people in the audience wearing just their underwear. That turned out to be more disgusting than funny, so I switched strategies.

    Now I just imagine that all of them are complete idiots and need to hear what I have to say. :6) JK!!!

    It would have been helpful, early on, to have a learned person say that confident public speaking is not something innate. It is a skill taught primarily by experience. Just do it, and it will get better over time. And then they share some tips and tricks to make those initial experiences easier.

    “Picture them in their unde…” (No, strike that. It doesn’t work.)

    “Pick out one or two gentle, friendly people who smile back at you. Speak as if you are speaking only to them, for they are the friends you have in the audience.”

    “Smile often. Pause often. Take a deep breath even more frequently than you smile, while you are pausing. The pause and deep breath helps you remember or form your next statement.”

    “Look one person in the eye because it’s impossible to look everyone in the eye at the same time.”

    “If you hear and feel your heart pounding, give thanks to God. He’s reminding you that you are alive.”

    I could go on and on.

    Reply

  7. Lauren Said on:

    30 was just a number out of the air -- I was actually basing some of this rambling off of a fictional book I read where God is talking to a guy about how he knows humans will goof up, and loves them anyway:

    “Let’s say that I am trying to teach you how not to hide inside lies, and I know it will take you forty-seven situations and events before you will actually hear me. When you don’t hear me the first time, I’m not frustrated or disappointed, I’m thrilled. Only forty-six more times to go! And that first time will be a building block to construct a bridge of healing that one day you will walk across.”

    See, I told you it was not a fully-formed idea of a post, and now I’ve made it longer.

    Reply

  8. Peggy Said on:

    Sounds like a good book. What’s the title?

    Reply

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