Perfectionism: The Ultimate Word Barrier

My biggest problem with speaking, the biggest thing that blocks me from talking about anything ever, is perfectionism.

You see, I’ve just finished another semester of classes – exams to come. In tutorials, I’ve spent hours gritting my teeth as a classmate stammers their way through an answer, liberally peppering it with ‘like’ and ‘um’. I know, sounds a bit snobbish, but I’ve been a student for years now.

I too was guilty of using ‘like’ on occasion, though not every second or third word.

Now though, I’ve decided to cut it out entirely unless I’m comparing something. I have done this by catching myself. If I slip and say ‘like’, I’ll apologize and say ‘Sorry, not like,” and carry on. I read a novel recently. One character was a bit of a language-pedant and said “It’s not like. It either is or it isn’t.”

That stuck with me. Now, I find that my talk-barrier is perfection. Over the past few months I’ve become more concerned with proper grammar and I tend to pause, gathering my thoughts before I speak, lest I slip into incorrect grammar and ‘like’ heavy sentences that go nowhere. I also try to use few words. As I once heard, about a very verbose someone: “If you want to be seen, stand up. If you want to be heard, speak up. If you want to be liked, shut up.”

I’m going to explore this in a bit more detail tomorrow.

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