Talking to Myself - Livin' the Good Life
Oct. 13th, 2013
07:28 pm - Talking to Myself
I have a new pastime. I call it "talking to myself". And though some may interpret it as some form of dementia, it really isn't. I find it, instead, to be a useful technique for self-improvement. Here's how it works:
I discovered this recently while driving alone on long trips. To ward off boredom and to keep myself awake and alert, I started talking out loud about things that were on my mind and pretending there was an interested audience listening to me. Now, normally, I find myself thinking random thoughts, and they tend to go round and round in endless loops. But, when I pretend there is someone listening, I do not have the luxury of doing that. Who would listen to endless loops, anyway? I don't even listen to my own! So, I pick a subject that I'm thinking about, wondering about, or developing theories about, and I start giving a "lecture" about it. This is harder than it sounds. I have to be very organized in presenting my thoughts so they sound believable and make sense. I can't repeat myself, so I have to pay close attention to making each statement count. This is a wonderful tool for preparing for writing an essay or even a blog post.... not to mention, just making a convincing point when having a real conversation.
Actually, this pastime REALLY began some time ago when I decided I needed to improve my memory. I started with the same technique of pretending someone was listening and telling them aloud my family history, with all the names (and dates, if I knew them). If I had a VERY long drive, I would list everyone I could think of in the Morongo Basin and tell something about them. Other times, I would list the names of everyone I knew in our neighborhood, house by house, and tell things like what they did for a living, what they were like, or maybe some experience I had with them. I could go on and on with this "game", and I found it very entertaining and stimulating. I truly enjoy "free association", and I find the more I do it, the better I am at it. When I'd first begin, I would think maybe I couldn't remember much, but I'd remember one thing that would make me remember another and another, and I'd inevitably reach my destination before I was finished telling everything I knew. It made me feel like I had an excellent memory. And, I seemed to be developing more mental discipline in the process, which definitely cut down on that dumb mindless looping.
I just returned from visiting Ely and his new little family, and it was a two-hour drive. So, I gave a two-hour lecture. I really was able to talk for that long with no problem (with a quick break in the middle to pick up a few things a Trader Joe's.) When I just PRETEND that someone is listening, there is absolutely no pressure to "do it right". When I'm relaxed like that, I find that words flow effortlessly, and I feel a sense of satisfaction when the "lecture" is over... like I accomplished something important.
I recommend you give it a try. It's really a fun way to pass alone-time in the car.