Composure – one of the key ingredients of a life well lived. What does a man of composure look like? He walks slower. What does a man of composure sound like? He talks slower. Walk slower, talk slower.
Modern life moves fast. You’ve got to take control of that bad boy with purpose. Like a river current, it will sweep you away if you let it and smash you against the rocks and it’s over and out.
Consciously taking steps to keep your composure in a world that finds ever more creative ways to steal it away is crucial in the journey to becoming a man of Iron Qualities.
And yes – two small little tiny wee things you can do to aid this process: walk slower, talk slower
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But let’s think about it – a man of Iron Qualities is cool, calm and collected in all circumstances. Never flustered, never awkward. He takes things in his stride, knowing what he can control and what he can’t. He understands the futility of hurrying through life and lives life at HIS pace.
You can hear a man of Iron Qualities coming; he has a deliberate, steady, confident step.
Think about history’s great men. Do you think they power-walked and rushed their way through life? Doubtful.
Taking the edge off your walking pace and slowing it down a little gives you extra reaction time and lets you adjust to external circumstance in a much more controlled way.
Don’t be that guy who is always walking with an impatient hurry – almost bumping into people and doing that awkward, silent dance we do with strangers we are about to walk into on the street. Dancing this way and that as we try to avoid each other.
When you’re late – how much faster will power-walking like a maniac get you there?? A minute…maybe two. And when you do arrive at your destination, you’ll be a hot sweaty mess.
You cannot conquer time
A man with Iron Qualities will take the steps necessary to make sure he is on time. And if the fates conspire against him, so be it. Walking a little faster won’t change that.
Here’s something to try: Take an inch of your step – slow it down a little. Make a conscious effort to go around 80% of your normal walking speed. It makes a difference.
It’s like my man Lao Tzu always used to say – “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
And I know this for a fact – when Lao Tzu said these words thousands of years ago, he said them in a slow and unhurried manner.
That’s right – Lao Lzu had the Iron Qualities.
Speaking too fast is a sign of nervousness and lack of confidence. It’s like you want to say what you need to say as quickly as possible because you don’t want to take up any more of the listeners’ time than is absolutely necessary.
Because you’re nice and harmless. Too nice
Speaking too fast and in a way that lacks confidence also has an effect on how you speak. A lack of pauses means that you are not taking in enough air and your speaking volume and clarity suffer as a result.
And when you rush through your words, your mouth can struggle to keep up with your mind and you end up dropping letters here and there and saying a lot of “umms” and “ahhs” to buy thinking time.
All of these issues become more highlighted if you are in a job that requires you to speak in front of a large audience or group of people
Speaking like this…it’s like a vicious cycle. You speak fast because you lack confidence. The people you are speaking to pick up on this and you can see and feel their lack of interest/boredom when you’re talking to them. So you become even less confident. And so the cycle continues.
But remember – you are a man of Iron Qualities. Everything you say is important and your time is just as valuable as that of your audience.
Just like walking, you should also aim to speak in a cool, calm and collected way
There IS no rush. Just like walking fast will get you to your destination maybe 30 seconds faster, so talking fast will deliver your message a few seconds quicker.
It’s only a matter of seconds. And taking those extra seconds to speak can make all the difference.
If this is something you’ve struggled with previously it can be tricky to fix, but there are some tips that can aid the process:
Consciously think about annunciating every part of every word when you speak. Doing this will slow down your rate of speech probably at least 10%
Check out some actors who are great speakers. Two great examples are Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones.
Jones has one of the most recognisable voices in cinematic history and actually had a bad stutter as a child. And that stuttering chid went on to become Darth Vader.
I’m also a big fan of Daniel Day Lewis. And listening to him in interviews – indeed all these guys – they are not afraid of pauses and silence when they are telling their stories – and they very rarely use those filler words like “umm”.
So next time you feel an “umm” coming on when you speak, pause instead. And because you’ll be annunciating and consciously slowing down your speaking rate, you’ll have plenty more time to feel an “umm” coming on and so you’ll easily be able to swat it away.
Composure is the key.