What do Winston Churchill, James Earl Jones and Carly Simon all have in common? How about Bruce Willis, King George VI and Julia Roberts? Give up? The answer is that all of these highly motivated and extremely successful people stutter.
When I was a teenager, I had a friend who stuttered. He was a terrific guy and I always enjoyed spending time around him. What was hard, however, was to watch how other people treated him just because he stuttered. I remember an adult talking about my friend one time. He said to his wife, “Poor kid, he’ll never amount to anything.”
So many people think that anyone who stutters is either shy, nervous or stupid. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. My teenage friend was an accomplished musician and sang in a rock band; he was both intelligent and talented. And all of the people listed in the beginning of this article have excelled in their chosen careers.
The reality of the human condition is that we all have various attributes which are part of us. For example, I was born with brown hair, blue eyes and I am dyslexic. I have “mirror vision” – which means that I see everything backwards. Although I am dyslexic, it does not make me shy, nervous, stupid or automatically guarantee that I will have an attention deficit disorder. Yes, it is part of me – but, I refuse to let it define me.
Even with this condition, I have a Masters Degree in Business Administration and have held the position of Financial Controller of a major Aerospace & Defense company as well as the position of Senior Financial Analyst – both professions with a heavy concentration on numbers and statistics. I am also an artist, a writer and an interior decorator. I allow nothing to hold me back.
Similarly, stuttering does not limit the intelligence or capacity of any human being anymore than having brown hair or blue eyes. It is simply an attribute and it does not define the person. What can limit the person, however, is how they are treated by others.
If you or someone you love stutters and needs help coping with this condition, please know that there are a number of resources available for you. You can visit The Stuttering Foundation website to help you with encouragement and support. Even if you stutter, it does not define you. You are not alone and nothing has to hold you back.