Aphantasia and Fast-Paced Talking

I learn best by reading and can have some challenges listening at times. That doesn’t mean I cannot learn by listening – its just not my best learning style. It also doesn’t mean that I can’t learn to listen better – I certainly can, and I am working on it. I think in some situations I am even already a pretty good listener.

Its the growing recognition of the differences in personal styles and my own strengths and weaknesses that is however leading to profound opportunities for self-improvement. And there are also some equally great growing pains!

I’m tagging this under Aphantasia because I think there are some connections for me. But I’ll also readily admit there are at least a couple of “types” of Aphantasia, and some things may have nothing to do with any type of Aphantasia. Some Aphants describe themselves as thinking in words instead of pictures – and I think most of these do well with learning by listening. But many of us Aphants do not think in words or pictures – we think in “concepts” or “patterns” for lack of a better description!

The example I like to give is something I experienced back in high school. I was an awesome speller, so my memory is excellent, even for words – that I learned by reading them. But we exchanged our spelling quizzes with someone next to us and then graded theirs by listening to the teacher say the correct spelling. I would have to keep making the teacher repeat the correct spelling because I could never “catch” more than several letters at a time! That annoyed her for a while since she knew I could spell the words just fine.

The problem was the “speed” the letters were said, and the fact that each letter mattered. If things are said at a slower pace, or if I don’t need to “catch” every detail, then I do better. This may not be related much, if any, to Aphantasia – but I think it is because I am not able to “visualize” what I hear, neither as images nor words. That means that things that I hear have to be “processed” into facts that I can deal with – and if things come to fast and matter enough then I can’t keep up!

Add in the HSP factor, and too much is not only something I can’t keep up with – it actually can drive me crazy! My wife has learned, sometimes not with much help from me, how to talk with me without overwhelming me. But lately in my job I have had a couple of people that I have to work with that are very “frenetic” fast-paced talkers! In my past jobs I either worked with mostly people of similar styles to me so this didn’t come up often, or I just got frustrated and moved on to another job!

So I am trying to learn better by listening, to better handle communication with those different from me, and to just better handle stress and anxiety. Its a great opportunity, but it is leaving me drained a lot too. It’s a lot of work to better yourself!


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