Friday, February 6, 2015

Just Get it Over With Already!

Many people fear public speaking. So, it's not surprising when they get up before a group and rush through their talk in order to remove the anxiety as quickly as possible. As a kid the only thing that truly scared me was something most people take for granted--getting a haircut. I'm not sure why, but I would procrastinate the inevitable date with the barber as long as possible, until finally I would get up the nerve to deal with the anxiety. As soon as the little paper collar went around my neck, I would grip the armrests tightly and hold on for dear life. Just get it over with, please. As I got older, I must have tried over a dozen hair stylists. Even though I cared about my appearance, I just wanted the haircut to be over with. Not surprisingly, I ended up with some of the worst haircuts imaginable. Senior year, somebody's older sister gave me short bangs with long hair in the back, but I told myself I didn't care--it had saved me the dreaded trip to the barber or hair styling salon, so it was fine.
Nonsense. All I was doing was ignoring the big picture. The big picture was that I had hair, that this hair would have to be cut every so many weeks, and that I would, therefore, have to learn to deal with haircuts. Similarly, you have a painful stimulus to deal with called the Series 65 or Series 66 exam. Unfortunately, these tests are designed to make you perform at the testing center, eliminating wrong answers and thinking creatively, even when your palms are sweating and your tongue is thick with fear. I know, I know. You don't wanna, same way I didn't wanna get my haircut. And, the same way I would let Johnny Jedder's older sister ruin my hair at age 18, you are probably rushing through the practice questions with only one focus in mind--getting it over with.
Sorry. Until you are ready to sit down in the chair and work through practice questions for as long as 1 minute or more each, you will be spinning your wheels, just trying to make the pain go away.
I'm going to write about test-taking strategies up ahead, but the first step is to learn to accept the anxiety and learn to work through the questions in spite of it. Because unless you are already a CFP or PFS, dear friend, you can't just make it all go away the way I did:
The nuclear option

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