What is 1% Smarter?
Hi there fellow avid book readers! Thought I’d share with you something new I learned today.
Have you ever heard a recording of your voice and really did not like what you heard?
At some point I suspect most of us have felt this way before 👇
Notice how his ears are actually bleeding as he takes out his earphones after hearing the playback of his own voice 🤣
So yeah that’s how I felt too.
So what do I do about it?
Of course, being an avid book reader, I naturally first turn to books on the topic!
Set Your Voice Free
I did some research and I discovered Roger Love who it seems is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice and speech training. So I checked out his book on the subject, titled Set Your Voice Free.
Like many things in life, there is no quick fix and oftentimes to fix one thing you first must address something else that is more fundamental first.
Little wonder then, as I was reading his book, it turns out it is the same when it comes to improving your voice.
The Importance of Breathing
One of the key ideas early on in the book is the importance of breathing.
Without first learning to breathe properly you cannot possibly hope to improve your voice.
Here is an excerpt from his book:
THE MAGIC that I work with voices is built on a fundamental rhythm: the movements of the body as you inhale and exhale. Breathing smoothly and deeply works wonders for the body in general. It gives you more energy. It can center and calm your mind. And it will give your voice power and consistency. Once you learn to breathe as calmly and steadily as a child does, you are on your way to fabulous vocal reaches.
So how’s your breathing?
Great, I thought to myself. So now I need to learn how to breathe first?!
But I read on.
He started explaining about the concept of diaphragmatic breathing, which I have heard of before, but never took it seriously or looked into it as it seemed quite abstract to me as a layman who doesn’t know much about the human anatomy.
But Roger’s writing was very compelling and for some reason I decided to look into it.
Boy am I glad I did.
(Though on the down side it took me down another rabbit hole of tangential web surfing which is my biggest vice…)
Here are my personal notes on what I learned
Breathing – the diaphragm is the unsung hero of breathing. It is the diaphragm that enables you to breathe in the first place
- When you breathe in, the diaphragm pulls downwards (contracting). This lowers the pressure inside the chest cavity. It creates extra space, a vacuum for air to rush into your lungs.
- Then when you breathe out the diaphragm relaxes and goes back upwards. To force the air to rush out.
- And remember that air flows from high to low pressure. I guess this goes for most physical things. They go from high states of energy and go to low stable states.
- So really when you breathe we are utilizing this rule of air pressure. We have no physical way to go and collect all the air anyway.
- We are just like HUMAN VACUUM CLEANERS – and oxygen eaters (as Arthur C. Clarke puts it in his sci-fi classic Rendezvous with Rama)
- Brilliant balloon model of the lungs – So really you can see that balloon model is really like what happens in your thorax when breathing. You have an open top and a balloon at the bottom and when you pull the bottom down the two balloons acting as your lungs begin to fill up.
- Your lungs really are like these balloons. They have no muscles and can’t do anything on their own in terms of physical movement. They are just like bags.
- Amazing – they actually showed an x-ray of real human lungs working!
- So actually you can see that people tend to think breathing is a horizontal movement as in when you breathe your chests puff out. But actually it is a movement along a vertical plane. Your diaphragm moving up and down.
- In a nutshell
- Breathe in = contraction of diaphragm = diaphragm goes down and sucks air in like a “vacuum cleaner”
- Breathe out = relaxing of diaphragm = diaphragm goes back up to force air out.
- The diaphragm enables you to take in about 30,000 breaths a day – without even taking a single coffee break 😝. That comes out to 2,370,000 times in an average lifespan of 79 years (according to Google). I find that amazing! See how hard it works?