By The Dogs of Words
Don’t take it personal. Thick ankles run in our family too.
You are leading an army. In front of you lies a village protected by a huge wooden wall. The inhabitants are showering you with arrows. They bounce harmlessly off your heavy iron mail. You continue to move forward. As you near the walls, the defenders direct their weapons towards you and you alone. The rain of arrows is intense. When you are in range, heavy spears begin hurtling towards you. Nothing slows your advance. You are a War Elephant.
You reach the walls. You put your head down and push. The walls are made of thick tree trunks. They give, but just a little. You have done this before. The walls will fall. They always do.
Now the citizens are dropping heavy rocks from the parapets. They hurt, but they can’t stop you. You push. The walls creak. You push. They begin to crack. You push. You push. You push.
Suddenly, the most horrible sight appears in front of you. It makes a terrifying sound. Fear racks your body. You have forgotten about the wall.
It is directly in front of your eyes. Nothing is more terrible. You are in total panic. You must flee. You must. As you do, you trample and scatter your own men. The entire assault dissolves into chaos. The battle is over. You have lost, and you have lost miserably.
This story actually played out in Edessa around 540 AD. The attackers had one War Elephant. The defenders successfully defended their town with one War Pig.
A War Elephant is a well-trained, heavily armored, living, breathing battering ram. You can stop one, but most likely, you won’t. They are too big and too strong. Your walls will lie in ruins long before you do enough damage to stop a War Elephant.
A War Pig has no training and no armor. A War Pig is nothing more than a frightened squealing pig. The only advantage of a War Pig is that War Elephants are deathly afraid of them.
You thought they feared mice, didn’t you? According to written records, War Pigs were used in more than just this one battle. In 266 BC, the siege of Megara was broken when the War Elephants bolted at the sight of flaming War Pigs running their way. The Romans used War Pigs (and War Rams) in 275 BC against Pyrrhus. There are other instances.
What in all that is holy does this have to do with stenography?
You are a steno War Elephant. You are well trained. You are heavily-armored with techniques to keep you writing strong and clear. The walls of your steno class cannot hold you. You will push until they fall. Victory will be yours. Nothing can stop you. Nothing.
Except a steno War Pig.
What is a steno War Pig? It is the same thing as a real War Pig. It is nothing. It cannot influence your battle. It is weak. It is insignificant. It has no power.
Unless you fear it.
Why do you let your test nerves control you? You know they detract from your abilities. You know they keep you from achieving your best score. You know that your scores would rise without them.
Chill out, steno babies. You’re doing it to yourselves.