Sunday, November 27, 2005

CL9: Risk your life by living it

Background:

This is speech no 9 in the Competent and Leadership manual. I am using the old manual and this assignment is about inspiring the audience. A powerful speech which allowed me to use all the skills I learned in the previous assignments. Pulled it off very well. Won speech of the day. Best compliment I received was from David Ingram who commented it was my best speech to date.

Actual Speech:

There are many reasons why people fail but research has proven time and time again the number one reason that consistently stops people from succeeding is the fact they do not take enough risks.

Good evening TME, fellow TMs and honored guests.

Everyone has goals. Everyone here has that special dream. But do you know that those beautiful dreams in your minds would never come true unless you are ready to risk it all. Giving up the mediocre to attain excellence.

Achieving dreams are tough. Often we have to make huge risks to achieve them. We have to take risks, which seem to be bigger than life. There was a long period of holidays after my high school finished. It was about 4 months. Many of my friends during this time took up jobs. Earned their own money but I did not follow this trend. Not because I don’t need money… Who doesn’t need money??? I did not work because I was scared of working. I was scared of meeting people… 4 months passed by and I accomplished nothing. I was depressed and I hated it but I could not break away from it because I was scared to risk life. I had too much to lose or so I thought.

Risking life to achieve your dreams is tough ladies and gentlemen. It means embracing change. Taking a leap to the unknown. Grabbing half chances. But let me tell you this, the rewards of risking it all is immense. It literally opens up new worlds. In 1492 Christopher Columbus had to risk it all. An entire world of enlightened scholars were telling him the world is a square block where people would fall off the edge. But despite facing opposition from every side, he risked life and limb to sail through the horizon and literally molded a square-boring universe into an interesting circle. The risk he took changed the world.

In 2001, I had a wonderful life changing experience as well. It molded my universe into a different shape. My higher diploma year just ended and I was faced with another long period of holidays again. 3 of my previous holidays were spent in depressive fashions. But not this time. I decided enough was enough and it was about time I risked it all. I looked for a job. But not just any job. I wanted the scariest job ever. And during that time, the scariest job I could think of was teaching. Public Speaking! The only activity that makes you feel like you ran a 100 miles without moving an inch…

The fear I felt before my first class was indescribable but when I got up there, it was not scary at all. I taught and my class listened. During that period of time, a lot of changes happened to me. I became bolder. I took more risk. The quiet nerdy guy who always sits at the back of the class was no more. In his place was a young brave man who finally realized that life is about taking risks. The scarier they are, the better.

There are a lot of half chances in life. They pass you by everyday but you do not take them because they are risks that could change your life, as you know it. It’s understandable why we are so fearful. But can you imagine what life would be like if you did not take risks? We would not be allowed to travel by sea. The horizon would be our limit. I would not be here risking embarrassment to present you a speech.

Recently I risked it again. I jumped jobs. For the first time in a long time, I am in an environment where nothing is familiar. I am not sure how this is gonna turn out but I am excited again. Everyday I wake up with renewed passion. True enough I have start all over again. I have to learn a lot of new things again. But it helps me grow. My personal horizon constantly gets pushed further and further away. I know most of you here want to grow as well. Well, if you are like me, and you want to expand your horizon as well. If you want to be a better speaker. If you want to give up the mediocrity for excellence???? I have two words for you- RISK IT!

By, Vijay Balasegaram