Wednesday, June 2, 2004

CL8: Time


This is speech no 8 in the Competent and Leadership manual. I am using the old manual and this assignment is about making an impact by using a prop. First time I used a prop in my speech. This time I was using an alarm clock which I was hoping will ring at the end of my speech to help me make a powerful point. It didn't ring at the exact moment but the idea was there... :D

Actual Speech:

Time! What is the picture of time ladies and gentlemen? Is it a stream flowing by, curving at the rocks… Or is it Clouds passing by the hills… The rising and setting of the sun… A kid walking in a park hand in hand with his grandfather….

To me, time has always been and always would be a clock. Ticking away, waiting for no one. No man, no beast, no tide… I have come to accept the thought that we are all actors on a stage. Our screen time limited. Our presence abruptly ending when the curtains come down. As toastmasters, you would recognize this thought. This time I have on this stage is my life and when the timekeeper signals red, my life has ended and another takes my place. Hence, what you are seeing here is the story of time. It’s the story of life.

Once upon a while, a long time ago, time itself was once a compassionate creature. It often came down to men offering pearls of wisdom gathered through incomparable experience. One day it tried to help this stubborn man who had a hard childhood. Because of that he led the rest of his life chasing money. He believed life is only meant to be enjoyed when you have secured its comfort. Because of that, this man worked every second in life accumulating wealth. Time pitied this man and advised him to slow down and diversify his efforts. A balanced life is a happier life shrilled Time. But the man scoffed at Time’s pleas and continued his pursuits.

The men quit school even before high school was finished to make time for his money making lifestyle. He worked harder than anyone else in his age and within a short period of time, he was rich enough to afford a house and a car. But ever paranoid that all his riches would never be enough for happiness, he worked harder and harder. Time just idly watched by and it continued ticking hoping the man would stay true to his word and stop working once his riches have been made.

By the age of 30, the man was already in charge of his own business and was expanding throughout the world. It was then when he felt the time was right and he settled down with his high school sweetheart. Everything was fine as he assured his new bride that he had to work to make a life for them. Time shook its head at this occurrence and continued ticking.

Before you knew it though, they had kids. Two of them. But even the arrival of his kids did not stop him. He worked even harder because of that. During this time, his kids grew up quickly without a father. In reality they did but he was never there. Not during the time when they first walked. Not when they uttered their first word or even scored their first goal. Graduations were not attended and even engagements and marriages were skipped. The kids grew up well enough and had a pleasant disposition but there was a lot of animosity between father and sons. Time’s head dropped as he saw all this but it could do nothing but tick.

And the man continued working hard. More and more. And his millions became billions and his assets grew in all industries. The man however did not notice that his hair was no longer black. He was no longer as agile as he once was and had considerably slowed down. He had trouble walking up the stairs and his eyes were slowly dimming. Time noted all this and was saddened.

One day the man woke up grasping for breath with a pain in his chest he never felt before. He was rushed to the hospital where the doctors examined him and were not pleased. Their patient was dying. His heart was failing. The man was now beyond the help of anything his money can buy. There is no more time for anything anymore and all the life that he worked for… has passed him by. As he looks upon his family from his deathbed, the man feels a tinge of regret. He calls upon Time and he begs for a second chance but all Time could do is look back and….. [Clock rings] Time is up. The stage has frozen. The curtain has come down.

There are many stories as such. All throughout the centuries. Time has lost his compassion for men. There are too many who work as such and too few that listen to the pearls of wisdom that time gives us. These days, time flies, he ticks and he tocks indifferently. Like actors we are on the stage of time only for a while. Please do not waste it doing things that you do not value because before you know it, your 7 minutes is up and the clock of life would ring for you!

By, Vijay Balasegaram

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