CC speech – Inspire your audience. !
Posted by livin on June 28, 2010
Today, I completed “Competent Communication” program from Toastmasters (http://www.toastmasters.org/) . I gave my 10th Speech today in front of packed house (23 people) in Cisco Vani Toastmasters club.
Here’s a copy of the speech as-i-delivered-it. Hope you enjoy it:
Project 10: Success
What is Success? Is it money, fame or social status? Is it an achievement of an objective or a goal? Or simply put, is success the opposite of failure?
Everybody has his or her own definition of success. To the malnourished children in Nigeria, success could mean getting a few rice grains to eat after 3 days of eating leaves. To a beggar, success could mean accumulating 50 rupees in a day to feed his 7 children & a wife. To a software engineer, success could mean jumping from HP to Cisco with a 40% hike. To John chambers, it could mean an extra billion of profit per quarter.
However, Success for my manager could mean getting the maximum possible amount of work done from me in the least possible time. Have you ever seen blood sucking parasites? No they don’t exist in my team. To see them you can go to any wild forest instead. And yes don’t relate them to my manager. I just mentioned it because the thought of my manager triggers some wild images in my mind. But, yes they are not related. I always try to convince myself.
Success to my fiancée could mean getting the most out of my credit card. And that is the reason, I cancelled all my credit cards; just one month before marriage. Who needs plastic anyway? Moreover, plastic is not bio degradable. You see, I am trying to go green. !
But all said & done, what does Success mean to me? Whenever I go to any lunch or dinner, I measure success by my ability to fill my plate with as much paneer as possible so that every conceivable area of the plate is colored with white, red & yellow gravies of paneer. Of course that means disaster for my belly but I console it by saying “Honey, only few days of enjoyment & happiness & then you are getting married.”
All the above examples reinforce the idea that Success is subjective. Success is so personal, so unique to you. Success means different to different people. According to George Sheehan, “Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”
How many of us are living our own lives? Aren’t we copying the lives of our friends, peers, heroes and trying to be somebody else, all the time? “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. “, said Judy Garland.
If my friend has got Fiat Linea, I got to get the same car. Not only the same car, I need the exact same color, even though the color he bought was so dull & out of fashion. Not only the same color, I need the exact same seat covers, same alloy wheels and same brand of music system. If this was not enough, I need the same key ring too.
You need to understand that you are unique, your value is unique, you have your own unique mission on this earth and the real success for you is to discover that mission, your purpose in life.
So, what I want you to do is to find out your own idea of success & refine that idea as you go on in your life. You might be 25 today. Soon you will be 35, 45 or 55. I don’t want you to look back at 55 & say I could have done this better. I should have done this. So define your idea of success now & give it everything.
But before you go in the search of idea for success, I want to guard you against something.
Do you know what the pillar of success is? The pillar of success is failure. Failure is the sugar that makes the tea of success taste sweet. Have you ever seen ants? They are an amazing creature. Ants never quit. If they’re climbing somewhere and you try to stop them; they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they will climb around. They keep looking for another way. They never quit looking for a way to get where they are supposed to go. According to Thomas Edison, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.
Having understood that failure is the pillar of success, do you know what the greatest barrier to success is? - The fear of failure. If there is only one thing on this earth that can keep you from winning or succeeding, that is the fear of failure. Most people do not achieve a fraction of what they are capable of achieving because they are afraid to try because they are afraid they will fail. If you are afraid to go in the water, then how on this earth can you learn swimming? If you are afraid of falling down, then how can you learn to ride a bicycle?
Talking of success you cannot avoid talking about happiness. Success & happiness are tightly coupled with each other. However you need to understand one thing. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”
Happiness is not something external. Anything material cannot give you happiness. Happiness is an internal state of mind. You can say that, “If only my boss would give me less work, I would be happy. If only my wife would speak less, I would be happy.” “If only I had a high paying job, I would be happy.” Now again that “high paying” is subjective. For a watchman it could be 5000 bucks. For you it could be 5 lakh rupees. For John it could be a million dollars. I can assure you that even if John starts paying you a million dollars a month, it wouldn’t take you long to be unhappy again.
So, if happiness is the key to success, how to be happy?
If you love what you are doing, you will be both happy & successful. And the way to love what you do is best expressed in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
In the end, I am reminded of my work alcoholic manager, my shop alcoholic fiancée & paneer eater myself. After deep contemplation I found out a solution & realigned my success with my manager’s & my fiancée’s. I am going to work extremely hard & give my best to Cisco so that I earn more rewards which can be utilized by my fiancée to satisfy her shopping pangs. Working so hard would make my manager succeed & give me no time to think about cottage cheese.