Category Archives: Toastmasters

Failure & Success

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, I know that. The reason being, apart from me completely running out of ideas, I also kind of fell flat on my face in the past 6 weeks or so. It wasn’t a pretty site to behold, if you ask me and it’s only the past week or so that I feel I am getting back up onto my feet again.

Unfortunately, as a result, I have some bad news to report. I have already written about how I broke the year of no drinking thing. Yeah, things went to crap afterwards. It was a bit messy ( no, I haven’t turned into an hopeless alcoholic but still. ) I guess I was too ambitious with the time scale I had set myself. Well, I can least say I went 3 months without drinking, even though it’s a bit of a cop out.

So yeah, it’s being a bit of a failure.. hence one where I was aware of making the choice and as I wrote in my previous post, worrying about letting my audience down too much is a bad sign and is almost peer pressure in itself ( not saying it’s a bad thing unless it starts effecting you negatively. )

On that note, I’ve also got another failure on my part to report. Damn, this is like a double whammy and is making me out to be someone who can’t succeed at anything! Anyway, this failure concerns my fighting games hobby. Yeah, I failed to win a tournament and May is almost over. Hell, I haven’t managed to get past group stages in any tournament this year! What the hell is wrong with me!? Then again, there is only so much online play can do as I live no where close to someone who plays these games like I do. That in turn means practice isn’t as practical as it should be and I just get bored of beating up a dummy in training mode.

Maybe I’m just not meant to be hyper-competitive. I’m more content to hang in the background with the community. On that note, I’m actually going to be running the local tournaments myself for a while as the guy who has ran them to this point is leaving Ireland soon. That in itself will pose some interesting challenges for me. Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to win. I followed up and asked others what I did wrong that caused me to lose at the last tournament so that I could improve in future.

However, I actually do have some good news to report; In less than 3 weeks, I will be doing my Stage 10 speech in my local Toastmasters club, thereby completing the Competent Communicator manual and achieving certification as a Competent Communicator 😀 I won’t say any more about that until then but it’s a big deal for me, considering I’ve being doing a speech practically every month since last September ( not including the speech competitions and the time I went to the fond-raising Speakathon event in Marymount Hospice ) I’m pretty burnt out in that department! Well, all I need to do is one more and I’ll be done with the CC manual!

As for Australia, things are still going to plan. Just slowly saving for up towards it. As long as the Euro doesn’t go to crap before I leave, I’ll be fine. Looking forward to it, being honest and it won’t be that long coming!

So that’s an update on me. As the future of this blog, I’m not sure. I’ll keep things up to date but I can’t promise anything. I’ll need to rethink a few things, though. Till then, keep up with whatever good you’re doing!

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Toastmasters – My Prospective

I have used some of the text that was Toastmaster speeches in some posts on this blog but some of you may be wondering ‘ What the hell is Toastmasters!? Is it something where people make toasts!? ‘ That is what I thought myself when I first heard about it when I was 20! More seriously, though. Toastmasters is according to the official website;

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

So the general gist is that Toastmasters is about making people better public speakers and leaders. What motivated me to join? Well, the big reason for me was to help me come out of my shell as I believed that by doing this would have a knock on effect in other areas of my life. That and given the current economic climate, I needed something to keep me sane while I save my for upcoming travel adventures!

I have being in Toastmasters for just under a year now, having officially joined last May ( 2011. ) I gave my first speech in June just before the summer break. I then gave my second speech the first meeting back in August and since then, have being doing one speech a month at least since then as a goal I set for myself was to complete the Competent Communicator ( CC ) manual by the end of the current season. I will be doing stage 8 out of 10 this week. I guess I started a momentum and just didn’t stop.

As for my experience so far. It’s being of great benefit to me. Even between speeches, I have made a lot of progress – from bumbling and apologizing to being able to quite confidently speak in front of an audience and I’m not even done the CC manual yet. I have also met some great people, all of whom are there to help me and guide me along the way, a favour I hope I am returning to people who have joined the club since I did.

I’ve also noticed it having some knock on effects in other areas of my life. I feel like I want to be more honest, more expressive about things. Before, I was more reserved. Now, not so much. I also feel I that I’ve have some talent for theatrics that I haven’t tapped because frankly, they were ignored because I simply never got the chance to really shine with them. Maybe acting is something I should look into?

So, should you join Toastmasters? Well, if you are looking for something that will help boost you’re confidence and open you’re mind, then it is definitely something you should look into. I don’t regret joining so what is stopping you? Just look for Toastmasters meetings in your area and just go ( I went to first meeting literally within an hour of looking the details about my local club online. ) You won’t regret it, promise. 🙂

Fighting For Your Inner Child

Once again, another post based on a speech I wrote for toastmasters! This topic is a bit more personal to me this time, talking about how how we should hold to the child like wonder and excitement as we get older, in spite of what society tells us otherwise.

Who here remembers Christmas as a child? Back then, Christmas was by far the most exciting and magical time of year. Why? Becase Santa was going to bring you lots of toys ( or coal if you were naughty! ) I remember one early Christmas morning screaming the whole house awake because I couldn’t put a trailer back onto a toy truck I’d gotten off Santa! I did this more than once that night, too!

As a child, the world seemed full of endless possiblites. There was no limit to what you could do. You were full of life, full of wonder, full of joy. Your imagination knew no bounds. A simple box could have being a means to send yourself to the moon or put you on TV ( to the dismay of parents who brought the toy that was in that box! ) Simply put, you felt unstoppable and nothing would stand in your way.

But then, something happened. You can’t quite explain it at first. People begin telling you that you need to grow up. That you can’t do this or that thing anymore. Its too childish. ‘ Stop playing around in the mud, you’ll get dirty! ‘ they tell you. You begin getting clothes at Christmas instead of toys. Slowly, you begin to lose the innocence and wonder that goes with being a child.

Instead, you begin to think that being cold, angry and miserable is the norm. If you were to read a newspaper or watch the news, its practically encouraged! You can’t be a child anymore, grow up, be an adult! Be responsible. Do what your told… or else! You see all of these messages. What will you do? Will you end up rebelling and causing trouble or do you pull down you pants and just take it?

To be truthful, this is an issue close to my heart as I was on the recieivng end of this when I was younger. Its was quite sudden and rather extreme as well. I was told I couldn’t do this or that thing anymore. It was too childish and that I would have to grow up. Be a man.

The problem was that I didn’t like what I was seeing. From what I saw, being a man involved working ridiculous hours in a job you probably hate, vegetate in front of a TV when you got home and then at the weekends go out and get ridiculously drunk because you ‘ deserved a break. ‘ People behind the advertising of alcohol definately got something right if that is what people think is the norm!

I was looking at all this and asked myself ‘ Why? ‘ I simply wondered why I should be forced to abandon what made me happy as a child just because I passed a certain age? Was I too old? Were people around me just trying to fit expections? ‘ It will be easier if you just submit. ‘ No one ever speaks those words aloud but deep down, that is what I think many people are doing.

I believe that you should always stay in touch with your inner child. A person who loses touch with thier inner child typically ends up as one of the endless drones you see day in and day out everywhere. Dull, boring, uninteresting. They hate their jobs and they probably hate their lives as well. I simply do not wish this fate on myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that we all to an extent, need to grow up. I strive to be independent. I am capable of looking after others as well as myself. I want a family one day in the future and I want to be sure that I can be there for them. However, even when you face the responsibilites of an adult, you should let your inner child out as much as possible.

If more people were like this, I think the world would be a more colourful, exicitng and peaceful place. People would be more interesting to be around, everyone would be happier. I wish for a playful world, I believe it would solve a lot of our problems. A child does not hate, does not judge – All they see is a potential playmate, for example.

So, I say go and build sand castles on the beach. Sleep with a teddy by your side if that is whats you happy. Watch cartoons on television ( well, anything is better than Jeremy Kyle! ) Do all these childish things and If others look at you disapprovingly and exclaim ‘ Thats childish! ‘ ‘ Grow the hell up! ‘ Look them in the eye, smile and simply reply back ‘ I am one of the happiest people I know, what about you!? ‘