My journey in The Star – HSBC – ESU Public Speaking Competition 2010

The Star- HSBC – ESU Public Speaking Competition this year was a bit of disappointment in terms of my progress in the competition. The new “American Idol” style judgement didn’t go well for me, I was knocked out in semi-finals itself (sobsss..) but honestly, the theme “Speculation of our Future” triggered my head.

My approach was to talk about experiencing life, having regrets about past decisions that may have changed the future… Something that I was going through personally. So though my journey in the competition wasn’t long, but it was a good realization process for me 😀 aannnd I met some really cool people in the competition! So have a read, this was what I spoke about.

What do you regret in your life?

How many times have you thought about something in the past wishing you have done it differently? Think about it, one major decision that has changed your course of life – what would have happened if you took the other option instead.

If Nicole David choose only to focus on her studies and not play much sports, would she be the world’s number one squash player?

If Tony Fernandez didn’t belief in his decisions, would he have led Air Asia into winning the world’s best low cost airlines in merely 8 years?

So many times, so many opportunities yet so many regrets. Robert Frost says it beautifully in a poem that we’re all familiar of, The Road not Taken.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
I doubted if I should ever come back.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am here to talk about speculations about your long-ago decisions that might have changed you future.

We make many tough choices while traveling this road of life. We regret as we leave the possibilities of the road not chosen behind. More often than not, as Fulton Oursler says it, we “crucify ourselves between the two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future”.

But this is life.

J.K. Rowling spoke at Harvard Commencement two years ago about failure. Yes, she too like all of us here was once diverged in the path of life, having to choose between the ambition she had for herself and what her parents expected of her.

As they hoped that she would take up a vocational degree, all she wanted to do was to study English Literature. In the end, they made a compromised that satisfied none, she studied Modern Language.

She says to a hall full of Harvard Graduates, “What I feared most in my life at your age wasn’t poverty, but failure. A mere 7 years after my graduation, I had failed on an epic scale. A short lived marriage, jobless, a lone parent and as poor as it possibly is without being homeless.

She continues the speech by saying, “So why do I tell about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant stripping away the inessential. I stopped pretending that I was anything other than I was. And I began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded in anything else, I might have never found the determination to succeed in the only arena I believed I truly belong.”

This woman, who was nobody in her 20’s could have fell into the trap of regret when she failed, wishing to herself that she had taken the vocational degree instead. However, she chose not to dwell in her pass, she chose to look forward in the future and seize the opportunity this life gave her.

This is life. Life never turns out the way we plan. In fact it always takes a different route. What’s the meaning of life if everything is predictable? We humans thrive on sudden changes witnessed in life that gives us the real fun.

Stop speculation on your future if you had taken the other road. Instead, embrace your current moment. Look ahead in your life.

There are no such things as a wrong choice. All of them are choices, and if we hadn’t made those choices in the first place, we wouldn’t be here in the way we are now.

*      *      *

So that was my “brilliant” speech. If you’re wondering what was it that I regretted so much, till I chose to talk about this.. Well, it’s simply making the choice to pursue my career, before “finishing” my studies. Though I have obtained a diploma, I had this unfulfilled feeling that I want to be back in college, back to books and assignments to get a degree.

I guess I’m starting to learn to accept that it’s not so bad to be working afterall. Just because all my other friends are still in college, doesn’t mean I should be there too… In fact, it just means that I’m one step ahead of them! 😀

2 Responses to “My journey in The Star – HSBC – ESU Public Speaking Competition 2010”
  1. Cara says:

    Heya! I thought your speech was good. 😀 And I’m glad I got the chance to make friends with you! ^_^ And best of luck with everything, keep up the good work! Hope we’ll get the chance to see each other again! 🙂

  2. Ruby S. says:

    Ahhaha, thank uuuuu 😀 It was good to meet & have random chats.. It’s a small world, and with u getting into UM, bound to be in the same line of work here! Cheers!!

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