Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reaching Milestones, One Rock at a Time

[I wrote the following for my first Toastmaster speech. It was supposed to be an ice-breaker speech, where I talk about myself in any way that I wanted to.]

Imagine this: You are holding onto a 20-foot wall with all your might. You haven’t reached the top of that wall yet, but you anxiously look down at the distance between you and the ground. You have your harness wrapped tightly around your body. One end of a rope is securely fastened to your harness while your partner holds on to the other end on the ground. Your face is sweaty, your palms are cracked, and your legs are sore.

That was me on my fifth attempt to reach the top of a wall during one of my very first rock-climbing classes. On my previous attempts, I would get nervous and come down after getting about half way to the top. This time was a little different. One of the class instructors decided that he would be the one holding my rope at the other end. Before I started climbing, he said to me very seriously, “You’re going to the top.”

So, I started climbing thinking that I will be down after another failed attempt. However, the instructor had a different plan in mind. He decided to keep me up there until I reached the top. He kept saying, “I’m not letting you down until you reach that bell.”  There was a bell at the top and I kept staring at it, desperately wanting to reach it. After about an hour or so, I made it to the top.

The reason I talk about this event is because it was a milestone in my life. I told myself, “After this, I can do anything.” Two years later, I decided to take it one step higher. Last summer, I went bungee jumping with my friends. Though I waited till the end to attempt that 100-foot jump, I still did it. Whenever I am faced with a new challenge, I tell myself “You climbed that wall. You jumped off that bridge. You got this!” These experiences summarize my passion for trying new things and the more scary they are, the more satisfied I am after having accomplished them.

[The speech went well, except that I had too many “Uhm’s” and “Ah’s” and I tended to clasp my hands together too much.]


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