To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Friday, January 25, 2002
A battle lost…….but will the war be won?

Fear of the unknown and untried is inherent in all of us; the difference being that some conquer the fear at one time or the other, and some don't.

I was never a public speaker. Only once before I had been forced to make a speech. Never after that, that is, until yesterday.

Since a week ago, I had been preparing and plotting for yesterday. I tried not to think of all the things that could go wrong, instead, concentrated on how I would perform, if everything should go right. The fact that the subject of the presentation was left to my choice, helped and helped a lot.

Whether I'm a tame and uninterested observer or an animated and spontaneous contributor, in any conversation or discussion, depends entirely on the subject. I was into this little secret and thought it would work to my advantage.

I also believed that, even though I might not fall in love with the audience and woo them on sight, as long as I was in love with the subject, I could make them interested in my plight.

The day dawned and evening couldn't hurry soon enough for me. I was eager to get it over with. I had somehow got over my nerves and felt rather reassured and confident. Perhaps the good wishes that came my way had something to do with it. I remember a time in my childhood, when it was something of a ritual; my mother would come upto the doorstep to wish me luck before I left for an exam. At that moment I would feel confident of taking on any task.

But to get on......the evening finally did make an appearance. My friend was the first speaker. She dealt with her subject so sensitively and expressed it so beautifully, displayed such a humility of spirit and an empathy for those affected, that most of us in the audience couldn't help but be impressed. Since I personally identified with her topic too, I felt a further surge of emotion.

But the unfortunate part is, my confidence at this point zoomed down. The next speaker, I walked up to the mike. I began and after going on for two minutes, stopped. My mind went blank and I couldn't say a word.

I took a deep breath and referred to my sheet. I then started from where I left off and went straight ahead. The five minutes finally over, I waited for the comments and questions.

When it was time for the judges to speak, they all expressed wonderment at the fact that I could be so nervous and uncomfortable during the course of my talk, and then as suddenly, display such marvellous confidence and spirit while responding to queries. It was as if I had been gulping down a bitter concoction and felt better, once I was through with it. Only later had they realized, how deeply I was moved by and conversant with my topic.

I know things could have gone differently but I don't think that would have been best for me. Imagine I hadn't stopped, had finished without event, answered all my queries and happily left the scene. I would have thanked my lucky stars that I had not lost my head or given way to nerves. Next time, I would have prayed for the same happy set of combinations, but still wondered if something would go wrong.

Now, I don't fear. I know the worst that can happen and also know I can pull through. Like one of the judges said, "What I liked most was the sportive manner in which you took hold of the situation and moved on, not laying down your guns". Sporting, me? Before yesterday, I would have thought, "hardly".

Also, now I understand better what is meant by that saying, "Failure is a stepping stone to success". If you fail once, you try harder whereas those who succeed, just think they are smarter.

I'm glad I got this opportunity to learn. The next time, I'll be more than eager for my turn ! (Wish me luck !).