Speech #7: One in a Million

Today I gave my Toastmasters speech #7 (Research Your Topic): “One in
a Million.” I talked about what made Olympic athletes and prima
ballerinas and chess champions one in a million: luck, work, and love.
Luck—being in the right place at the right time, having the right
opportunities and the right teachers—is something, but it’s not
everything. I shared the results of research that show it takes around
10 years to become an expert in something: 10,000 hours of work, which
is just three hours a day. That’s the work part. And love—love is
what gets you through that. Love is what makes you push yourself past
the comfort zone. Love is what makes those three hours a day just fly
by. So if you want to be exceptional, just remember: 10 years, 10,000
hours, is just 3 hours a day—and your ten years can start today.

Throughout the explanation of luck, work, and love, I wove in stories
about my childhood: gymnastics lessons, piano practice, chess… and
computers, of course. =) (They laughed when I told them my only
souvenirs from gymnastics were posture, poise, and a flat head from
falling on the floor too many times.)

I wanted to talk about my parents, but even after I dropped a lot of
material from the speech, I still clocked in at nine minutes—well
over the 5-7 minute goal. Then again, even our timer didn’t realize
how much time had already passed. <grin> I guess it was a good
speech, then.

The audience liked how I used simple statistics, research, and
personal experience to support a story. =) I got plenty of wonderful
feedback from the Toastmasters! It’s always fun to perform in front of
such a supportive and helpful audience.

Not bad for a speech I’d _just_ finished sketching in class that
afternoon… I had most of it in my speech ideas notebook, but I
hadn’t settled on the specific examples until today.

Much fun. I’m looking forward to doing speech #8, which will help me
get comfortable with visual aids. I’ve already got something planned
for that one! I don’t think I’ll be able to finish my CTM by the end
of the year—not with the end of term coming up!—but it should be
pretty smooth sailing, thanks to my well-stocked idea book.