Pride. Fame.Money.Promotions. Are these your goals, and why you compete? People would have us believe that competition is about these things. However, I beg to disagree.
To my fellow toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
If only competition were a virus, we would have an epidemic on our hands. (Brown J., 2007) Who among you here doesn’t like to compete? See? All of us have the symptoms of the outbreak. Now, that the election is fast approaching, our political officials appear on TV, campaigning to gain more votes. In addition, professionals continue their post-graduate education to advance in their careers. At last, we join toastmasters to equip ourselves in public speaking, so we have the edge on the next rung on the corporate ladder.
However, Jeffrey Brown mentioned that our competitive culture has duped many people into believing that regardless of how we play the game of life, any strategy is acceptable as long as we win. One person that comes into my mind as we speak, who spoke this line during his interview in Oprah.
“ I am sitting here, to acknowledge my fault and to say I’m sorry.” This line is the trending topic on the internet, scrutinizing Lance Armstrong’s sincere apology after he used drugs to improve his performance – his goal was to win the competition. But it is not only he who is guilty of this crime, even we, ordinary people, cultivate shallow relationship just to gain an advantage.
In contrary, life is not supposed to be a race… Life is a journey to explore and enjoy abundantly. I like what Jeffery Brown said, that God doesn’t need for us to cheat, so that His will can be accomplished in our lives. When it comes to competition, His rule is to keep our character and integrity intact.
The best illustration of this is an inspiring story of Rick and Dick Hoyt. Dick pushed his disabled son, Rick 26.2 miles in a marathon. Eight times he not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair, but also towed him 2.4 miles in a small boat while swimming, and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on some handlebars – all in the same day. And what has Rick done for his father?He saved his life.
Rick, who has brain damage, couldn’t talk,so he was rigged up with a computer and he typed and controlled the cursor. That’s how they communicated. The day changed Rick’s life, and he typed, “ when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore. That sentence changed his father’s life. Later on, he was so intent in joining the competition with his son. He even joined the triathlon. Because of that, Rick saved him from dying after he was diagnosed that his arteries were 95% clogged. Being in great shape helped him to survive.
The principle we get from the story reminds us to keep our integrity and character intact for the people we love. We should define our goal when we join competitions – that goal being what is pleasing to God. And, I am sure that your goal will show good values.
Let this guiding principle lead you to victory whether you compete during toastmasters international or compete against yourself to reach your goals, for the way you win will show your character. Even when you lose, you will still be a champion in this competitive life.
Always remember what Jim Rohn has said ,“character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing. I believe Lance Armstrong took that responsibility for changing. He did this for his son. His first step was to admit his fault and he told his son with great remorse, “son, don’t defend me anymore. Don’t.” And his son replied,” Look, I love you. You are my dad. This won’t change that.”
I would like to end my speech with what Richard Hollcomb, who is blind marathon runner, has said about winning as he said, “ It’s more than a race, it is more than a life time, who will you remember the rest of your life”.I will leave you with these questions. When you run in this competitive life, do you know exactly why are you running and for whom you are running? Is it for your pride, fame, money or promotions? Or, are you running for God and for the people for whom you care? If competition were really a virus, I think we should contaminate other people in a positive way – contaminate them to keep their integrity and character intact.