Make The Most Of It

LISTEN: For the audio version of this Letter, follow this link to Soundcloud.

Dear Friends,

On the morning that I’m writing this, I will soon be heading to South Portland, ME to compete in the Toastmasters Table Topics contest.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the organization, Toastmasters is an international speaking organization, and the Table Topics contest is one where you and all of the other contestants receive a question, and you have to answer it with no preparation.

It’s quite fun because it’s great practice for learning how to speak on the fly. You quickly learn about your defaults and what you gravitate towards in both content and how you present.

And then I got to thinking. South Portland is about an hour away, so that’s about 2 hours of travel time. The entire event goes for about 2 hours, and I need to be there 30 minutes early. That’s 4 1/2 hours of my precious time. And let me just add that the speaking time for table topics is just 1 to 2 minutes.

Almost 5 hours for 2 minutes.

I had to ask myself, is this worth it?

Is it worth it to spend the majority of my Saturday morning and into my afternoon for just two minutes of work? Is it worth it to drive all that way when there is so much to do around here ( isn’t going to build itself!)?

There was a time in my life when I would have determined that it wasn’t worth it, and I would have bowed out, and not very gracefully.

But this time, I’m going. This time, it is worth it. And here’s why.

I’ve never done this before. I’m new to Toastmasters, and this is an experience that not every Toastmaster gets to enjoy. So yes I’m only presenting for 2 minutes, but there is an entire experience to be had.

This is also the first time someone from our club has made it to this level in quite some time. I have people counting on me to show up. Would they like me to win? Of course. But just my being there means a lot to them, and I’m not about to let them down.

In addition to the Table Topics, there is also the speech competition which is for prepared speeches. Some of the best in the area mind you. That means this is the perfect opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best local Toastmasters (and I’ll be sure to put on a good show for them as well). You had better believe I’ll be taking notes.

What’s the point I’m trying to make with all of this?

The point is, if we view something as a waste of time, it will be. But if we view something as an experience and an opportunity to learn, then it will be just that.

No matter your situation, even if it isn’t the number one thing you would want to be doing, there are always ways to make the best of it so that it becomes the number one thing you want to be doing.

It’s a choice. Making the best of something is a choice. Wanting to be somewhere is a choice.

And remember, you always have a choice. Always.

With Love,


P.S. I didn’t win. And even though I hate to lose, I’ll explain why it’s all good next week.

Evan CookComment