Why do i Compete?

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Its Competition Season again, and the fever of winning the top spot in the public speaking ladder restarts itself. In toastmasters, we have another side of our learning journey – Competitions. 4 different Categories i.e. International Speech, Humorous, Evaluation and Table topics.

Though this is truly an exciting journey. 90% of the Members of toastmasters dont attempt to participate in contests. Reasons given range from

  • Oh … i dont believe in competitions
  • Oh … it kills the friendship
  • Oh its too tough..
  • oh i didnt sign up for this.
  • and much much more.

i too gave a series of excuses in the beginning. Until i faced the bull by its horns and competed….. and LOST!¬† yes Lost miserably to an audience of 250 people …. then Lost again to an Audience of 600 people . I kept losing time and time again. All the perfect reason to stop competing, save whatever left of my dignity and even stop showing up in toastmaster normal meetings too.

But deep inside i felt a sense of balance. I realised that everytime i lost within the Toastmasters fraternity, i got stronger in the real world. I decided to see and understand ..”how did i lose?

  • i wasnt prepared? – Preparation is the main link of failures. We dont prepare for anything. Practice does make you stronger, and over confidence can kill you in the real world.
  • Tough Competition? – Maybe¬† i took the competition for granted. i didnt see everyones skills and strengths and strategize and be innovative?
  • Bias and Favorism? – The Judges favored someone? Cultural influence? the Halo Effect?? isnt that what we face in the real world as well ? during growth, promotions and more? Didnt i work a way around it?
  • Not popular enough? – Do i make enough social impact? do i network enough ? do i stand out?
  • Or Maybe my content is just isnt great enough? – Did it make an impact? call to action? strong enough to make that mark in people’s moment to laugh, be thoughtful and more?
  • No one to help? no mentors? guides? support system? friends?

Now the above 6 questions? Take them out of the toastmasters context and apply them in your real life… work… family… society and more… You will notice, that atleast 1 or maybe all will apply in your day to day living and you will be struggling with them. Thats why when a leader once told me “Ray.. use your toastmasters journey as a virtual platform to experiment the real world. Do everything it takes with the toastmasters journey and then take out the successes and apply it to the real world. Then at every failure of Toastmasters will be a stepping stone of success in the real rat race of life.

So friends, this is truly why i compete, this is my practice run within toastmasters, so that i dont mess up in real life. My Thoughts to you …… is to always compete ! no matter what.

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