Some of us make it a matter of pride to be able to say ‘no’ and rightly so. If you are someone who can stand up and say the formidable ‘no’ to a situation, individual or an opinion you are probably doing the right thing.
As someone who usually hesitates to say an outright ‘no’, I find myself sometimes saddled with more work than I can handle or more pressure than I should probably take.
Yet, I would still say it is better to leave room for change, compromise and reconciliation than stick to the big ‘no’. Leave a ‘sliding door’ for new beginnings!
When given an opportunity to anchor a program, some of my students were quick to say a ‘no’, two of them said, ‘why not’, just guide us mam’ and there they are on the stage. For those who said ‘no’ without even blinking, an opportunity has been lost, perhaps forever. I guess it is rightly said, ‘stand up to be counted’.
During a crisis, a somewhat do or die situation viz a viz finances my friend approached someone who she thought should share the responsibility for help, ‘no, I can’t do anything’, he said. A few more firm ‘nos’ and she had made up her mind. Perhaps the repeated ‘nos’ put an end to the possibility of a beautiful relationship.
I am usually eager to ask ‘why not’ because some of the best experiences I have had have come to me from my asking ‘why not’.
Whether it be opportunities at work or friendships, hmm… (I am a bit wary of people some times), I find myself asking ‘why not’ more often than ‘why’ and it has helped me, so far, at least.
I subscribe to this view of Richard Branson, ‘If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!’ So what is your view, which is better, ‘A big no’, ‘ A Why?’ or ‘A Why Not?’.
I got some acknowledgement of my creative abilities when my effort to translate a text from Malayalam to English at the age of 10 got noticed.
I must have really enjoyed the experience back then because later as I grew up, I almost quit writing. I was filled with a certain self-doubt, a self- hate, a feeling of being incompetent, not good enough which left me confused and unsure. I got back to writing when a friend who means a lot to me casually commented,’ why don’t you write?’. I started off writing poems on the http://www.poemhunter.com rather secretly some time in 2008.
It was only when I started blogging that I began telling others around, ‘I write, please read my blog!’ This sounded strange even to me. I guess I was pretty ashamed of what I wrote!
I was an avid reader though and I read ‘The Citadel’ by AJ Cronin which was a prescribed text for my sister and the most interesting and intriguing Malayalam novel’ Marthandavarma’and later ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding and many others for the same reason.
Sometimes browsing through others book shelves- mostly with permission, got me interesting pieces of literature sometimes even the ‘forbidden’ kind!
I grew up hoping to be a writer or a journalist and never a teacher, ironically,that is exactly what I became. I have no regrets, I enjoy being with young people immensely.
Commitment to more disciplined writing has, so far, been an unaccomplished goal. To a great extent blogging helped me shed a variety of anxieties and inhibitions and sort of freed me of many tangles.
5000 words a day is I am told, the magic formula to better and consistent writing.
Hope to reach there soon!
31, 000 hits, 200+ followers give me enough reason to hope for success. Thank you universe! Thank you dear readers!
John Donne’s confidence in the infidelity of women is not surprising. Centuries of literature have reinforced the belief in fickle mindedness of women. Is it surprising that the writers were majorly men? Perhaps not.It is funny how the repetition of make-believes like the apparent disloyalty of women and the courage of men, the curse of the cats and the blessings of the dogs are pandered to mankind. In fact I have recently been very surprised by the stories of cats and the ill-omen they bring to the houses that I have been listening to. Here are some:
* No. 1: Women who keep cats tend to become schizophrenic.
* No.2: A cat prays for the destruction of his master , a dog for his welfare.
*No.3: Couples who have a pet cat have difficulty in conceiving.
Have you ever been told such stories? Which’s your favorite one?
Parenting is a full time job. I mean you never really grow out of it. Once a parent, always a parent. That is why I pack an empty bag whenever I visit my home, because I know it is going to be filled with goodies mom has stored for me and my daughter, a few earrings, a cute purse, a dress, maybe a bed sheet, something or the other, if nothing then a few coconuts and some fresh vegetables or her home-made pickles.
A colleague of mine tells me how he is terrified of his mom.’She’s strict. If I am not back home by nine, she says I can look for another place to stay! And I am going to be thirty this month. Can you beat that!’
Moms and dads always want to have a say in their children’s lives. They want to know what is happening and what is not, at least enough to answer the questions of inquisitive friends and relatives.
‘So when are you going to be a grand mom?, ‘When is your daughter getting married?’, ‘Is your grand daughter doing well?’, ‘So, your daughter is divorced, it must be difficult right, I mean how do her colleagues treat her?’
‘Not a steady job still?, how does he survive with all that art and nonsense?!’ And so it goes on.
Nosy aunts, uncles, and nosier who-you-don’t-knows want to be informed about your whereabouts…so that it gives them enough masala to top the evening gossip.
Most of us have been through that and some times we tend to shut ourselves out from the nosiness, I mean withdraw into our own safe havens away from prying eyes.
Assuming a hostile demeanor or wearing pride on our sleeves or distancing ourselves from the niceties or just by plugging in the ear phones, we try our best to protect what ever is left of our individuality.
It is not easy, is it? To cut one self off.
Wasn’t it John Donne who said, ‘No man is an island’.
Hmm…We do need others.
It is important to have people around, to be asked about, to be talked to. We then tend to oscillate between the need to be on our own and the need to be around those we hope to call our own.
The perpetual dilemma in life it seems to me, is ‘to talk or not to talk’, ‘ to reach out or not to reach out’.
One is constantly pulled into the need to be alone and the need to be with others, the social media does hold out a carrot in terms of reaching out… still…
I guess it is for each one to choose, the right proportion of solitude and company one needs.
Perhaps it is about constantly figuring out the nitty-gritties of living.
Perhaps what is going on in your mind, is what decides where you want to be… in company or in solitude.
Perhaps it is all just fizz and no water and there is no such thing.
I always enjoy listening to Tshering Tobgay even in a continuous loop.
What are the reasons that make his speech so absolutely delightful, so much so that every time I play a part of the speech in the classrooms during the training on Public Speaking, my students always want to listen to the whole of the speech and sometimes even request an encore!
Let me try to decode some elements that makes this speech memorable.
*Be modest, be able to laugh at yourself
For one, the speaker comes without any pretensions and is easily able to make a joke of himself. Notice how he draws the first laughter from the audience within just 30 seconds of the opening of his speech.
Tshering Tobgay draws the attention of the audience to his national dress, ‘Goh’, the privilege of the men in his country to show off their legs even as the women cannot do the same.
The ice is broken, the audience is relaxed and the stage is set for an open engagement. As you watch the video you can literally feel how the mood has already lightened.
Set the context early on in the speech
The Goh was only a pretext for Tshering Tobgay to set the context to a far more weighty issue which he wanted to address, he says’ our national dress is unique, but it is not the only thing unique about our country, our promise to remain carbon neutral is also unique’.
It is clear that now the listener knows what to expect and the speaker has full attention. After all climate change and carbon emissions are pressing issues for the whole world.Remember that audience always likes to know what they are in for well, mostly!
Put your story telling techniques to good use
A clever usage of well-chosen images, narrative, tone and body language all together prepares the audience for the story of Bhutan. After the first minute, the speaker plunges deep into the narrative and begins to tell the story of Bhutan. The speaker assumes a more serious tone and the audience prepares itself to listen more attentively.
Assuming the necessary tonal variations and references to the generosity of the monarchy in his country he emphasizes on how committed Bhutan is to the welfare of its people and explains the concept of ‘Gross National Happiness or GNH’.
Be generous with humor
Even as the message is serious in tone, Tshering Tobgay breaks the monotony with a quick reference to the ‘Goh’, the world’s largest pocket as he calls it. While he eulogizes the king for his farsightedness he does so with a dash of timely humor which saves him from sounding like a sycophant.
Present authentic data
The appeal of the speech is emotional but the speaker does not deviate from the facts which he rattles off with consummate ease and some great poise. Definitely the pictorial evidence of the vanishing glaciers sells the point of the danger of rising carbon emissions buttressed as it is with some alarming statistics.
Create real-time experiences
10 minutes in to the speech, the speaker apologizes for the inconvenience caused by the temperature settings of the AC which he says politely has been manipulated.Surely, the audience is already feeling the heat!
End the speech with a call to action
‘We are not here to tell stories, are we?’ asks the speaker pointedly, directing the members of the audience to meaningful action. He has already enlisted the measures taken by his country to go carbon neutral, nay, carbon negative, and he expects some commitment from the rest of the world. Ending a speech with a call to action, invariably creates a deeper and long lasting impact driving the speech to its very purpose that is meaningful action for a cause.
Overall, this is the kind of speech that I would say should be compulsory for the whole world to listen to because not only does it address one of the most pressing concerns of world today, it does so in a very effective manner.