Public Speaking & The Spirit Of Progress

I once fell in love with a small yellow car. I thought it was original and unique and I eventually purchased it, it was the last car I bought for a long while (a decade) as I decided that cars were not essential to my life and being without would assist my personal development much more. It wasn’t because it was yellow, it was because I decided that cars were a part of my life that I needed to break free from for a while until such time as I could be sure that any car would enhance my life as opposed to being an attachment, a thing that I had become dependent on and an addictive feeling that I couldn’t live without this machine. I had to break the habit in order to progress my life away from the excessive dependency on technology. It really had become a matter of breaking free from this attachment and others that dominate our society in a way that we feel is harmless as it gives us something shiny at the same time as taking our freedom away.

The measure has to be – does the technology enhance the human organism (you) or does it in some way make us less human or detract in any way from our reaching our full potential as human beings. Very often the old saying “anything in moderation” works very well but it seems to be human nature and the nature of capitalism to obsessively use and exploit any enhancement until it no longer offers any benefits to our human development and becomes an addiction that we are too happy to accept as the norm.

So here I am in this small yellow car that is so different from every other car on the road when it suddenly hit me that there are hundreds of the same model and the same colour. Before the purchase they must have been invisible but after the purchase they appeared in my perception constantly. The fact is we shut out any sensory information we deem unnecessary and before the yellow car which I named Sarah, I had no room for yellow cars in my perception but once Sarah had come into my life I could see Sarah’s everywhere, as they had always been but shut out from my sensing. I had a similar experience when founding progress therapy, before the event I had not really noticed it but once I included progress in my life, I could see it everywhere, in every situation by either the lack of progress or the progressive nature of a situation.

When I decided to make the spirit of progress my speech for my speaking club’s annual contest, I began to see examples of personal progress everywhere. The first being that I, with the personality type of an introverted, intuitive feeler had progressed from thought to action in taking on the challenge of public speaking.

On the evening of the contest we drew lots to decide the order we would speak. I generally prefer to be first so I can relieve my nerves A.S.A.P. I drew last in both the speaking contest and the evaluation contest. It looks as if I may have some work to do on this law of attraction thing, I got the opposite to my expectations twice. Or so I thought at the time. This turned out to be a blessing as the fine speeches that proceeded mine were full of useable examples of how courageous people had chosen to progress their lives when faced with moments when many would have chosen the easier option of regression or conformity to the will of others and popular opinion in what might be considered hopeless situations. Many would have chosen not to rock the society boat. Fortunately, I do not plan my speeches in too much detail and could comfortably use this new material in a progressive way. By being open-minded I was able to use what had come before while it was fresh in the minds of the audience.

The first example was of a young African lady that had followed her dream and married young, only as often happens for that dream to explode in her face. Finding herself unhappy and trapped in an abusive marriage with a partner she now barely recognised from the man she married. Divorce was widely considered against the cultural norms under any circumstances. It was just not the thing to do. This young lady found the courage to free herself and find a happier life. Choosing to progress against the wishes of even her closest loved ones.

The next young man to speak was told he would never amount to anything by one of his teachers and rather than subscribe to his teacher’s point of view as an authority figure he used that moment as a springboard to change and progress. Both of these speeches were fine examples of individuals discovering against the odds that there is always another choice for the brave. Choosing the spirit of progress is always an option. There was also a speech aptly named progressive communication, setting the stage perfectly for my “spirit of progress” speech coming up last. It was becoming even clearer to me as I sat and listened that progress is a vital value in the world of humans. And maybe I was not that lucky but progress really is that visible in our lives once we start to notice and choose it for ourselves. I was to find more evidence for this to be the case.

My next opportunity to speak was a week later and once again of the four speeches ahead of mine 3 of them were tales of progress and one was a regressive speech about using humour to mask a deep rooted obesity issue. I was able to use the four speeches as examples. It was the first time I had witnessed a regressive speech in my time at toastmasters. However, the speaker was totally unaware of the regressive nature of his speech, rather thinking it was progressive to use jokes to avoid what were obviously some quite serious weight issues. It was not too difficult to look past the humour within this speech and draw some quite serious conclusions as to the state of mind of the speaker. Another example of the complexity of the human psyche. We are indeed complex organisms.

My speech was to be evaluated. This means that four speakers would each speak for three minutes about my speech. Praise, constructive criticism and recommendations. Basically they were to rip the shit out of it and I was to sit and smile. I love a test and I really did have only the merest hint of ego in this moment which is on itself a major breakthrough for me as I once would have hated any criticism at all having been raised by a family that did little else but criticise and still do to this day (families aye?). On the whole I received an amazing response, the criticism and recommendations were constructive or stuff that I was aware of already.

I actually volunteered to be the target speaker as I feel that it is not possible for any of us to progress unless we take on board knowledge of any possible barriers or obstacles to our progress highlighted by well-meaning others. We need to be in the firing line in order to become bullet proof. This way we can continue on to towards reaching our potential. We do have to deal with criticism from those not so well-meaning but we can develop an intuition for knowing and then smiling and ignoring those people. Hopefully they will catch up some time. Letting go of such moments with a shrug is a vital life skill.

Reaching a potential that is as yet unknown, we can only guess as to what may be our limits often based on the past. I hesitate to use the word limitless because human potential may have limits but at this point in time there is no sign of any such limits apart from those self-imposed or conditioned into us from birth and by others every day. These can all be transcended. It is our purpose in life to transcend any previously perceived limitations and further the mind boggling progress of our species starting with ourselves. We are generally so limited by our conditioned beliefs that we are virtually living life in a straitjacket or the equivalent mindjacket.

It is widely argued that we have a tendency as humans to self-actualise or as I prefer to say to simply want to get better as life matures. The theory follows that it is a matter of removing barriers and obstacles to progress and allowing the process to naturally unfold in each unique individual. We put many of the barriers in place ourselves encouraged by our rulers, capitalists and the media through fear and in order that we are able to navigate our way through the maze of society in our fledgling years, which can last until midlife or for many the entirety of our lives. What I blog and book about are some thoughts and ideas on how we can foster and live our lives in an all pervasive spirit of progress for the good of ourselves, others and ultimately all of life on this earth.

The whole Toastmasters adventure is part of my journey of progressing to wholeness by progressing bit by bit in every aspect of my life. This is easy in the stuff that I would consider my strengths but working on my perceived weaknesses is whole different ball game. I am not a toastmaster forever or anything like that but the experience like all experiences has enabled me to develop in areas that I deemed I needed to work on. I find the whole structured world of speaking all a bit robotic but it does teach some valuable skills along the way. One has to learn the discipline in order to gain the freedom. Understanding the rules makes it easier to break them creatively.

This blog and my books are filled with help and advice to help you progress. You will start to see opportunities for progress everywhere once you begin to live your life in the spirit of progress. Body and mind (as one) are equally important areas to develop – although they have been separated they are never apart. Body-mind is the ultimate team. It is not possible to tear them apart. Motivation comes to both rebel and zen mentalities. It is finding a meaning to get excited about rather than constant happiness.

Happiness is merely a by-product of living a meaningful life.

AGREE OR DISAGREE! If you like my writing or it at least gets you thinking – please check out my books here.

Yours In Health Adam Senex -x-