Saturday, September 13, 2008

Project 5 - The Persuasive Leader - Are you a DAY DREAMER or an ACHIEVER?

AC - Persuasive Speaking (Project 5)
The Persuasive Leader
September 12, 2008


Close your eyes for 5 seconds and think about THE ONE BIG THING that you want to achieve in your lifetime. How many of you want to start your own business or be an executive in a big corporation? How many of you want to travel around & visit places? Now, be frank, how many of you used the 5 seconds that I gave for a short nap (snore here)?

We all have goals to achieve in our life. But, we hardly do anything about our goals. It is like aiming to climb Mt. Everest, but GASPing (demo here) to climb even a staircase. We postpone things to tomorrow. We give ourselves an excuse "I don't have time". But the fact is "WE ARE LAZY".

Lazy to Wash Clothes

At times, we are too lazy to do even simple things... like, washing clothes. During weekdays, you postpone to do the washing over the weekend. The much-awaited weekend comes. You say to yourself, "I will wash clothes as the first thing on Saturday morning". Saturday comes. But, you wake up only around NOON. By the time you have your breakfast it is 3 pm. You get a call from my friend - "Hey! Want to go for a movie, in the evening?" Your mind starts to weigh the options - "Wash & Iron the clothes (or) Watch Iron Man?" Your mouth makes the decision before your mind does. You say, "Yes" for the movie. You convince yourself "I have the whole day tomorrow. I can do the washing on Sunday". Sunday comes & goes. Finally, you postpone doing it, to the next week.

This happened to me once. I had two weeks of dirty clothes piled up like a HUGE mountain. A guest who visited me asked, "Is there a dead rat in this house?" I felt very embarrassed to tell him that I've two weeks of clothes to wash.

Lazy to Prepare for Exams

Let us see what we do in school. When the academic year starts, we all aim to get good grades. But we postpone to prepare for the exams until the VERY last day. Finally, the night before the exam comes. You take your book and start preparing for the exam. You count the number of pages (carefully excluding Table of Contents, Foreword, Index etc.,). You think, "There are 200 pages in this book. I can complete the whole book in 4 hours" You look at the clock. The clock shows 8pm. You start reading.

The clock strikes 10, you had just covered 20 pages and yawned 200 times. You are drowsy. A debate begins in your mind - "Should I continue to read (or) sleep now and get up fresh in the morning and read". Guess what! Sleep wins. Immediately, you close your book and set your alarm clock to ring at 4 in the morning. You get into a deep sleep. Your alarm rings like a SIREN at 4 am. Your eyes are still closed. Your hand searches for the alarm clock & BANG... the alarm clock dies. You say to yourself "Let me sleep for 5 more minutes". You sleep for 5 minutes & wake up again. The clock shows 4.05. You ask yourself "Isn't this alarm clock 5 minutes faster than the clock in the hall?" You go back to sleep again. But, this time you sleep for 2 hours. You get up at 6, scan a few pages from the book and go to the exam. How many of you have had a similar experience?

My Friend's Exam Experience

One of my friends had an interesting experience. He didn't prepare well for the exam. He went to the exam hall. The question paper was distributed. He stared at the questions for 10 minutes. None of the questions looked familiar because he didn't prepare well. He walked to the front and asked the examiner "Sir! Am I in the right exam hall?" The whole classroom laughed.

When are we Lazy?

You may think we are lazy always. But WE ARE NOT. We can watch Olympics overnight in the TV, without even blinking our eyes. We become drowsy only when we read our TEXT BOOKS in the night. We can talk for hours with friends about "how the government should keep the city clean". We become lazy only when we have to spend a few minutes to clean our own bathrooms every week.


Laziness is like taking drugs. It gives you momentary pleasure. But, it ruins your life.

Laziness makes you a daydreamer. Not an achiever. Have you heard about the "Hare & the Tortoise story"? The Hare can run faster than the Tortoise. But, in spite of that, the Tortoise won. Why? The Hare got lazy and decided to take a nap, whereas the Tortoise started to move right away. The Tortoise won the race because it wanted to be an ACHIEVER & not a DAYDREAMER.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Do YOU want to be a daydreamer or an achiever?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Everyone Makes Mistakes

AC - Story Telling (Project V)
Bringing History to Life
September 5, 2008


How many of you have made mistakes in your life? Oh ! This is a dumb question. Everyone in this world makes mistakes. From great presidents to poor residents, everyone makes mistakes - no exceptions.

When we were kids, we made mistakes unknowingly. Our parents used to correct us. When we grew up, we hardly listen to what our parents say.

You might be familiar about Gandhi - the leader who was behind India's Independence. Gandhi was known for non-violence. Gandhi was known for adopting vegetarian diet. Gandhi was known for peace. Some of you may even think, you've to be born with these qualities to be famous like Gandhi. But, it is not TRUE. Gandhi was a common man like you & me. He has made several mistakes when he was a youth. So, what differentiates Gandhi from the rest of this world? Well, he corrected his mistakes. He took control over his mistakes before his mistakes took control over him.

Today you are going to hear the story of Gandhi that was least told. You are going to learn about the darker side of Gandhi. You are going to get drenched in surprise. These are real facts, based on the information from Gandhi's own biography - "My Experiments with Truth".

Meat Eating

Would you believe if I tell you that Gandhi ate non-vegetarian food? Could you imagine little Gandhi having chicken soup, & spicy lamb curry, without his parents knowing it?

Gandhi is a vegetarian by birth. However, he was always worried that he wasn't strong enough like his friends who are meat eaters. Gandhi was scared of ghosts, thieves, & snakes. He never slept alone in darkness. He used to imagine that he'll be haunted by ghosts on one side, and thieves on the other side. One of his friends told Gandhi, “You can become strong if you eat meat. Look at me... I'm not scared of ghosts. I'm not scared of thieves. I'm stronger than you. Even some of our teachers eat meat. Do you think they are fools? Indians are so weak because they do not eat meat. Look at the British. They all are meat eaters. That is the reason, they are ruling us”.

Gandhi was persuaded by his friends arguments. Gandhi decided to eat meat. His friend prepared & brought him delicious meat dishes. They both went to a lonely place near the river to have the feast. Gandhi didn't like it initially, but his passion to become stronger forced him to be a meat eater. Whenever he ate meat, he couldn't get a proper sleep. He felt as if a goat was jumping & making noise inside his tummy.

His parents didn't knew about this habit. Whenever his mom asks why he is skipping a meal, he would LIE that he is not hungry. This went on for about a year. Gandhi felt guilty of lying to his parents. His conscious pricked him everyday. Hiding the truth haunted him every night. The “imaginary goat” that was inside his tummy, started shouting louder & louder. He finally decided to give up the meat eating habit. Since then, Gandhi never touched meat in his life.


Meat eating was just one of the several mistakes that Gandhi did during his childhood. Gandhi was also attracted to smoking cigars. He found pleasure in emitting clouds of smoke from his mouth. At first, he started smoking with the stumps thrown away by his uncle. However, those stumps were small and couldn't emit much smoke. Then, he experimented smoking with stumps of certain types of plants. That didn't satisfy his passion, as well.

Cigars were too costly and he couldn't afford them. So, he started to STEAL money from his servant to buy cigars. This went on for a while until he realized that stealing money from a poor servant is a great sin. He felt ashame of stealing money. Gandhi then decided to give up his smoking habit as well.


Gandhi got married to his wife at a very young age. In those days, kids used to live in their respective parents' house after marriage. They hardly get to meet each other. Gandhi started living with his wife after their 5th wedding anniversary. During those days, Gandhi's mind was filled with lust than love.

There were a few occasions when Gandhi was close to committing the biggest sin in his life. His bad acquaintance took him to even prostitutes. Fortunately, the turn of events brought him safe out of such situations. Gandhi was glad that he didn't commit that mistake.


Look at the early stages of Gandhi's life. He was just an ordinary person. He has done all the mistakes that you & I have done in our life. Gandhi was not born a Mahatma. But he inherited habits that turned him into a Mahatma. Gandhi made several mistakes like any of us would. But, he corrected them at the right time.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we do it knowingly, sometimes we do it unknowingly. Whenever you make mistakes you have two choices – you can continue to repeat the mistake again & again (or) you can acknowledge & correct the mistake.

Think about the mistakes that you make in life - at home, at work & in your toastmaster sessions. You have a choice. You can repeat the mistakes (or) correct them. I'm confident that you'll choose the later.

Give it one more try

AC - Story Telling (Project III)
Moral of the Story
August 15, 2008


Have you seen a kid that was successful when trying to stand for the first time? Kids fall several times when learning to stand. But, they never give up ... they try again & again ... and finally, succeed one day. When we were kids, we never gave up. But, as we grew, the society conditioned us to give up so soon.

Today, I'm going to share a real story... the story of a grocery store keeper, who succeeded in life just because "He tried once more and didn't give up". I'm going to call him the "grocer".

Background of the Grocer

This grocer was born in a poor family and started working in a grocery store, at a very young age. He worked in the same store for 10 years. He grew to become a handsome young man. He was about 6 feet tall and normally wears a white dhoti and a half sleeved shirt. He was very passionate, loyal and hard working. He got married to a beautiful young woman and they were blessed with a baby boy.

Grocer's attempt to own the store

Having been with the store for a long time, the grocer expressed his interest to buy part of the store's ownership. However, his boss didn't like the idea. The grocer was "let go" the same day. The grocer didn't expect this. He was very disappointed. He couldn't believe that he is out of his passionate job.

Grocer's attempt to start his business

The grocer decided to start his own business. He sold his wife's jewels and used all his savings. He started his own grocery store. The community in which he opened the store had stiff competition. His business wasn't profitable. He had to close the store in 10 months. He lost all the capital. He didn't have money to even feed his family. His ego prevented him from working for some one else. He didn't know what to do.

Grocer's frustration

The grocer hated himself. He was born poor. He didn't get a good education like others. He couldn't own the store that he liked. He wasn't successful in his new business. He felt defeated in life. He saw no point in leading a life full of failures and disappointments. He decided to commit suicide. He bought some pesticide and went to the seashore to commit suicide. When he was about to drink the pesticide, thoughts of his wife & little kid came to his mind. He imagined how their life would be after his death. He didn't want them to suffer. The grocer decided to "start his business again" and "give it one more try".

Grocer "giving it one more try"

He borrowed some money from his known contacts. He started a new store in a different locality. He applied all the skills that he learned previously. He worked twice as hard as he did last time. This time, the business was rocking. God finally rewarded him for his hard work. He was happy that he didn't perform the blunder of committing suicide. He was happy that he decided to "give it one more try". In a few years, the grocer became very rich & well settled.

Who is the Grocer?

I have known this grocer for "many many" years. He is a person that I respect. He is my inspiration. I have the privilege of calling this grocer my "Dad". Yes, the grocer is none other than my father.

If my father had given up after his failures, I may not be standing in front of you today delivering this speech. I may be cleaning empty coffee cups in a restaurant or may be begging near the traffic lights for money.

I am grateful and thankful to my father for the valuable lesson he taught me.


So, ladies & gentlemen, whenever you face failures in life, "Don't give up... Try again".

Think about some of your greatest achievements in life. You achieved them because you worked hard; you continuously fought against failures & you never gave up. Some of you in this room are DTMs and Advance Communicators because you never gave up after completing your CC or CL.

Now, I want you all to repeat what I say, "I'll never give up ... no matter what... I'll try again and again, until I succeed".

Entertainment Speaker (Project 3) - Economy is driving me crazy

AC - Entertaining Speaker(Project III)
Make them Laugh
August 29, 2008


Gas price keeps going up and up like a balloon filled with helium. House price keeps going down & down like a rock falling from the sky.
My favorite toasted sandwich is getting smaller and smaller in size ... but bigger and bigger in price.

Today, I'm going to talk about how this "Economy is driving me crazy".

Gas - Price goes up

Once a week my car turns-on that ORANGE indicator on the dash board and tells me "I'm hungry!" I saw 4.10 per gallon at the gas pump. I thought I'd wait for one more day for the price to come down. The next day, I saw, 4.18 per gallon. I could wait for one more day. But, I don't want my car to die in the middle of highway 101 at the peak hour. I filled my tank in a hurry before they increase the gas prices again.

Have you ever been to Casinos & played in slot machines? To me, the numbers in the price board in Gas station go up faster than the reels of a slot machine.

Gas - How bad the economy is? (Costco Gas Station)

These days, I fill gas in Costco. One year back, when I go to Costco, I saw only the medium income folks with their Hondas & Toyotas lining up at the gas station. These days, I see BMWs & Mercedes in the queue. That tells me how bad the economy is.

Gas - Mileage improvement tips

I thought I should find out ways to save gasoline. Someone said, "If you avoid applying brakes often, your mileage will go up". For the past 6 months, I have been trying that. My car's mileage didn't go up, my insurance premium did! Well, what would your insurance company do, if you had two accidents in 6 months because of not applying brakes?

Stocks - Catching a falling knife

Having gone through all these, I thought, it's a right time to generate some passive income. I decided to invest in stocks. I bought some shares of a technology company. The stock value dropped 10% on the same day. Being new to the stock market, I asked my friend, "Mr. Stocks! Why did the stock go down by 10% on a single day". He said, "Well, the company's revenue didn't meet analysts' expectations. The investors were concerned & hence, the stock price went down".

I waited for the next quarterly results. This time, the company had EXCEEDED the analysts' expectations. But, still the stock price dropped by 20%. I asked my friend, "Hey Mr. Stocks! What happened? The company EXCEEDED the targets but still my stocks went down by 20%". He said, "Well, the company exceeded the expectations. The investors are now concerned that the company cannot sustain this growth rate in the current economy". Come-on, give me a break. I tried to catch a falling knife & my hand is full of blood. Till date, I have lost 50% of my investment in stocks.

Work - Vacation

You would be surprised to know what happened at my work. My company is in cost cutting mode. When times are bad, what will you do? You expect everyone to work hard, right? Well, we got an email from our HR department. "We request all the employees to use their vacation hours". What? The economy is bad. The projects are slipping. They want everyone to go on vacation? Have they gone mad? How is that going to help the company?

Home - Washing Machine

Have you ever noticed this in your life? Good things come like drizzling rain shower. But, bad things hit you hard like hurricanes.

When I was worried at the growing expenses and hurting economy - something happened at my home that was like icing on the cake. I bought a brand new washing machine last year with 1-year warranty. We celebrated the first birthday of our washing machine and the next day it doesn't start. I don't know how they program these appliances to die right after the warranty expires. I paid 50$ for the washing machine spare part and 150$ to the guy who fixed it. He earns twice than what I do for an hour of work.


My valet lost several pounds in the last one year.

Well, the economy has made only a small dent on my life & my dreams. But, there are people whose dreams were crushed into pieces by the economy. I have food to eat, a nice home to sleep and a doctor to go to if I'm sick. When I think about the millions of people who lost their jobs, who do not have money to feed their hungry little ones, who lost their homes in fore closures, who do not have health insurance... I'm better off than these folks. I should thank God for blessing me with this wealth.

God bless America!

Project 4 : Addressing the Opposition - Why do I want you to be a Vegetarian?

AC - Persuasive Speaking (Project 4)
Addressing the Opposition
August 29, 2008


“Who in the world would eat that vegetarian food? It is not tasty. It won't give me enough energy. It won't provide me enough proteins. I am very comfortable eating non-vegetarian food. Why would I even think about being a vegetarian”

These thoughts may be lingering in many of your minds. Well, I can understand that. Because, I had all these questions before I decided to be a vegetarian in 2001. Today I'm going to help YOU understand the benefits of being a vegetarian.

There are 3 reasons why I want you to be a vegetarian.

I know you want to be healthy

How many of you think that you are healthy? How do you know if you are healthy? Well, the metrics that I use are
1) How often do I have to visit doctor?
2) How much energy do I have? Do I get tired soon if I go on a hike?
3) Can my body digest my intakes?
4) Do I have the right weight?
5) Do I feel healthy? At times, you can feel that you are healthier. You get extra confidence when you feel that you are healthy.

How can a vegetarian diet help you to be healthy?

I know you are environment conscious

The most commonly presented & discussed topic in our club is “Going green”. I know many of you are environment conscious. Did you ever realize that being a vegetarian can help the environment?

I know you care about other living beings

How would it be if 20 of us are pushed into an elevator that can hold just 10 people? Well, thousands of cattle spend their everyday life in densely packed sheds.

How would it be if someone locks you in a dark room without any oxygen or water and let you die? Millions of fishes go through this treatment when they are caught in the seas.

Do you feel happy on seeing a squirrel or a rat being run over by a vehicle? Do you feel happy if your favorite cat or dog is cut into pieces and served as a meal? Everyday, thousands of animals have to be killed & sliced into pieces before you get your delicious hamburgers and chicken sandwich. Millions of fishes have to die in pain for you to get your favorite sushi.

I know you all care about life – not only yours but also about other living beings. You are a non-vegetarian because you never thought about the pain that these creatures are going through.


The next time you go to a restaurant and scan through the menu card – you have a choice. You have a choice to be obese (or) to be healthy. You have a choice to be friendly (or) to be cruel to environment & other life. I know you'll make the right choice and order a vegetarian dish.

Imagine it is the morning of 29th August 2009. You'll be getting ready to go to work. You look at yourself in the mirror. You see a NEW you. You are slim & fit. You feel more energetic. You are healthy and happy. You'll appreciate yourself for the one decision that you made today to be a vegetarian.