Book: Aging Beyond Belief by Don ArdellIf you plan to age, prepare yourself — it's later than you think. The challenge of aging well should be taken seriously, but not grimly! Whatever your age, it's never too soon, or too late, to learn and apply the fine art of aging well, really well. Discover what aspects of aging can't be changed and improve the rest that can. Mold your own realities with REAL wellness, Ardell-style.
The 69 tips — one for each year of the author's life — are thought-provoking, challenging, eye-opening, manageable and fun to read. And all provide practical guidance for intelligently designing your own life-style evolution.
Wellness in the Headlines
(Don's Report to the World)
(Note to the reader: Some literary license has been taken with the facts but only for artistic purposes, to better convey the drama of the human struggle for existential authenticity and to serve the cause of justice, the dream of human fulfillment and the hope for world peace. This tale is more or less based on an actual event.)
Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have a rule everyone must follow? Until last week, it never occurred to me to be grateful for the absence of a single rule everyone had to follow.
This newfound gratitude came about because I participated in a Toastmasters contest that involved impromptu speaking. I was given a “Table Topic” to address in a Toastmaster contest. The assigned topic for an impromptu speech was: “What rule would you impose that everyone would have to follow, if you could do so?”
All contestants had two minutes to respond to the question. The penalty for exceeding the time limit was death, that is, disqualification.
No contestant knew what the topic was until he/she entered the room and reached the podium.
As soon as I heard the topic, I went off. My remarks were essentially as follows:
This is what's wrong with the world today - people are looking for someone or some supernatural entity to tell them what the rule is or, more often, what the multiple rules are. The rule authors take many forms - kings, tyrants, dictators and particularly gods, whose rule (rules) is (are) enforced by power hungry-accolites who gain power, money and/or status enforcing the rule, or rules.
I want people to be responsible. I want everyone encouraged to develop the capability to consider, assess, analyze, study and otherwise decide the merits of all rule proposals. I want the people to make the rules - in the form of constitutions, laws and so on, moderated and fine-tuned by representatives they choose. Like Ingersoll, I am ‘opposed to all kings and nobles, all privileged classes and all caste, no matter whether its foundation be wealth, title or power.’
In addition, we all need to devise lifestyle rules or principles for our well-being that guide and promote the highest possible quality in our lives.
At this point I was just warming up. I was on a fast-moving roll. I paid faint attention to color cards raised to signal time remaining—these are for speakers easily intimidated. The crowd was spellbound by my oration. Then applause was heard, then cheers and women climbed on chairs and began chanting my name, weeping. I started to wrap it up but the room was out of control. Additional ideas on the topic came to mind, which I embellished with flowery rhetoric—and I finished with a coup de grace reference from Shakespeare to end forevermore the blasphemous conceit of a single rule.
I was loving Toastmasters.
The Winner Announced
After the final contestant, the judges came forward to announce the winner. I sat quietly, trying mightily to appear humble, but I knew this contest was no none at all—this prize was in the (my) bag. Still, I sat poker faced. I decided I would not pound my chest or engage in the graceless kind of self-indulgent, unsightly celebrations common at NFL and other sporting events following touchdowns, sacks and other heroics.
I wondered not if I won but rather if my impromptu remarks reminded anyone of Lincoln at Gettysburg, MLK’s on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or JFK’s Inaugural. Everyone must have known I was a shoo-in, the man who won the hearts and minds of the people, not just the judges. I confess I even entertained the possibility that a grateful scrum of Toastmasters might stage a parade around the room, with their champion on their shoulders.
I resolved that I would act humbly, as if this kind of thing happened all the time.
Alas, it was announced that there was one disqualification—for a time violation.
There was no parade. If there had been, I would have been but a torch bearer.
Moral of this Story
Focus on why your perspective matters, why those in the room, in the country and throughout the world need to know more about your perspective, but keep to the time alloted. Resist entering a trance state or being mesmerized by your eloquence. Remain grounded, centered and aware of your surroundings, connected with realities, including all three parts of a speech, not just the beginning and the body of the talk.
Also, if you have not tried it, consider showing up at a local Toastmaster club. Guests are always welcome and, unlike dropping in on a Scientology or Hare Krishna group, nobody will hound you to join.
All good wishes.
(Ed. Note: Views expressed in this and other columns are those of the author and not necessarily those of the SeekWellness Editorial Board.)
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