How I earned a thousand dollars an hour...

In order to become more complete, one of the skills I have started working on is public speech. The following is the text of the prepared speech for my Toastmasters Project 3.

Practice and become better

How many of us find that practising, or repeating an activity, do not improve your skills in that activity?

In my speech, I’m going to talk about how practicing helped improved my skills in certain areas.
There are two purposes to my speech. The general purpose is to remind everyone and myself, that practising will make one become better.

The specific purpose, I hope, is to inspire every one of us to continuously explore our own boundaries, limitations and to exceed them.

The Jacob’s Ladder, now known as the Apex Ladder, is one of the obstacles in the Standard Obstacles Course in the Singapore Armed Forces. The purpose of this obstacle is to train soldiers in their confidence with overcoming heights. One of the objectives for every Singaporean solder is to complete the Standard Obstacles Course. After being enlisted, I came upon the Jacob’s Ladder for the first time. Walking up to the apex was easy, but coming down was difficult. I don’t remember how long I was stucked up there, but I remembered being paralyzed. After some time and encouragement, I was able to come down, much to my own relief. When asked if I was still afraid, I answered yes, and was made to redo the Jacob’s Ladder. How many times did I redo the obstacle? I don’t remember, but it could easily have been between 5 to 10 times. What I remembered was that eventually, I said I was no longer afraid. Walking up and down the Jacob’s Ladder helped reduce my fear and improved my confidence.

Years ago, when I started learning how to use the computer, I used the finger pecking method of typing. Determined to learn how to type with all my fingers, I got myself a typing program and practiced for about 15 minutes every day. Eventually, I was able to achieve a typing speed of over 100 wpm from an initial speed of 14 wpm.

There was a time when I was approached to write a backup script for Solaris (an operating system I do not have), running on SPARC (a type of computer that I do not have). Does anyone want to make a guess what my immediate answer was? Was my answer yes or no? My immediate answer was no, because I did not know how to write the script properly. After a day, however, I called back, said yes and that I can only do so in 2 weeks. What changed in a day? I found out that I could download Solaris and run it on a virtual machine, a simulation of the actual type of computer used by the client. I practiced writing the script for 2 weeks, and when I went onsite, I was able to write the script in about 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes earned me $1000.

In my speech, I talked about my fear of height, and how I overcame it. I talked about how I eventually was able to type at over 100wpm through practicing. Finally, I talked about how I was able to earn $1000 by practicing the writing of a script. The details of what I did were too complicated to talk about in the time-frame provided.

I hoped this speech has reminded everyone that practicing can improve one’s skills and it has inspired you.

Thank you, Toastmaster of the Evening.

Published Mon, 27 Sep 2010 @ 11:52 PM by chuacw
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