What’s the biggest dream or goal you have in your life at this moment? Is it saving money, getting fit, or becoming a better public speaker?
But are you overwhelmed because these goals are so huge and will require significant time and energy?
Do you know how do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time!
The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
How do these statements relate to our goals? They give a strategy of how we can tackle seemingly overwhelming goals and challenges. Big goals and challenges are tackled in the same way as smaller goals – one step at a time.
Have you ever said “I wish I could play the piano or guitar?” then you thought – “I don’t have time” or “I’m too old”, or some other excuse.
It’s not too late! It is possible to release your inner musician. Maybe you have a dream to play a song at your grandmother’s 80th birthday, or to play your favourite songs.
Here is my story of being an adult piano learner and the pleasure and satisfaction piano playing has given me.
Over the weekend I watched a DVD titled Speak. Although it is described as a documentary about the fear of public speaking, it is really about the journey of the finalists of the 2008 Toastmasters International Speech Contest. Along that journey we learn about the challenges of each of the speakers and how they fared in the competition.
Many of the speeches were about life-threatening challenges faced by the speaker including recovery from heart attacks, a foot amputation. There was a touching speech about a man who married his high school sweetheart after a gap of over fifty years. In order to reach this level of competition, speakers would have won a club competition, area competition, division contest and regional contest in the USA.
The winning speech was by Lashunda Rundle, an African American woman who was battling the systemic disease of lupus which eventually took her life in August 2012. She was only 43 years old.
Today I spent nearly three hours photographing objects at home, taking screen shots on my iPhone and arranging them into a PowerPoint of 20 slides. Why am I doing this?
On the 14 May I am giving a presentation at Toastmasters titled “Why I love my iPhone”. I am using the Pecha Kucha format which is 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, and advancing automatically. I wrote about this in a recent article on Ignite talks.
I have watched many presentations in this format but I have never done one myself, hence setting myself the challenge of giving. I am sure it is quite hard to pace myself with the slides. I have written the narration text and placed in the speakers notes. Twenty seconds per slide is only about 50 words and my next step is practice.
Here is a screen shot from the slide sorter view of PowerPoint so you can get a hint on the content. My objective is to show how the iPhone eliminates the need for various electronic devices and artefacts, as well as creating new ways of doing things.
Are you tired of sitting through boring Powerpoint presentations and wished there was a more exciting way? Maybe you need to prepare a Powerpoint presentation and worried about operating the slides and boring the audience?
Welcome to the Ignite way of presenting with Powerpoint! 20 slides displayed for 15 seconds each and advancing automatically. The presentation moves along briskly, the audience knows the speech only lasts for 5 minutes (300 seconds) and the speaker has to prepare well.
You might think that having such a rigid format of presentation is stifling. Breaking your presentation into 20 pieces with accompanying image and approximately 30 – 40 words (spoken in 15 seconds) forces you to think about your message, main points, key words and images. Five minutes isn’t a long time is it? It was long enough for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Sermon on the Mount!
I have watched many entertaining Ignite talks but I have never done one. I am preparing a talk at the moment to present at my Toastmasters club for the assignment on getting comfortable with visual aids. I have a topic in mind and will share a recording later on YouTube. Writing this article has crystallised my thinking about this format and energised me for preparing my talk.
Amazing Grace is a hymn that I have heard in various forms throughout my life. I went to Knox Grammar – a Presbyterian (now Uniting Church) school. We used to sing Amazing Grace at chapel services and it was one of my favourite hymns.
Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, an 18th century Englishman, and based on his personal experience. Published in 1779, it gained popularity in the folk movement of the 1960s and 1970s with performances by Joan Baez and Judy Collins. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (a Scottish regiment of the British Army) recorded an instrumental version in 1972 with a bagpipe soloist. Amazing Grace was my grandfather’s favourite song and it was sung at his funeral in 1983.
I think it is an intensely moving and powerful hymn. In this article I have gathered a variety of performances for your listening pleasure. Click on each of these YouTube links to watch and listen, and follow the lyrics and sheet music included later in the article.
This article is dedicated to my friends who are accountants or have endured accounting studies at university. And a big cheer to the Chartered Accountants!
This song is the Accountancy Shanty from a short film by Terry Gilliam titled The Crimson Permanent Assurance released in 1983. It was shown in cinemas with the Monty Python Meaning of Life film.
Watch the film clip (in a separate window) and sing along to the lyrics below!
It’s fun to charter an accountant,
And sail the wide accountan-cy.
To find, explore the funds offshore,
And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy.
It can be manly in insurance.
We’ll up your premium semi-annually.
It’s all tax-deductible,
We’re fairly incorruptible.
We’re sailing on the wide accountan-cy.
The Monty Python comedy team often poked fun at accountants and the supposed boredom of the profession. Here is a sketch about a chartered accountant who wants to change career and become a lion tamer.
I found another version of the Accountancy Shanty!