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Speech By Raquel Nina

What voices are you choosing to listen to?

It’s too difficult.  It sounds Very complicated. No one has ever done that before.
People will not like it. There are no resources to do that. 
The economic situation is very bad nowadays.
If you like it and feel passionate about it, give a try!
Let’s see the possibilities that are present. Let’s work towards a solution. How can we make it happen?
I have an expectation that my project is going to be successful. It will exceed expectations.
Completing your 10 projects at Lion City Toastmasters can be easy and fun. Go for it!

Fellow toastmasters and dear guests: “What voices are you choosing to listen to?” Throughout life people are constantly sharing what they think with us. What they consider to be the best way, their ideas and opinions. Telling us what we can and cannot become. Sometimes this is good when people encourage and support us, but there are times that people may discourage us or prevent us from pursuing our goals. This is especially applicable nowadays because we are continually exposed to a myriad of information, advices and counseling through printed media, digital media, internet and social networks that can greatly influence the way we think, speak and act. We cannot stop the negative comments. We cannot prevent the negative judgments but we can choose to remove them. 

As a teenager Walt Disney was told by his art instructor that he wasn’t creative, he didn’t have any imagination. Nevertheless, Disney was smart enough to not pay attention to his teacher comment. Years later, He went on to conceive and construct one of the most acclaimed theme parks, Walt Disney World. The Father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was able to overcome all obstacles, opponents and voices trying to keep him from fulfilling his vision to transform Singapore into a first-world developed nation. He went on to become one of the most influential political leaders in Asia. The common denominator in the success of these leaders is they chose to not listen to negative voices. The same way, still nowadays people may say discouraging words to us. 

I remember after finishing high school, I was crystal clear about studying Systems Engineering and Computation at the university. I felt extremely passionate about info communications technology and computers. Yet, when I shared my desire and vision with some close friends and relatives, most of them shared with me a negative report. They came up with comments such as: That is a very hard and demanding/difficult career for a woman. Are you sure you want to study Systems Engineering? Are you conscious about all the mathematics, physics and calculus subjects you will have to approve and complete along the career course in order to graduate? Why don’t you better choose and easier and simpler career? 

Unlike my relatives, my mother and a close friend of mine animated me to pursue the career I liked and felt excited about. Today I am glad I chose to not listen to my relatives’ limiting voices. Thankfully I removed their negative viewpoints and instead, I chose to follow the voice in me that was telling me to pursue and study the career that appealed to me. And so I did. Even though the years of study were challenging, I was able to bring my dream to pass.  It gave me a huge satisfaction to do what they said I could not do and to share with them my graduation photos, four years later. Having pursued the career I liked, opened many doors and opportunities for me to grow in all areas of my life. Sometimes, I wonder where would I have been had I listened to my relatives’ voices. Maybe I would not be standing here today, sharing my story with you. 

My dear friends, what voices are you choosing to listen to? Are other peoples’ voices, comments, viewpoints holding you back today? What a former supervisor said?  What a counselor said? What a doctor said? This is the time to choose to not listen to anything that is in disagreement with your deepest dreams. People don’t determine our destiny. We have a choice. The only power that a negative voice can have over us is the power that we give it. If we choose to not listen to negative labels they will have no effect on us.  

Along the way there will always be voices trying to label you, to keep you from fulfilling your goals. I encourage you, to look at your heart, if the desire/passion is there, is because you are capable of bringing it to pass. You would not have the dream and desire in your heart unless you are also equipped to bring it to pass. I encourage you to only listen to the voices that are in alignment with your dreams. If you do that, I believe it’s going to be a turning point in your life.

To conclude, long ago, there once was a Native Asian grandfather who was talking to his grandson about his feelings and how he felt. He said to his grandson:  “I feel as I have two lions fighting in my heart and thoughts”. One lion is fearful, afraid and repeatedly says “I cannot do it”. The other lion is supportive, compassionate, encouraging and repeatedly says “I can do it and I will succeed”. The grandson curiously asked his grandfather: “Grandpa, which lion will win the fight in your heart and thoughts? The grandfather answered: “The One I nourish. The One I choose to listen to”.

Copyright Raquel Nina. All Rights Reserved 2013.

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