Monday, April 8, 2013

How do we keep going? - 26 March

Our last club meeting saw us having our annual Club Speaking Competition in preparation for the run of contests leading up to the Division and finally, the District Competition at MaxiCon in May.

There is a saying (borrowed from the Robert Burns poem To a Mouse) about the best laid schemes of mice and men; and sadly, this event turned out to fraught with all sorts of problems. It was not that there had not been enough warning; we had known about it for ages. It was not that there were initially not enough entrants for the International and the Evaluation Competitions; there were. It was just a case of LIFE, with all its complexities and problems, happening.

Despite the limited number of entrants in the final competitions, I believe that we all – and the four or five visitors who were present – learned a lot. Glenis Whitehead (our Division Governor), in her role as Chief Judge, took us through the rules and discussed some interesting items which had been raised by Shaun Goodbrand, District Chief Judge in a recent On a Point. It was an enjoyable evening as always. Mariannah Lourens and Jessamy Kromhout went on to represent Algoa at the Area Competition at Victoria Park Grey on Saturday, 6 April.

This Competition saw entrants from all the clubs in Area E1 competing: Algoa, ACT, USpeak, NMMU and Rhodes. The results were as follows: Jessamy Kromhout won the Evaluation Contest, followed by Charlie Msimane from Rhodes; Michael Travis (also from Rhodes) won the International Contest with Mariannah Lourens in second place. All four of these contestants are allowed to compete at the next level and we wish them the best of luck!

20 April will have competitors and supporters leaving PE and Grahamstown very early in the morning to travel to East London for the Division Contest to determine who will be representing us in the District Competition at LeaderCon in Fourways from 23 – 26 May. If anyone would like to support the contestants from Area E1, please speak to Glenis Whitehead or Colleen Love about transport arrangements.

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I found myself wondering after the club competition though: How do we keep going? We are all so aware of the treadmill lives that we lead. Taking it easy translates these days into being lazy – and if we want to achieve any level of success, either personally or at work, we cannot be seen to be lazy! So, we load our metaphoric plates until we really cannot do any more – and then we sometimes have to face the consequences in poor health, a lack of family time or even nervous breakdowns. I guess the only way to ‘have it all’ is to find balance.

This is not a new topic of conversation at Toastmasters; I have devoted most of a previous blog to it. However, I keep coming back to it. Renowned theologian, Thomas Merton, had this to say:

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony."

So, if we are looking for a way to achieve our goals without falling apart or of driving ourselves too hard, we must find a way to devote time to each of the following areas: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social/Emotional and Material. Looking online, I found a really simple article at which sums it all up.

I know it’s not always easy, but if we make small, deliberate changes to the way we live, we would be surprised at the results that will yield.

Until next time
Ricky Woods

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