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On 'Losing'

"Live your life so that whenever you lose, you are ahead." - Will Rogers
Everyone loves winning. My hero, Ricky Carmichael raced motocross and supercross. He became known as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time). He dominated his sport like no other. One thing I respect him for (besides his relentless training and focus) was how he hated second place. The man wanted first. That’s it. Contrarily, everyone hates losing. Last weekend I lost the District Toastmasters ‘Tall Tales’ competition. Did I get second? Third? They only announce placing to third place, so I finished fourth to seventh. Arrrhh! I fully expected to win. Wrote a clever Tall Tale. Won the Club level, then Area, Division, and on to District. I practiced faithfully. Videoed it and studied body language, stage position. Audio recorded it and studied voice inflection, diction. I performed it well. Not perfect, but really well. They announced the winners. Not me. I spent a few hours kicking sticks and having a pity party. Okay, a few days. Then I came around to understand what I did well, and what I could have done better. I learned a lot. I think the Toastmaster contests are the best training to become a better speaker. I learned from my competition. The level I achieved was pretty high. It was basically the Southwest of the nation. And I got to speak in front of and against some excellent people.
Check out the speech on Facebook (Kevin B Parsons) or YouTube.
Congratulations to Lindsey Bell of California, winner of the 2011 Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest..

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