Dreams Can Come True

Speech Project #8, delivered on Aug 14, 2010

Everything starts with a dream. Dreams are not just a figment of our imagination but they are visions we see or we wanted to see in the future. It is the blueprint of our future.

I once had a dream standing on a podium speaking in front of an audience. I knew it was a nightmare because in that dream I was trembling. The next morning I woke up soaked in my own sweat.

A year later, that one dream came true. This time, I knew it was not a nightmare. In it, I wasn't trembling. Somehow, public speaking dream literally became real. Thanks to Toastmasters, my trembling nerves now are in its proper place. I still feel nervous though it no longer bothers me like it used to. My nervousness now feels more like an excitement.

Dreams are blessings. Good dreams serve as visions that give us hope to achieve something great in the future. On the other hand, nightmares are not just product of our subconscious fears. They too are blessings because they give us warning that if we are not mindful of our actions, bad things might happen to us. Nightmares remind us that all our actions have consequences. Knowing this before hand, we have the chance to avoid them from coming true.

One common fear is fear of embarrassment. Being on stage in front of an audience is prone to this kind of fear. At some point in our lives, we experience being on stage! Whether you are singing, dancing or asked to speak on your friend's wedding, there are only two choices you have when you are on stage – it’s either you presented yourself well or you embarrassed yourself badly. Speaking of embarrassment, I have a few of those to share.

Years ago when I was in school, I used to be coerced to present different things my classmates won’t do especially on stage. From singing, dancing, to delivering impromptu speeches - you name it! I wasn't gullible really. I was more of a "feeling-hero" type of kid. I thought that if I won’t do it, the world would be doomed! If there is something I think should be done, which no one would want to do, I usually would volunteer myself to do it. Though, I also sometimes feel being betrayed by the voluntary impulse of my own hands. Some of my 'heroic-volunteerism' embarrassments include climbing on a greased bamboo, killing a chicken in a dance while wearing almost nothing, singing 'doble-kara', and many others. I think, despite fear of embarrassment, my innate competitiveness was overpowering during those times. Besides, I didn't want the rival teams to run away the trophy easily. I didn't want them to think we were a batch of losers. 

Of course it is not embarrassing to sing on stage, but if you forgot 90% of the lyrics, that’s a nightmare. It happened to me once. Out of 6 contestants, I still ranked 4th. Amazing? Ahem!

Dancing is also not embarrassing, but if you splattered some chicken blood on an honoured guest’s shoes, perhaps you would consider cursing the dance floor. While dancing, I had to tear the live chicken using my own hands. The chicken was very participative and if it were in a movie, it would have been cinematographically impressive. After I smashed it on the floor, it continued to flap its wings until it reached the seat of our guest, while leaving traces of blood on the floor and on his shoes. On another dancing incident, I kicked someone else’s face when I tried to back flip. And that's the end of my dancing journey!

Joining an extemporaneous speech contest is not embarrassing, but I had experienced one which I had wished I could turn back time to correct it. After the speech contest, one of the judges approached me and said “You could have won! Your message was on point. You have excellent command in English. You spoke fluently. The problem is that this Tagalog Category!”

Despite all of those embarrassments I had, I still believe there is no point of wallowing and of giving up. Failures and embarrassments are part of the process of learning and chasing our dreams. If you fail during the process, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It’s just that you haven’t succeeded yet. A popular meaning of the acronym FAIL, which sums it all up, is First Attempt In Learning. I think the scientist Thomas Edison is a famous example of this. He is believed to have busted 10,000 bulbs before getting the result. On my search for my own success compared to Edison’s, I think I have busted a hundred yet, which means I still have around 9900 attempts to explore and explode.

Fellow toastmasters, we should not fear embarrassment or failure. The greatest failure is the failure to try. Let us not stop trying. Let us not stop dreaming of good dreams. Let our dreams be not just for our self-gratification but also for the success of our club, for the benefit of others and to make little contributions to maybe.... world peace?

Let our dreams be the starting point and not the end point. Or else, it would be as if we were just dreaming with our eyes closed. And the next morning we'd just forget everything.
Dreams can be powerful but only if we persistently chase and work for it. With the guide of the Almighty, dreams can come true.

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