Sunday, 16 December 2012

Basic Speech 2: What Mathematics Had Taught Me

(This is initially a speech delivered for the Competent Communicator Manual of Toastmaster International. My Basic Speech 2)

Main objective of Speech 2 is to Organize Your Speech — It requires the speaker to use several techniques in organizing one's speech, with an effective opening and ending. The speech should be 5 to 7 minutes.

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What  Mathematics Had Taught Me

Never-mind that I am a Mass Communication Graduate for I have always loved math. Perhaps that is because I had a great Algebra teacher who left us five valuable tips to keep in mind in solving math problems which made equations much easier and less a threat.

Our teacher made us realized that solving equations does not require knowledge alone, for it also needs the right attitude. Our teacher reminded us with much faith that "It is possible to find X;" she never failed to let us remember to "Balance our equations first" before anything else; and to keep in mind that "Right and wrong are not relative." When we were having our examinations, I still remember my teacher's words lingering, the hurtful truth that "Staring at a question does not lead to an answer." And lastly we were so blessed to have a teacher who believes that "Efforts merit some points."

Later on in my life, I realized that there are more to these five tips. Our teacher not only taught us how to solve equations but she gave us the basic instructions in living life.

First, always remember that "It is possible to find X," no matter what, X can be discovered. Even if people say that "an experimental mathematician divided it by zero" for fun and then was lost in the process or that "X took a break and just decided to retire." It's not true. There will always be ways to find X. Do not let anyone's negativity pull you down. Finding x is your goal. Like in life, your goal is to be somebody or to do something that you love, no matter how difficult it may look or even if you are against all the odds. It may take a complicated formula with lots of trial and error but it is NOT impossible.

Second is to "Balance your equations" first. In math to get an answer, it is important  to maintain the balance or the equality in the equation. Add the same amount to both sides or take away the same amount from both sides. In life it is the same thing. You have to know your equation first and then figure it out. How much time or how much effort will you put into athletics, friends, studies, career, family, vacation or toastmasters. But just remember when you change one part of the equations, other parts must adjust. So maintain the balance in life.

The third thing to remember is that "Right and wrong are not relative." It is plain simple. When you got an answer, it is whether you got it right or wrong. You may use different solutions because there is more than one way to get an answer but you will always end up with a single right answer other than that it is wrong. Just like in life, when you make a decision, it is important to know what you believe in and hold your ground. I am not saying that there are no gray areas since Life is more than complicated. But answering in plain "Yes" or "No" is way better than just saying "Maybe" or "Perhaps".

Fourth. "Staring at a question does not lead to an answer." Ask if you are confuse, in doubt or if you lost and do not know what to do. In a nutshell, ask for help. Numbers can shock us. Too much numbers can overwhelmed us. In this world, there are moments when we will be lost on the road of life. We do not know what to do so there is the tendency to shut ourselves away from everything, and to stay out of the road. But knowing that you do not know is important and quite useful to you and others. So do not pause your life simply because you do not know what to do. Rather, accept ignorance so you would have a chance to learn a thing or two.

Last is that "Efforts merit some points." Whenever we had our math examinations, there was no way for us to get a score of zero, because our teacher would give us 1 point, 2 points even 3 points for our formulas even if we got the wrong answer. In life, we always prefer to do the right thing, to choose the best option or at least the most appropriate one. However, there would always be miscalculations and unseen circumstances that can alter desired results. But it does not mean you made a mistake.

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A shift in course, career or status in life does not mean you made a wrong decision but simply a realization. So do not be cruel to yourself or to other people who made changes and adjustments. It is important to get the right answer or to attain desired results but it is a treasure to acquire a skill or knowledge because you miscalculate, overestimate or simply oversight some elements. It is a treasure to be given a chance to learn and prove yourself again.

Friends, my Algebra teacher who taught me the formulas in solving equations and the right attitude in living life is Mrs. Agnes E. Eledia. And, her lessons are treasures I will never forget.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Quote about Life

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Without a risk there is no faith.
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) 

A Quote about Life

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Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.
Epictetus (50-130) 

A Quote about Nobility

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When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble.
-Buddha (560-480 B.C.E) 

A Quote about Sacrifice

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What is the most just thing? 
To sacrifice.
Pythagoras (flourished c. 532 B.C.E) 

A Quote about Death

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Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not. 
 - Epicurus(341-270 B.C.E)

A Quote about Faith

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A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626)