Lauren Gilbert

Officer - Lauren Gilbert
Feb 18 2021

Do You Have the Winning Mentality?

Lauren Gilbert

The 30 minutes in the preparation room seemed to pass faster than I had anticipated. Luckily, I knew my topic and was able to write down my main points on a few notecards. Someone entered the room and called “Lauren.” I was the next speaker, and I was not ready.

 

Standing in front of three judges and a small audience of five, there my 14-year-old-self was shaking and quaking. My quivering voice made it through about a minute of the three minute speech. My cold and clammy hands dropped my notecards. I scrambled to gather them. However, I did not know which note card was next because I had forgotten to number them. My speech was a TOTAL FLOP. It was awful. To no surprise, I did not win —or even place anywhere near the top. I felt like a complete failure.

 

The experience made me realize that extemporaneous public speaking was not one of my strengths. So what did I do about it? I took advantage of any opportunity I had to participate in an extemporaneous speaking contest. Now, I wish I could tell a story of how I turned around and won the extemporaneous speaking competition which I had once failed at, but I don’t. I tried, but I never placed anywhere near the top for any extemporaneous speaking competition I competed in.

 

I might not have won a medal or experienced any success with the extemporaneous speaking contest, but in a way I did win. By participating in those competitions, I improved my own communication skills and faced one of my fears. A medal would do me no good at this point, but the intrapersonal skills I gained through the process are used every day of my life.

 

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellowman; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

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What Will You Choose?

Lauren Gilbert

Have you ever been so tired that you can barely see straight? Well, I was at that point. I had been at the Missouri Public Speaking Academy for a week and went straight to the Missouri Cattlemen’s Show for the weekend. To top it off, it was so hot that I could literally see the heat waves rising off of the concrete. I wanted to sleep and desperately needed an air conditioner.  

 

While I was in Sedalia for the show, my dad and I went to get some food. As we drove in the air conditioning, I was complaining about how tired I was. I said, “Dad, I don’t want to go to basketball practice on Monday morning because I don’t want to run.” Three seconds later, I saw a man on the side of the road in a wheelchair struggling to propel himself up a hill in the blistering sun. I was speechless and had never been more humbled. I am not proud of that moment in my life, but that day I learned an impactful lesson. Not only should I be thankful for what I have, but I also have a choice—I can either feel sorry for myself or be appreciative of what I have. English writer, William Arthur Ward, once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” I made a choice to be thankful and appreciative of opportunities. Now, I live my life with a different perspective. This change in perspective has completely changed my day, my mood and the quality of my life. Missouri FFA members, will you get caught up in a busy schedule, failure and tiredness? Or, will you show gratitude towards the opportunities set before you? 

 

What will you choose?

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