Life challenges from a different perspective

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Life challenges can be terrifying. When going through a big life challenge, I usually feel like someone driving his car the wrong way: I expect to crash at any moment. I feel as if there is a force inside trying to make me change direction and go back to my comfort zone.

To show how difficult it is for me to overcome this kind of fear, I will tell you a personal story. I joined a public speaking club a few years ago while studying in Australia. The first time I went to a meeting, I found the club to be different than what I had expected. It turned out that we would be learning by practice, and I would have to give many speeches. Therefore, my first assignment was to give an icebreaker speech.

On the day of my first speech, I wore my best shirt and came to the meeting on time. To my surprise, the meeting room was filled with people who would serve as an audience. I think all of the club members were there that night. Worse, there were more guests present than ever. Instead of thinking about where to sit, I thought about escaping! The first thing that came to mind was for me to hide my face, go back to my

car and drive home. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately for the guests), I decided to stay.

Before it was my turn, I had many horrible thoughts: “Am I confident about my speech? What about my English and my accent? Perhaps they will not understand me. Worst of all, maybe I will trip and fall, landing with a thud on the ground.” I know that seems crazy and is highly unlikely, but how can first-time speakers stop themselves from thinking these negative thoughts?

The time had arrived. I stood in the center of the stage, looking out at the sea of silent faces that were looking back at me. My heart rate increased. I’m sure everyone near me could hear my heart beating. I tried to stand in one position without moving and kept my feet firmly planted on the ground. After a few seconds, however, everything seemed fine. I was able to calm my nerves, and I completed my speech nicely.

Even though giving my first speech was a difficult challenge, it came with many personal gains. The positive feedback I got inspired me to continue my journey and give more speeches. One year later, I was elected president of the club. In the same year, I came second at the area speech contest. The overall lesson learned was realizing that challenges are an essential part of life. Sometimes, we need challenges and life’s obstacles for personal growth. Thus, if you have a dream, challenge your limitations. Keep going and break the ice that prevents you from reaching your goals.

Saad Algraini

The author can be contacted at: salgraini@gmail.com


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