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19/05/2017 Project 1: The Pursuit of Happiness

Project 1: The Pursuit of Happiness
Do what makes you happy. That's what my parents always say. Where does happiness come from, however? Is it that ice cream you have when it is so warm outside? Is it that adrenaline rush when you speak to your crush till late at night? Or is it that medal you clinched after years of training? No matter what your sources of happiness are, nobody could force you to be happy. It is you who'd define it.
Toastmaster of the Day, Acting President, Ladies and Gentlemen, my name's Anastasia and my Ice Breaker project for tonight is titled The Pursuit of Happiness.
I realized quite early that I was happiest when I could prove to myself that I could achieve something – the happiness, the end goal, is worth the struggle.
It all started quite innocently when my schoolmates called me at home asking me questions about homework problems and I couldn't answer. I could hear their disappointment at the other side of the phone, and somehow took it upon myself that I'll be much more helpful if I could answer their questions without waiting for the teachers' help. It was from then I strived to be excellent in my studies. In fact, to be the number one in school was the goal. So I did, but after a while, since studies are mostly done in solitudes, I longed for more human interaction.
18. That motivation drove me to join an outdoor activity club in junior college that was famous for being very close-knitted. The seniors, grand seniors, and great grand seniors would come to train with us every week. How did they come to be so bonded? Through the insane exercise regime that the coach put us through. During our runs, we have to start and finish together. If we didn't meet the timing designated, we'd all be punished together. Exercises are not primary and coach understands that. He made sure that we pass all of our subjects. We had to help each other then. There was no "I" in our dictionary, only "We". By the time it's our semi-annual mountain climbing expedition, we know each other well enough to complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
20. Coming into my university years, however, my club isn't a representation of the real world; the deep connection with people is harder to establish to spend. I applied for an internship through school, found a part time job outside, and a friend casually asked if I wanted to invest in a shirt-printing machine - she prints, I market. Sounds simple. All while juggling university assignments, and of course, hanging out with more people. This continued till I was 23, when I landed my first job. I had barely time to breathe but it was exciting. On top of everything, I had money to spend. (6 minutes)

Ever since I started working, however, I realize that I could also be happy if I enjoy the journey more and not burdening myself with a strict deadline to prove that I could achieve something. The end goal isn't the most important thing that matters after all. Actually having the time to do what I'd like to do, i.e. joining Toastmaster, is good enough. The sense of achievement at the end is much more satisfying if I enjoy the journey to the fullest. Don't you agree?

Designated Time: 4-6 minutes
Actual Time: 6 minutes 32 seconds.
Positive Feedback:
- Confidence and Comfortable to be on stage, 
- Sincerity - I made the story my own, something that is not found in many speakers, to be used as an advantage in subsequent speeches
- Simplicity of happiness topic selection with a chronological order which is easy to relate and follow, 
- Minimal look at the notes
Areas to Improve: Voice projection (use abdomen) and Timing. Ending was a bit abrupt but could be improved. But who is Anastasia then?


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