May 20, 2014

How our passions impact the world

Students compete in oratorical contest in the
PNW District - Optimist International
On Saturday, May 17, 2014, I attended the PNW District - Optimist International Finals for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Sixteen young adults told us how their passions impact the world. Early in the competition one young man explained, "Passion determines skills. Spend time with what you like and you will develop skills that lead to accomplishments."

That is so true. The quote reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell's definition of expertise being 10,000 hours of practice and I thought how perceptive that he sees that without Gladwell's encouragement.

Another played on the same line of thought saying, "Passions impact our lives through the accomplishments we achieve." I found it interesting that for our young speakers, passion equaled achievement.

Other speakers drove more into their personal passions. For the hearing students, that included such things as robots and innovation, art, reading and journalism. For the hearing impaired, their passions were similar and included such things as education and technology, but they were also much more interested in causes ranging from animal rights to obesity, anti-bullying and activism.

Closing out the competition was a young man, hearing impaired, but delivering his speech aloud. Wise beyond his years, he spoke like a true optimist when he said that he'd seen hardship in his life and realized it was his responsibility to rise above it. He explained that it is every individual's responsibility to change the world around them. If everyone would do this, then together the impact could change the whole world.

"Stand up when you know something is wrong," he said. Quoting Gandhi, he concluded, "You have to be the change you want to see in the world."

Indeed.

Well done, students. Thank you for your thoughts and the promise you give our future.
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