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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


Note: This is my third speech in Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.


Does it ever occur to you that your keys are in your hand but you cannot find them? Why is that? Why does it often occur to me? Perhaps my mind was traveling, my memory terrible, my habits awful. But I never realized this could be a problem, my problem, until after the smart Michelle Wu told me, “Novel language is all about liberating the soul of the author, while public speaking is about making an instant connection with different souls.” 


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


This immediately helped put my bizarre thoughts together – my soul seems to linger in the past, my spirit seems to thrive in the future, yet my body seems to float in the present. I wondered hard how to connect my soul in the past with different souls in the present. Her words made me think about the way of my thinking, my habitual attitude, my beliefs about myself, and my most basic qualities. Her words also made me think of a high school roommate who just wouldn’t talk to me till our graduation day when I finally couldn’t help asking her why. Guess what she said? “I don’t talk to you, because you are a girl, but you look like a boy, you talk like a boy, you act like a boy and you seem to play only with boys.”


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


Oh, believe me, that confused me a lot. Since then, I would consciously ask myself: Who am I? What am I? Why am I like this? The only thing I’m certain is that I just want to write more, I can’t really care about what’s around me.


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—Me in Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


Then one evening during the Gossip Dinner after the Chinese Contest, the noble Suhail gently commented that my speech The Modern People was too deep, and the funny Alvin thought I must have prepared the speech for long time. That moment, my mind was enlightened. Firstly, I wrapped up the ideas on Monday, wrote the speech on Tuesday and delivered it on Wednesday. What made Alvin think that way? Secondly, why is the world I see different from the world others see? What on earth makes such a difference? 


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


Then I recalled the reason why I joined Toastmasters. Like many of you, I really want to make a proper speech. Each time when standing on the stage, I imagined it was a party like the party in The Great Gatsby and you were my guests who could be writers, editors, publishers, journalists, artists or my dear friends who know me the best. I’m sorry if I have imagined too far. But thanks to the most handsome Brian, the sensual Paul, the courageous Damir and all those who have shown me something great on the stage, I came to the conclusion that our brains work very differently. But how differently?


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


It is fascinating to ask, “Which position would you like to place your mind and which direction would you like to see?”

It is even more fascinating to know that all this wondering is just mindset.


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


What is mindset?


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


It is a way of thinking, an attitude, an opinion, or your beliefs.


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


Now think about your intelligence, talents and personality. Who believes that you have a certain amount of brain and talent and nothing can change that? Please raise your left hand. Congratulations! You have a fixed mindset. And who believes that your brain and talent can be developed through dedication and hard work? Please raise your right hand. More congratulations! You have a growth mindset.

For those who didn’t raise any hand, I have more questions for you. Have you ever judged yourself and others like: “I’m a loser.” “ I’m a better person than they are.” “I’m a bad husband.” “My partner is selfish.”? Or would you ask yourself: What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better?


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—Hongkong, 2014.1, 摄于香港


You don’t need to tell me the answer. This is a story we tell ourselves. But how to change the story with a growth mindset? How would you improve your speech without changing your style?


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Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures


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