Communication skills and thinking back to yester year
The family home at time of writing
97% of men never realize their dreams
In an audio-tape I heard the late Earl Nightingale state that 97% of men never realize their dreams. I fall into that 97%. The essay below, written thirty-nine years ago when I was thirty-eight, confirms this. Just get a load of the sheer ambition and grandiose imaginings I had in those days.
This is not to say I have not succeeded in lesser ways. I am, in fact, fairly proud of my achievements. But when I read through what I wrote in one of my journals on Sunday 7th July 1974, I am astounded at just what I thought I was capable of. And maybe I was. Maybe we all are. But as Earl Nightingale said, so many of us fall short of our real potential.
Here’s the piece.
My nuclear family in 1974
We could afford to sponsor a child in a Third World country
Yesterday I saw an advertisement in The Australian; Foster Parents Plan of Australia is seeking sponsors for various families in backward countries. They are asking Australians to undertake this. Before we went to New Zealand, four years ago, we used to sponsor a child who was living in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) We sent our money through Yogini Sarasvati, the well-known television personality. It gave Rita and me a certain satisfaction to do this. We could afford it; the sum submitted each fortnight was, from memory, only $7-50. However, inflation has spread its tentacles right across the world and this amount has now increased slightly.
Sponsorship engenders a sense of responsibility and commitment
This morning I asked Rita if she would mind if we supported another child, i.e. someone through Foster Parents Plan of Australia. She said, “No – not for the time being anyway,” and pointed out that she thought we could not afford it. I let it go at that. We are not exactly comfortably well-off at the moment. Nevertheless, I still think it would be a very good idea to support a child rather than just send off the random cheque. The reason for this is that sponsorship of this type involves a deeper responsibility, a commitment. It is very easy to forget half of the people in the world are on the poverty line when the only time this fact is brought to mind is when you read a certain type of newspaper advertisement, or see a certain type of television documentary. But when you have established a personal relationship with some of these poor it is a different story.
My children and pet cat, Snoopy, in 1974
Honing my communication skills were high on the priority list
I want to succeed in Public Speaking, and in my longer term goal of establishing a professional body of men like myself. Some of these reasons are egotistical; I’ll admit that – but not all of them. I will try now to explain my feelings, and just why I want to do the things I intend.
It is has become clear to me that any man of average intelligence, and who is in good health, and who lives in just about any of the world’s most affluent and democratic countries, can become whatever he wants to become. The only restrictions are the limitations he places on himself. I feel this great truth has been revealed to me because I am ready for it. It is now up to me to act upon this truth and put its knowledge to use.
It took me many years to realize that it was a lack of a specific goal that was holding me back
It took me many, many years – half of my life in fact – to realize that the only thing that has been holding me back is my lack of a specific goal. Over the last few years I have been trying to figure out just what that goal should be. For a while I thought I should be a writer. But the world has many writers. Many good books are written. Many great messages are conveyed – and yet the world remains largely the same.
Not completely the same, however. The moralist authors aremaking their messages felt; so much so that the world is just about ripe for unification on a grand scale. It might be thirty years before it is finally brought about, but brought about it will be (What an optimist was I!) It is my intention to play a great part in this ‘bringing about.’
My wife, Rita, and Gypsy, 1974
Even the greatest among us have their day and then go
Now, I’ve wanted to be a great public speaker, an orator, for some time. But it occurred to me that even the great ones come and go. They make their presence felt for some months or years and then gradually fade from the limelight. Along with their going goes most of their message. Therefore, I reasoned, no matter how good an orator I become, and no matter by how many people my voice is heard, sooner or later my voice will be no longer effective. I will die. And with my dying my message, no matter how strongly it was delivered, will attenuate and die. The essence of what I have said may, if I am effective enough, remain for some years, but eventually it, too, would be absorbed.
What if, with my communications skills, I could create something far greater than myself?
But what if I helped to create something far, far greater than myself? What if I helped to create an organization that would last for a century? Establish an organization so effective that even when it ‘passed on’ it would have a favorable influence on the world for many centuries to come?
What a challenge! And what a responsibility!
And then the idea came.
Public Speaking Personnel (PSP)
The world needs leaders. The world needs flamboyant figures who appeal to the emotions and imagination. There was a time when we seemed to have them in abundance. Not so anymore. Today most of our politicians – yes, and our church leaders – are almost anonymous. There is still a great need for the dynamic, appealing personality, the leader who can inspire. And it is likely that this need will be around for a long time yet.
The writer - family dog on left - 1974
How many ever attain their greatest leadership potential?
There is in the world no organization which aspires to train such people; that specializes in bringing them to the peak of their attainments in true leadership. Perhaps I can help to rectify this.
But to return to specifics. To return to creating something bigger and more enduring than myself. If I form a company, a professional body, which will survive me, then I will be well on my way to achieving this. My field will be, naturally enough, that of Oratory, Public Speaking and Meeting Leadership, for it is in these fields that leadership makes itself felt.
Despite my communications skills and experience in speaking I wasn't even aware speakers bureaus existed
There are already many public speaking organizations functioning throughout the English-speaking world: Dale Carnegie’s, Toastmasters International, Rostrum, et cetera, but all of these are amateur organizations. There are, to my knowledge, no full-time professional public speaking organizations (I was ignorant of speakers’ bureaus at this time) functioning just as that and nothing else. There are certain specialist professional bodies such as the Australian Fund Raising Council, but they do not cover a wider field. What I envisage is a great, world-wide institution covering a wide variety of Public Speaking and Leadership qualities. This is an institution which will contain orators, after-dinner speakers, fund raisers, professional chairmen, industrial dispute counselors, and teachers in all facets of oral communication.
My elder son, Stephen, and Gypsy 1974
My organization would be an exemplar of how it should be done
The standard of the proposed organization will be extremely high. So high, in fact, that the demand for its specialists will always be great. Quality will not give way to quantity. This is not to say that everyone associated or affiliated with P.S.P. will be outstanding, but those that are employed as professional public speakers, those that are regarded as staff employed in this capacity, will be.
The idea was to provide the best possible service
The whole object of the institution will be designed to give the best possible service. Many of the troubles of the world are caused by ineffectual and misunderstood communication. One of the institution’s aims will be to minimize this. Another will be to support those charitable organizations that do not have a strong voice.
Which brings me back to what I said at the outset. I feel a person, or an organization, should feel obligated towards providing something worthwhile to those in the world that could use his (or its) help. P.S.P will not only provide a service, it will support certain charitable organizations. It will be my personal aim to support an additional ‘foster child’ for every increase of $2,000 I receive in salary over and above $6,000 per year (1974 values)
Public Speaking Professionals or P.S.P. never got off the ground
P.S.P is still a new idea, and I have not had much time to dwell on its aims in detail. Such things as a constitution will have to be outlined if not laid down in detail. There is much to do. But this is what gives it so much appeal. It will be a life’s work.
Thus the journal entry ends.
Well, it certainly didn’t become a life’s work. However, I did go on to supporting no fewer than six foster children through Foster Parents Plan (Now Plan International) one after the other, and continue to do so till this day. With my communication skills I did become a proficient public speaker and trainer and have probably presented a thousand speeches. On top of this I’ve written books, short stories, essays, poetry, film scripts- been involved in many things. But on looking back on how I thought and was motivated back in 1974, I have to admit I’ve fallen well short of that ‘grand ambition’ of yester year.
More on the writer
- Tom Ware Public Speaking The Prince of Storytellers
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