I did my level three speech


My previous post was the initial write up for the TM Level 3 speech. After many rounds of refinement it came through nice and tight. (5-7 mins)

General purpose: Inform audience of habits/ habitual thinking that can be very limiting.

Specific purpose: How to identify habits/ excuses that support them and get rid of old habits.


Excuses Begone!

Habit is habit. You shouldn’t push it out of the window
but coax it one step at a time down the stairs
– Mark Twain

Ask yourselves what is limiting you from achieving success or getting the best out of life?

Habits. Habits create a mindset that interfere with our ability to grow, learn, and become better. Habitual thoughts supports  entire system that is made of a long list of explanations and defences that can be summed up in just one word: excuses. It is my intention that – all excuses be gone!

Habits are acquired over time. Old habits of thinking stick around, often for an entire lifetime, largely because you create internal reasons to reinforce and maintain them.

How often do you hear: ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I’m too shy’, ‘I could never afford’, ‘I have no time’

What are the top excuses you make? Ask yourselves – spot those thinking habits.

Today, I listed my top 3 excuses

#1 I will do it tomorrow

#2 I can never afford it

#3 I’m scared

I spent an entire year of research using  #1 excuse – I will do it tomorrow.  At each stage I would simply postpone it by another day. When deadlines got closer, I worked on the double – regretfully toiled over night to complete work. I soon realized the quality of my work was going down. The last few month I had to work really hard to make up for the lost time.

#2 excuse I make is ‘ I can never afford it’. I was brought up in a family with stringent values. We didn’t have this amount of choice for material things. But may be such stringent standards are not needed. I need to get over old habits.We should never limit ourselves with this particular excuse. Money may not be the actual limiting factor in making that dream tour to China, a rail trip across Europe. It’s the doubt that limits you. If you really want, you can make it happen.

The next excuse is even more interesting than the previous two.

#3 excuse I make is ‘I’m scared’. If I don’t drive for sometime, I get this creepy feeling I can’t drive in the city of Colombo. In my mind it’s a concrete jungle with automobiles running haywire. Well okay the roads are wider, but the traffic is all in one direction and a shop can be on either the left or right hand side, if I miss it I have to make a round trip, with the eye on the fuel gauge. I have completely avoided shopping in Colombo, missed out on wonderful exhibitions and other events.

Another example: I have let my scare for the deep end limit the actual benefits I can get from swimming. Unlike Naleef I cannot swim in a river. I would love to. I actually can swim in a river, until my boys who would go swimming with me tell it’s 15 feet deep. Once I hear this, my mind sets into motion and completely blocks my innate ability to swim. This is important – the thought I can’t – makes it a reality.

As you can see Excuses can be very limiting. Very frustrating. They are the misalignments in life that stops you from getting the best. It’s good to understand why we make these excuses, the reasons for them. Then you can unwind the negative thinking, train the habitual mind to think differently.

For my #1 excuse, the unwinding goes like this:

#1 I will do it tomorrow – what’s stopping you from doing it now, today. Is it difficult, is there something unknown about it.  I ask these questions from my inner self. To get out of sheer laziness I make lists & plans.

6 mins bell goes and I skip the entire section below


#2 I can’t afford it

Whether you can afford a thing or not. You are right about it

– Henry Ford

A trip to China will be about 2 1/2 laks in rupees. That’s alot of money! But it would be lovely. A dream come true. The experience will be worth so much more.

#3 I’m scared – When I delve into this I realised that it wasn’t just the traffic and the traffic cops that scared me. I was scared of wasting time. I looked at it differently. Others need to get to their destinations as well and I have to learn to live with the traffic. I felt much better when I looked at it from a different perspective.


I use this bit to conclude

Some people think habits are part of their DNA. A top excuse I hear from my spouse is ‘that’s my way’ and  ‘I can’t change’.Tthis is the most reasonable explanation he gives. Some habits are acquired over a long period of time, from our childhood, from our teenage or university days. These things may have gone unnoticed when our concentration was on other matters. Naturally you think you can’t change – that’s my way – because habits are engraved into our systems, part of our habitual thinking.

But you can change even the toughest habits. Once you’ve realised that Excuses are blocking your progress – half the battle is won. Next you need to think differently. Words such as “can’t” and “shouldn’t” imply that you have no choice. But you do have a choice. Your choice is simply to either do or to not do. You need to work hard to get them out. You can’t get rid of them over night. As Mark Twain said you need to ditch bad habits one step at a time.


The 7 min bell goes and I couldn’t resist this one last bit

Remember this one last quote (I don’t know how my evaluator missed it)

Don’t ever underestimate the power in you to change

and more importantly;
Don’t overestimate the power to change others.


Over all I was happier making this speech. In the begining I had a surge of nervousness trying to take over. But as I stood there I was determined the make the best of it. I remembered what my previous evaluators had said – I needed to relax, use my hands in confidence, pitch to the audience, vary the voice etc.

As the deliverance came out, I let it flow with my mind and not the written speech, made eye contact like in conversations. I couldn’t control the flow – not all of the content of the body could be delivered but I manage to draw in a conclusion. I added the last quote which admits that I can change myself but not others.

What I should have done is – ask the audience if they thought it was worth spending sometime –  looking at those excuses and the habitual thining pattern supporting them. And then I could have concluded with the last quote.

I sould have used pause to move into new sections. Well, a speech is very much a like life – you need to deliver it in order to experience it! I’m waiting to hear what Dian thought of it.


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