Category Archives for Personal Improvement

The Integration Elixir

Molten metal

“Masculinity is a force that emanates from the male soul with a burning desire to create, to make an impact, to be a masterful part of the greater world. Masculinity is an act of will. It originates within the mind and manifests through our deliberate choices and actions. Like any force, masculinity can be used to benefit oneself, others and society as a whole, or it can be used to damage others and damage society.”

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On Being a Man – Step 1

I have been fascinated by the concepts of masculinity and manhood, probably because I’ve felt lacking in those traits.  I’ve struggled with being a man for a long time, because nobody ever taught me how to be one.  That’s unsurprising, since American society has stopped valuing manhood and masculinity, and in some cases actually denigrate […]

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Life Lessons from TV Comedy

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net One of the most important life lessons I learned came from watching sitcoms on television.  Surprising, right?  Who would believe that TV comedy can teach anything, other than how to write unoriginal, formulaic stories around forgettable characters?  Well, it can, but you need to add an ounce of thought from […]

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Speech: Dancing Your Way to Success

I’ve spent a couple weeks doing the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest circuit.  First the club level, then the area level and finally the division level, where I placed third with this speech.  Admittedly, that’s not much of a circuit, especially when you consider there is only one higher level anyway. The purpose of speech was […]

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Thoughts: Dedication and Purpose

The other day I was discussing with friends the topic of purpose.  “How do I find my life’s purpose?” was posed as the question that day.  One person responded, “What would you sacrifice your life for?  That’s your purpose.”  I thought about that, and it didn’t seem quite right for me.  Sacrificing your life is […]

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Thoughts: Death by A Thousand Cuts

At our recent Toastmasters Leadership Institute, also known simply as officer training, we discussed some of the reasons people leave Toastmasters.  Although the numbers vary from survey to survey, about 70 percent leave because they don’t feel their needs are being met or the club is indifferent to their needs.  About 10 to 20 percent find […]

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Speech: Telepathy in Modern Society

My latest speech (March, 2012) follows the theme of mental programs I started with Buttons.   Once again, this a topic that cannot be adequately addressed in 8-10 minutes, the recommended time for an after dinner talk (The Entertaining Speaker, project 5). In this speech I reference an editorial from Toastmaster magazine, in which the […]

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Speech: Buttons

Toastmasters projects limit most speeches to 5-7 minutes. This limit provides an opportunity to practice oratory under a time constraint, and gives more opportunities for speeches at any given meeting.  The major disadvantage is that it fails to provide enough time to explore a topic in depth.  This is my most recent speech of February 2012, and […]

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Speech Video: Not Self

Here’s a speech I did as a test speaker for an evaluation contest back in the fall of 2010. I discuss Steve Andreas’ concept of Not Self, in which a person defines his or her self concept in terms of things he or she is not, and how it applied to me. I later took […]

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