I have to write a personal essay on a pivotal moment in my life that changed my outlook. I have chosen public speaking.
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one" -Elbert Hubbard. Everybody has things they fear in life. A study in 2013 found that peoples top fears were losing family members, followed by being buried alive, with speaking in public being rated the third worst fear. And incredibly, death came in fourth. Is public speaking really that feared that we spend more times worrying over public speaking then dieing?
Let me tell you how it started for me. I was sitting in class when i heard "OK Katie you're up next to present". The second the teacher said those words, my heart started to beat so hard I thought I was going to die. I was nervous, but it was my first time doing a presentation in front of people, so I just brushed it off. I started to speak and it was going well. I wasn't going to win presenter of the year but I was managing to get the words out and that was all I cared about. That was until a girl down the back of the class decided to shout "speak up" in an attempt to embarrass me in front of everyone, and it worked. Regardless of the deep breaths and efforts I made to calm myself down I got more nervous with each second. As I began to speak again, I stuttered and my voice was shaking as if i had a gun pointed at me. Public speaking had gotten to me, and I didn't know how to defeat it.
For the lucky few, public speaking comes naturally. The ease of speaking in front of large crowds makes it seem as if they were born with it. Whereas for the majority of people, it doesn't come that easily. It is crazy to think that people fear speaking in front of other people. My fear was irrational but it started to engulf me, affecting my everyday life. I carried around the embarrassment of the day with me and every time I needed to speak in front of people even a small group, my mind would remind me of what happened on that day.
Then came a day when I had to face my dreaded fear. I was given a school assignment where I had to deliver a speech in front of my peers and it would account to half my grade. There was no backing out. I was once again sitting in that classroom, feeling just as nervous as I was the first time around. I glanced around at everyone else in the room and thats when I realised a lot of people were nervous too. I could see nail biters, people nervously reciting their speech under their breath and I even caught the eye of another person looking just as scared as me. The basis of my fear was being judged and in that moment I realised that no one was going to judge me if I stuttered or my voice shook while I was giving the speech, because they were just as scared. As soon as I realised this, a wave of relief washed over me. And in that moment I faced my fear. I walked up to the top of the class and delivered my speech with confidence.
This experience has helped mould me into the person I am today. If something goes badly the first time around, I just get back up on the horse. "The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one" -Elbert Hubbard. Nothing is perfect the first time around and you always learn from failure.
Let me tell you how it started for me.