Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lead the Way

So I was going through old paperwork and found an old speech I wrote my senior year of high school. I was a last minute entry when I was asked 3 days before a speech competition to be a representative for my school. The theme was Lead the Way and I was awarded second place (the guy who won beat me by 3 points out of 300. bitter much? yes, I am a tad lol) It was great experience anyway and I still can't believe I wrote this at 17! Here's the speech I made for the competition. Enjoy :)

Leadership is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, inspire confidence, and enable others to work effectively in order to succeed. This skill can be shown in many aspects of life, in the Concert Master of a Symphony, the Quarterback of a football team, a Coach and his players or an older sister with her younger sibling. Each has their own characteristic of a leader. They guide others, excel in skill, take initiative, keep their goals clear, stay a team player, and listen and understand their colleagues.

They are optimistic,
they are inspirational, they are self-aware
and acknowledge their ability to lead.

As a cheerleader, our jobs are in our name. Our first job is obvious; we cheer. We are that bridge connecting the crowd and the athletes. We give our team moral support; showing them that through wins and losses, we're always here for them. We go out there to lead the crowd keeping them pumped up and thrilled for the game. Our excitement gives the athletes an exhilaration keeping them in high spirits and ready to win. Our duties, however, do not end at the buzzer like the game does, but continue off the field. We have a second job. We are Leaders, in all aspects of student life. We keep spirit alive on campus. We are representatives of our school; Role models to others. We keep our standards high and won't settle for anything less. We excel in the classroom and continue to improve our athleticism. But most importantly, we carry respect for ourselves and others and lead with a positive example.

Lewis H. Lapham said
"Leadership consists not in degrees of technique, but in traits of character.

It requires moral rather than athletic and intellectual effort".

Though more respect is received when someone excels in skill, to be a true leader is to be an all-around example. A great leader himself, Martin Luther King Jr. said

"The Ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands

in moments of comfort and convenience,

but where he stands at the times of challenge and controversy".

Leadership is an art, a belief, and a state of the heart and mind. A leader is only as good as the standards he sets for himself so he must not only know what is right, but DO what is right. Those who choose to follow do not just listen to what their leader says but actively watch each step he takes.

According to Eleanor Roosevelt, "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the right thing you think you cannot do". Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. That is when a leader must make a choice in their actions and take responsibility for them. Whether the outcome is positive or negative, it is still a lesson to be learned from, which will make the leader stronger at the end of the day.

When I walk around school and look at every student, I don't just see some other teenager but rather the potential each one embraces. I see tomorrow's leaders. I see the future of America and the world. I have no doubt that today's youth will, in the future, be creating policy worldwide, discovering new cures, achieving great things and setting standards for the rest of the world to follow. Although the right thing is not always done and some problems seem irremediable, nothing will change until we face them.

In the words of Gandhi
"We must become the change we want to see".
With vision, we have the ability to make our mark; to end all differences, making the world safe from discrimination and open to diversity.

We are the connection between the current state of the world

and its future, optimal state.

Our actions will inspire others to learn more, dream more, and become more.

We will inspire confidence. As leaders, we will not follow the road with everyone else, but diverge and create our own path. We will not put a limit on what we can accomplish. With our motivation, actions, and leadership, we will rally together under a common purpose; to carry out our vision. We will lead the way and the echoes we leave behind will be truly endless.

I was pretty wise then if I do say so myself :]


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