When I was a senior in high school, I was asked to speak to a group of high-achieving junior high school students who were participants in the CTY program of Johns Hopkins University. As per my usual with respect to public speaking, I did a lot of thinking and not a lot of writing. In fact, I still hadn’t settled upon my speaking topic when I showed up at the auditorium. I remember sitting at the table with the 3 other students who were slated to speak and feeling irresponsible, since I was still bullet pointing my speech out.
However, as I watched each of them nervously fret over their neatly-typed, single-spaced speeches and mouth the words to themselves with their last few prep minutes, I discovered that I knew what I really wanted to talk about: seeking risk and failure in your life.
I’ve often looked back on that speech because I was proud that I took the opportunity to use that moment to speak about what I actually believed. The idea that we don’t take enough risks is something I think about a lot and Morgan Spurlock artfully talked about it at TED this past March much more eloquently than I did back when I was 18. Check it out: