Girish Joshi

What can one do?

4 min read
I wrote this speech for Professional Communication coursework during freshmen year of my college in 2015. I'll add the review my professor gave me for this speech later.

But what can one person do? Something that I’m tired of hearing since childhood. You know some individuals fascinate me so much by the way the touch and influence our lives. The way they mould the world we live in. How do they do it? I have read quite a few biographies and what I could infer from them is. It was never about talent they had, there are a whole lot of talented people in this world. A lot of prodigies out there. You don’t always hear about them changing the world. It was never about the hard-work that they did. I meet a hardworking guy every ones in a while and they don’t always change the world. It was also not about the money or resources they had. But then what is it all about. I concluded that it was all about the choices they made, the decisions they take. You might not believe me. How can some choices or decisions change the world? Bhagat Singh could on one hand chosen to enjoy his youth, to have romances or on other hand he could give his life for his country. He chose to be what he is, a legend. And you have just two simple, or maybe not so simple set of choices. And these choices defines who we are and what we can do? These choices differ amazing individuals from mere civilian. We can choose to be what we want to be. So answer to your question what can one do is that he can make some choices.

One can choose to be a leader or a mere follower. Being a leader doesn’t necessarily intend joining politics or talking popular positions. All it requires is courage. For me leader is someone who can bring change first in himself and then society. Leader initiate things. He takes responsibilities. He stands against wrong. And sometimes he can start a revolution. On a cold day one woman refused to give up her seat on the bus in Alabama. The Civil Rights movement began. She was Rosa Parks. She was a leader. You find something going wrong. You take a step and try to stop it. You are a leader. And if you just pass by you are a follower. I’m not saying that you should stop following, following helps you learn, it inspires you when done in a right way but don’t get stagnant. Don’t end up being a part of herd.

Second choice is to choose to invent or to blame. What’s this (showing a bottle)? Sounds nonsense, I know. Who made this? Do you know back then when mankind resided in caves it was very difficult for them to get water out of river and take it back home. Then someone made a container out of leaves but it wasn’t durable. Someone else noticed that if you put wet soil under sunshine it becomes clay. And then someone else made a pot from that clay. But that wasn’t durable too. Then someone else invented plastic, someone else thought that a water container can be made out of plastic. Someone else gave it a shape. Someone else made it transparent, someone else gave it a cap, someone else made the treads for the cap and someone else just made a factory to manufacture bottles in that thousands of people are working just to make bottles. For thousands of years, millions of people are working so that we can quench our thirst where ever we go. Maybe we don’t acknowledge but there work is still here long after they are gone. And this is just a bottle, look around you, you are sitting in a museum of human work history. This fan and this air conditioner, someone was feeling hot. These people could have just blamed their tools, people, time or god and would have carried away with their life. But they choose not to and that made them great. They chose to find solutions. All your prized possessions, your achievements and glory will be buried along with you. Only your work will live on.

So you have these 2 simple choices to make, simple but requires courage and efforts. And if you chose to lead or invent or both you are no more a mere civilian. You are doing your bit. It doesn’t really matter whether you succeed or fail in your efforts. All it counts is have you done your bit? Let me end it with a short story. A terrible fire had broken out in the forest. All the animals were running away, including the lion, king of the forest. Suddenly, the lion saw a tiny bird rushing towards the fire. He asked the bird, “what are you doing?” To the lion’s surprise, the bird replied: “I am on my way to extinguish the fire.” He laughed and said, “how can you kill the fire with just one drop of water, in your beak?” The bird was adamant, and said, “But I am doing my bit.

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