Last night, my wife, two daughters and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Somehow, none of us had seen it before and it was great to have a family night at the movies in our own home. I enjoyed the film much more than I thought I would.
The unique storyline is wonderful and the performances of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are terrific. But what I liked most is that the movie is very thought-provoking. It moves you to contemplate life, death and your place on this earth between the two. It makes you think about, and perhaps appreciate a bit more, the people who, in some way or another, have entered your life or crossed your path.
There is one scene in particular that I found very moving. In it, Pitt’s daughter (now an adult) discovers a letter from her father, Benjamin Button, in which he tries to give her some advice about how to live her life. Here it is:
That scene speaks to me on a number of levels. And as I was trying to come up with an appropriate New Year’s Eve message for readers of this blog on public speaking, I realized that it also echoes my wish for you and your public speaking in the year to come.
What I hope
- It’s never too late to be the kind of speaker that you want to be. There’s no time limit; you can start whenever you want.
- You can change or stay the same. It’s up to you.
- You can make the best or the worst of each speaking opportunity. I hope you make the best of it.
- I hope you say things that startle your audience. In a constructive way.
- I hope that your speeches and presentations make you and your audiences feel things you never felt before. (Again, in a good way!)
- I hope that you meet people with a different point of view. I hope that you learn how to handle disagreement on your feet in a respectful but firm manner. I hope you learn something from those with a different point of view.
- I hope that you give speeches and presentations of which you are proud. And if you’re not, I hope that you have the strength to figure out where you went wrong and to do better the next time.
My sincere wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Productive New Year.