Toastmasters Speech – Life 101



Have you ever lay quietly in bed, wondering about the meaning of life?




Have you ever sat with a friend, over a glass of red, debating what THIS is all about?



Have you ever stood at the grave side of a good friend or family member, and lamented – indeed shouted at the sky – WHY, WHY, WHY???



Long Pause. YES, me too…


Madam Contest Master, judges, evaluators and fellow toastmasters



I stand before you tonight

Not as an expert, not as a teacher, not even as an authority

But as a philosopher, a searcher

Someone who has pondered and researched this topic for decades

And tonight, I offer NOT Empirical Answers

But merely the findings of MY personal journey.

And the best way to share this journey is to take you upon one.



Let me start by asking each one of you some deep questions:

{Please answer them silently to yourself as we only have 5 – 7 minutes}


In your opinion What is the meaning of life?

Why are we on earth?

What is it actually all about?


To me its about Growth

  • Personal growth
  • Spiritual growth
  • Soul unfoldment
  • Indeed Maslow’s highest level of self actualization


I find it most interesting that scientists claim that the universe has continued to expand since the big bang.

Even the universe is growing!!



“PGGGGGGGGG – exploding”


I am going to show you this on a graph and the good news is that you are going to assist me with this.


Please visualize a graph with me.

This is the x axis

This is the Y axis


This axis is Time and this axis is Growth.


Now draw a line from the bottom left origin with a slight gradient upwards (like 3 gradient on the treadmill at Virgin Active for the last 5 of your 20 minutes)


That’s IT!!! Slow but steady growth!!!

If you believe in re-incarnation, draw some lifetimes


Now, stay with me here.

Do you agree that life has ups and downs?

Have you experienced times of bliss and times of hardship?

Do you agree that there are times when you are happy and sad?

Sick and healthy? Sometime you are brilliant and other this may I say it “stupid”


Let me give you an example.

Joining toastmaster was one of the cleverest things I have done recently

And using that example was clever too…………..

(of course, my wife thinks it’s marrying her)


On the other hand I remember a time when I was sitting in my car, chatting to someone thru the window while closing it as I was in a huge hurry.

I actually jammed my head in the window!!!




Awlrighty then… Moving swiftly along…

 So the expanded concept is that life is a series of ups and downs over time bringing slow but steady growth!


NOW. Tell me. When do we grow the most?

During the easy/good times?

Or through the tough /challenging times?


That is right. We grow through the tough times.



Therefore we could say that the meaning of life is in fact the tough times forcing us to grow over time…..





As we expand the model one step further,

Is it not also true, that every cloud has a silver lining?

I have researched this over and over again and I am now 100% certain that

Every benefit has a drawback and every drawback has a benefit.

That in fact your blessing is also a curse.

And your curse your blessing.


Ask the rhino which his horn is!!!!

A blessing or a curse…….


Did you know that most lotto winners are bankrupt after 7 years?

That most popstars cannot pop down to the café for fresh cream for the Irish Coffees?

That most billionaires fear kidnapping of their kids?

There is indeed a price to pay for the reality of every fantasy.


And on the other side,

How many people do you know who have been retrenched or divorced only to be infinitely happier just 2 years later?


I have a friend who genuinely states that she has been BLESSED with cancer There are countless blessings in knowing you are dying.


I have another friend who divorced his wife for being unfaithful, which cleared the way for him to find his soul mate.


Isaak Newton expressed it in 1642 when he stated his 3rd law of motion, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”


Would you all then at least consider that the meaning of life

Is to experience slow but steady, BALANCED support and challenge over time, which together bring us the experiences we require to grow??????


Dr Demartini, a famous human behavior expert jokes that he wants to write a book titled, “I gave up trying to be happy, because it made me so sad”


You see, if you have a goal to be happy all the time, every time you are sad you are failing.

If you have a goal to be positive all the time , every time a negative thought creeps in , you are failing.


I believe it’s wiser to have a goal to understand human nature.

To realize that there will be challenge and support.

That you will be positive and negative, happy and sad.

And then just love and accept yourself for who you are right now.

That way when you are happy, you are fulfilled

And when you are sad, you are also fulfilled

Because you understand that both emotions are normal and beneficial




I have to conclude the following:

That the universe is in order.

That our souls entered a human earthly fetus and was born into a beautiful physical body to the perfect family in the perfect country.


That our paths will take each of us upon a totally unique course, best suited to bring us the greatest amount of learning in one very short lifetime.


Although I do not know quite how the ups and downs will occur in my life. Or where life will take me.

I do know that I am supremely prepared for anything that life brings me.

And that it will take me exactly where I am meant to go.


Madam Contest Master



About Stephen van Basten - The Marriage Expert

When you meet Stephen van Basten you instantly realize that there is more to him than meets the eye. This is not a moment to judge a book by its cover. Stephen boasts a list of achievements: He met his wife, Jacqui, 27 years ago, married her 21 years ago and is the proud father of a 'very together' 18 year old daughter. Stephen will immediately tell you with a twinkle in his eye, that Life, Work, Marriage and Parenthood are not for sissies. That while they are all hard work, they can be, and should be, incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Stephen is a past Karate World Champion, a yoga enthusiast and recovering golfer. If you opened Trip Advisor on his facebook page you will see that he has visited 81 cities in 52 countries including the USA, Alaska, Japan, Europe, Australia and China. Stephen has owned his own company, worked in his family's business, being employed by small and large businesses like Shell SA and the BTG Group. His titles include Brand Manager, Sales Manager, Account Manager, Sales Representative and Business Owner. He now sees himself as an Author, Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Stephen published his first book, "So you're engaged, now what? The journey from engaged to married" in December 2013. His ingenious marketing strategy put this book into over 2000 hands in its first 6 months. His second book "So you're alive, now what? The journey from birth to death" is available online and he is working on 5 more books in the series including "So you're married, now what?". Stephen's obvious passion and first love is Human Behavior and specifically Human Behavior as it manifests in RELATIONSHIPS. He is quick to point out that we have many differing relationships: employer, employees, customers, suppliers, colleagues, friendships, marriage, parents, siblings, children, our maker, other drivers on the roads and we generally have issues in most if not all of them. Stephen is a student of the well-known human behavior specialist, Dr. John Demartini and is constantly researching and honing his understanding of this incredibly complex subject. In 2013 he completed over 175 hours of intense training on T. Harv Eker's signature courses.
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