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In order to kill time, post more and improve as an individual- I have decided to do an exercise. Every now and then, I’ll answer a few questions posted in the exercise section of this book that I am reading – The Art of Public Speaking. 

I’ll remove one or two questions, depending on my convenience. 

What is the cause of self-consciousness?

Personally, whenever I speak something lame or inappropriate, I punish myself by being silent. It seems better than speaking scrambled sentences or appearing like a salivating wolf.

“It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” 
― Maurice Switzer

What is your observation regarding self-consciousness in children?

Children are very uninhibited in their dealings. Yet, whenever they go to a new place or setting- they feel very uncomfortable. Still, it is very difficult to say as all children are different, and some express themselves well, while others remain in their world.

Why are you free from it under the stress of unusual excitement?

Whenever I enjoy myself, I am not self conscious at all. My excitement could arise from receiving respect (both from within and from others) or simply a few pegs of good rum and good company.

How does moderate excitement affect you?

It gives a pring to my step, a song to my lips and a general feeling that things are going to turn out well.

What are the two fundamental requisites for the acquiring of self-confidence? Which is the more important?

In my opinion, two prerequisites are superiority and speaking skills. Superiority is more important to me because I have never felt awkward or self conscious speaking to an autowallah or a street vendor. It has always been someone of a higher or an equal stature.

Good speaking skills is equally important, as someone who communicates well gains the respect of the listener and that makes you respect yourself too.

What effect does confidence on the part of the speaker have on the audience?

One of the best speeches I had heard was by a female Bharat Natyam dancer from China. His story was so compelling and it was evident he wanted to inspire others. And, why not! To be a success in a field doomed so unsuitable for you gives you confidence. And, the audience can see that the person is speaking from his heart. (Read: Seeing and Winning)

Write out a two-minute speech on “Confidence and Cowardice”.

Dear readers of this humble blog,

If I speak about confidence, it would be a disservice to the word. But, if I have to speak about Confidence and Cowardice, I might just make some sense.

Heaven knows, like a coward I have left many things unsaid. What harm could have come out of saying them. Nothing much, but maybe- just maybe- something good might have happened. My career, my romantic life, and maybe even my health has suffered the brunt of this cowardice. If people in the audience feel the same, please raise your hands so that I don’t feel alone.

(I see raised hands. This is my blog.)

So today- On this platform- We make a pledge! A pledge to root out our cowardness, like a surgeon pulls out a bullet out of a wounded leg. A pledge to forget all the poor things we might have done, like an adult forgets half the things he learnt at school. A pledge to shower ourself with confidence, as if it was like the water running from our taps.

And this is not a pledge we make today, we will make it whenever we feel self-conscious. I’ll end this speech with a few lines of a poem called Speak by Faiz Ahmed Faiz,

Speak, this brief hour is long enough
Before the death of body and tongue: 
Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet, 
Speak, speak, whatever you must speak.

If you have anything to add on the topic, or want me to discuss a point I made in more detail- please feel free to use the comments section. For similar posts on the blog, you could read:

Image source: Confidence