For this Toastmasters speech, I needed to inspire my audience.
Do you feel like me? My To Do list is going full tilt every minute, every hour, every day, every week. At the end of the day, I often regret that I didn’t get more done.
That’s why everyone must add one more thing to their To Do list. It will help you with the rest of your list. I learned it from a puppy — a terrier-labrador mix — who’s shaped like a football.
Every night, after dinner, I put my dogs out to do their business.
Last summer, however, no matter how many times I entreated Ms. Puppy to come back in, she wouldn’t. She was too busy chasing rats!
Our little back yard features fruit trees, thanks to my husband’s vow that we should be able to eat whatever we grow. The fig has been especially generous. Despite dogs knocking it down multiple times when it was new, every year it is abundant.
This year it put out much fruit, yet we ate nothing. Rats ate everything!
Ms. Puppy delighted in chasing them up the tree so that she could stand on her hind legs and bark at them. Surely those rats mocked her from the branches, their smiles full of figs.
Nonetheless, Ms. Puppy was having fun — and so were the rats!
I was having no fun. Rats were demolishing my fruit, Ms. Puppy was refusing to come indoors and cease her barking.
The way her eyes and the corners of her mouth tilted up showed that she was clearly having a blast. She was laughing at me, at the rats, at the sheer joy of playing.
She would barrel toward me, all 70 pounds of her. Last second, she would swerve. I would veer. I wanted to tear my hair out. We needed to go to bed, and the neighbors needed quiet.
Then I realized the problem. Her entire short To Do list, unlike my mile-long one, features only one entry: HAVE FUN.
I tried to make my proposition look fun. We chased each other, dodging back and forth, both of us laughing! The more nights we enjoyed ourselves, the evenings she came into the house cooperatively.
Lesson learned: When I have fun, the process, my interactions, and the outcome go better. The more I dread doing something, the more I must figure out where the fun lies. That way, if things don’t go as planned, at least I enjoyed myself. More often than not, if I have fun, things will turn out better than I expected.