The Difference Between Manoj Vasudevan's Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking Speech in 2015 and His Winning Speech in 2017

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I was 24 years old living in India. I had a nice job, nice car, nice hair. Still no girlfriend like Neha. Every relationship started with great expectations and ended in great depression. Have you had problems in your relationships? How did you fix it? Contest Chair, ladies and gentlemen: When I was 24, I was still waiting for Cupid to shoot the arrow and find me the perfect partner. Guess what? It seems Cupid doesn't live in India. So I went to the one woman I trust: my mama. There she was, sitting on the floor doing yoga. “Mama I want a wife!” She said: “No problem. We can fix it.” Ladies and gentlemen, did you hear what my mama said? She said we can fix it. That's right. My mother was offering to find a bride for me. She immediately picked up the phone started calling all her friends looking for potential brides. Soon arrangements were made for my meeting with the first prospect. There she was. Wow! She looked like a movie star from Bollywood. She looked at me like I was George Clooney. Didn't they say I have nice hair? I imagined spending the rest of my life holding her hand listening to music and doing hot yoga. Cupid has shot the arrow and we fell in love. Four weeks later on July the 4th, we got married. On America's Independence Day, I lost my independence. Only after our marriage I realized she was only smart. She was also very hot-tempered. Just like me. We had problems. She liked outdoors, I liked indoors. She loved swimming, I feared drowning. She liked cooking, I like to tell her how I missed my mama's cooking. We had problems of the problems. I used logic, I used emotion, I even showed her a role-model. Why can't you just be perfect like me? Within six months we grew apart. There was no holding of hands. No music. No yoga. Looking for solutions, I read the top 20 books on relationships. Guess what? They don't work. Then I asked my friend Jay. He just had his divorce. Jay said, “Man, life is short. Don’t suffer, separate.” “No Jay, I just want to fix it.” “Exactly! My lawyer will fix it.” I called my mama. Guess what she said? We can fix it! Next day she spoke to both of us. Here is what she said, “You will never find a partner who is 100 percent perfect. It doesn't matter whether you pick your partner or someone else fix for you. Most people think that they fall in love because of Cupid's arrow, but in reality what keeps you in love is Cupid's bow and string. You see the bow and the string have a great partnership: The more the string pulls back, the more the bow bends. Ego is what pulls the string; still the mighty bow bends because it cares for the partner. If she pulls you bent. If you pull she bends. If both of you decide to pull less and bend more, the partnership survives. That's the only way you can fix any relationship.” When I look back to my strained relationships and lost friendships, I understood Mama's wisdom. The core problem was my unwillingness to bend more, to adjust, to attempt to accept, to pull less. Since that day I changed my ways. When she wanted to go out I joined her. When she wanted to swim I joined her at the shallow end. When I became nice she became nicer. Soon, she started cooking better than Mama. Last month my wife Sindhu and I celebrated our anniversary for the 17th time with our two children. Yes, that's the same wife. My dear friends, what do you think? Are we now perfect partners? No. Do we still fight? Yes. The difference is that now even when we fight, we are still holding hands. My dear friends, if you have any problem in any relationship try to pull less and Bend more. If you do I'm sure we can fix it.I was 24 years old. I had a nice job, nice car, nice hair. Still my girlfriends didn't stay for long. Have you ever had problems in your relationships with others? What was wrong with them? Contest Chair, ladies and gentlemen: When I was 24, I was living in India. I was still waiting for Cupid to shoot his arrow and find me the perfect partner. Guess what? It seems Cupid doesn't live in India. So I went to another angel who had all the answers: my mama. “Mama, I can't find good girls. How will I ever marry?” She said: “No problem. We can fix it.” My mama offered to introduce me to some good girls. Nice mama! Soon arrangements were made for my meeting with the first prospect, Sindhu. There she was. Wow! In a beautiful blue dress, she looked like a star from Bollywood. She looked at me like I was George Clooney. Cupid shot his arrow and we fell in love. Do you remember a time when you got into a new relationship? What were you expecting? I imagined spending the rest of my life holding her hand listening to music and doing hot yoga. A few weeks later on the 4th of July we got married. On America's Independence Day, I lost my independence. We sailed through our honeymoon but then differences started to emerge: She liked the outdoors, I liked indoors. She loved swimming, I feared drowning. She liked cooking, I liked to tell her how I missed my mama's cooking. Hey, I didn't want to follow her ways and she wasn't willing to change. We argued over big things, over small things, even for nothing. I used logic, I used emotion, I even showed her a role-model. Darling why can't you just be perfect like me? Within six months we grew apart. Under one roof, we were two people living in solitude—no holding hands, no music, only silence. Looking for solutions I asked my friend Jay. He just had his divorce. He was the expert. Jay said, “Man, life is short. Don’t suffer, separate.” “No Jay, I just want to fix it.” “Exactly! My lawyer will fix it.” I called my mama. The next day she spoke to both Sindhu and me. She said, “You will never find a partner who is 100 percent perfect. You fall in love because of Cupid's arrow, but what keeps you in love is Cupid's bow. You see the bow and its string have a great partnership: The more the string pulls back, the more the bow bends. Ego is what pulls the string; still the mighty bow bends because it cares for the partner. When she pulls you bend, when you pull she bends. If you pull too hard, your relationship will break. If you want to fix it, both of you need to pull less and bend more. Pull less and bend more.” Have you seen anyone who pulls too hard? Have you pulled too hard? Since then, during arguments I became more flexible. When Sindhu wanted to go out, I joined her. When she wanted to swim, I joined her at the shallow end. When I became nice, she became nicer. Soon she started cooking better than Mama. In my search for the perfect partner I discovered that perfect partners are those who keep perfecting their partnerships by choosing to pull less and bend more. You can see problems in any relationship: within families, between friends, between colleagues, between races, cultures, nations. Today it seems like the world is breaking apart, doesn't it? Still when you look at this room you see people from 142 different nations sitting together, shoulder to shoulder, and getting along fine. How is that possible? Toastmasters, you are proof that no matter what our differences, by choosing to pull less and bend more we can stay together. Last month my wife and I celebrated our 19th anniversary. Yes that's the same wife. Do you think we still argue? Yes but now even when we argue we are still holding hands. My mama is no more with us but her words still rings in our ears: pull less and bend more. Pull less and bend more.
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