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by lohas_k
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Theme of speech: My definition of happiness

Do you love your life?

Hi, I'm Kumiko Tanaka and I'm here to talk about happiness-what it means
to me and my thoughts on the secret of a happy life.

We live in Japan, one of the richest and safest countries in the world.
But did you know that Japan also has one of the world's highest suicide rates?

According to a report released by the National Police Agency, in the past 13 years
since 1998, an annual average of over 30,000 people died of suicide in Japan.
This exceeds the number of people who died or are missing because of the
devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 by almost 10,000,
and the year-to-date total of suicides for this year from January through
September remains at a high level of over 23,000.

While tens of thousands of precious lives were lost in an unavoidable natural
disaster in one day, an average of over 80 people are taking their own lives
every day.

Life is not all roses. Life is not easy. We have all heard these famous expressions.
I believe most of us here today have learned through some personal experiences
that they are very true. Life is not a succession of happy events; pain and struggle
are part of it, too. But life can also be beautiful if we try to look at it that way.

Now, what is happiness? Generally speaking, we feel happy when our needs
are met. But, I'm talking about a deeper level of happiness that is not affected by
what we own or what circumstances we are in.

I'll tell you my definition of happiness: To me, happiness is how I feel when I love
my life. It is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I may not always
get what I want, but I'll still be okay.

Does this way of thinking sound natural to you? If so, you are a happy person.
As for myself, I was never able to look at my life this way until I had the worst
and saddest experience of my life.

Three years ago my dearest sister passed away and my life has never been
the same since then. Looking at how she coped with her terminal illness taught me
a lot about what it takes to be happy. She was always known for her beautiful smile
and caring spirit and she stayed that way until the day she passed.

Now I know that being happy takes the determination to accept whatever happens
in life, good or bad, and move on. After all, none of us is free from unwanted events
in life but we always have a choice.

Unhappy people have trouble accepting the reality of life and choose to dwell
in the world of negative thoughts. Happy people, on the other hand, try not to
spend too much time thinking about what they don't like about their lives and
are quick in shifting their focus on positive things of their lives.
They are forgiving, tolerant, and focused on living their lives as they are,
rather than comparing them against an ideal world where failures and
disappointments do not exist.

Let's face it: the journey of life is not a picnic on a sunny day.
Happiness lies in the unconditional acceptance of the difficulties in our lives
as part of life, and in the determination to find happiness no matter what.

Life is short and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. But we can choose to stay
happy every day until that very last moment.

As I said earlier, happiness, to me, is how I feel when I love my life.
And my ultimate goal in life is to have a smile on my face at the very end,
thinking “my life was good” and “I had fun living it.”

Thank you.

By Kumiko Tanaka (Nov. 19, 2011)


For Speech Contest for Adults in Yamanashi, 2011
Hosted by: Yamanashi Gakuin Shougai Gakushu Center
(Yamanashi Gakuin Center of University Lifelong Learning Activities )
by lohas_k | 2011-11-19 20:32 | 伝わる英語のコツ