If I could make one change in the world, what would it be?
That was the question Lance Miller asked himself in preparation for the 2005 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. The answer came to him after recalling an event that forever changed his life… He realized that if we just took the time to validate each other, by looking for what is right rather than for what is wrong, then the world would be a much better place.
His winning speech, entitled “Do You Validate?”, focused on the importance of validating others. He believes that you become important by making people feel good about themselves… you become important to the people you validate.
Check out his speech below:
The Ultimate Question!
That question that has plagued man since the dawn of time.
That question that each and every one of us must ask at some point in our life.
Do you Validate?
I was 26 years old, I was living in a small town in Indiana,
I had a job I didn’t like,
I hadn’t a date in 3 years,
And I had a couple of roommates named – Mom & Dad!
I felt like my life was going nowhere – So I took control, I left my home and my family and moved to Los Angeles and started over!
I was dating a girlfriend… who trying to make me “better” by pointing out all my faults.
And I had a couple of roommates that made Dumb and Dumber look like Einstein and Oppenhiemer.
I had changed everything in my life – but nothing had changed.
I still felt like I was going now where.
Then one day after a business meeting, all I wanted to do was get my parking validated.
I went over the receptionist and said, “Excuse me, do you validate”
She looked up and said “Well, yes I do, you have a lovely smile.’
Showing her the ticket I said, “I was just in a meeting with your boss, do you validate?”
And she said “Well then let me compliment you on what a fine choice of business associates you have.”
I said – “You have such a keen sense of humor, I am going to go tell your boss how lucky he is to have you out here.”
She said, “Give me that that ticket!”
She took her machine and went “Chi chink”. (Gesture of stamping the ticket)
And then as she handed the ticket back she said “There is something special about you.”
I took the ticket and headed for the elevator, but then I stopped and turned around and just said “Thank you.”
I don’t how long it had been since I felt validated. Her words stayed with me all the way home. And as I was looking at my life, I started to wonder how long it had been since I validated somebody else.
I wanted to do that! I wanted to make people feel good. But I felt that I needed to be important, I needed to be successful, so that when I said something to them it would mean something.
But that receptionist had just made my day. Heck, she made my month!
With one little, “Chi chink”, she stamped my ticket. And I thought – “I can do that!”
So I went home to see Dumb and Dumber. These guys were constantly bringing people back to our apartment.
It was driving me nuts! But I went in and I said, “You make friends faster than anyone I know, and that is a gift.” To see their faces….I swear they got smarter right before my eyes! – “Chi chink”
I went to see my girlfriend – and I thanked her for caring enough about me to want to see me be as good as I could be. You know what? She got nicer! “Chi chink”
I went to work and I thanked my boss for hiring me. He had done me a favor, and I started enjoying my work a lot more. “Chi chink”
I used to think that I had to be important before I could validate other people. I used to look at people as obstacles to my success.
But what I discovered was that I became important when I validated someone. I became important to that person and that person.
People were the pathway to my success.
I started trying to find something I could stamp on everybody I met, that little piece of goodness, that little piece of rightness – Just a little “Chachink.”
I started to feel like a SUPER HERO – Underneath this mild mannered exterior was a blue and red spandex suit with a giant V on the chest – YES! I was the VALIDATOR!
When things would get tense, they’d tighten up, I’d come in – – “Chi chink” “Chi chink” “Chi chink” – I had plenty of ink!
I’d hear people say, “Who was that man?”…“I don’t know, But I heard this ‘Chi chink’ and I suddenly I feel so much better now!”
Then I figured it out –
Do you know what is wrong with world?
Do you know what is wrong with me?
Do you know what is wrong with you?
The question is, what is right with the world?
What is right with me?
What is right with you?
The common denominator of all humanity is that we are Human. We are by nature imperfect. It takes no special talent to find an imperfection in another person.
But every person goes through life wanting to be RIGHT, wanting to be VALUABLE.
I started to discover in my life that I got what I validated. I found out that I brought out the goodness, the value others by validating that.
We have a lot of problems in this world. But I have learned that there is not a problem that exists between a parent and child, between a husband and wife, between a worker and his employer or between races, cultures or nations, that does not stem directly from an inability or an unwillingness to validate the rightness, the value and goodness in another.
This is the Ultimate Question – Do Your Validate?
But this is not what is important.
What’s important is:
Can you – Chi – (Chink)
Can you – Chi – (Chink)
Can you – Chi – (Chink)
Oh! And one more thing – You’ve been a Wonderful Audience! “Chi chink”