You’re about to enter a room full of strangers, where you will have exactly four minutes to tell a story that would convey who you really are. What’s your story?
I wipe my palms nervously on the front of my trouser legs waiting for the introduction. Rehearsing in my head, I run through my speech.
Hi kids! Thanks for coming in today to listen to me. Ben and the other organizers here have generously allotted me four minutes to tell you a story. They want me to convey to you who I really am. They invited me here only this morning so, I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare. I thought hard about what to say. What kind of story or anecdote could I relate?
I could talk about being an old man, or a father, a grandfather or a husband. I could pretend to be wise, but that’s not who I really am. These things are mere facets of me. Despite the depth of these roles, if I define myself through these things you would be presented with only a one dimensional caricature.
I could tell you about being a sailor, a technician, or an engineer, or a writer/painter/sculptor. A wielder of tools. Same problem. And, besides that – I prefer not to be defined by what I do. These are things I do, they are not who I am.
I could speak about the games I enjoy, wars, or the births of my children. I could enumerate my mistakes. I could relate my philosophies, ideas, beliefs, and tenets. But I wouldn’t tell you everything. I couldn’t. You probably wouldn’t want to know anyway.
In the end, I figured out that I have been given an impossible task. The best I would ever be able to do is convey who I want you to think I am, at this very moment. That’s probably not who I really am either, so, I’m gonna open the floor up for questions. We’ve got about two and a half minutes left in my time allotment.
I’ll start, “Can someone bring me a glass of water? This is where the scary part begins.”