People are surprised to discover that I've been an active member of a Toastmasters club (Plantation Toastmasters) for over a quarter of a century. Their initial exclamation of "Wow!" is frequently followed by a simple question — "Why?"
It's a good question. For one thing, I can't really think of a better use of my time than spending 2 hours at a PTM meeting every week for the past 28 years. Each Toasties meeting is an investment in myself, and so I figure I've improved my communication and leadership skills for over 2,800 hours! That's a good investment.
But there's more. I also regard my Toasties activities as community service. Over the years, I figure I've helped several hundred adults (and several dozen kids through TM's Youth Leadership Programs) to gain more confidence in themselves, and to improve their communication and leadership skills. I like helping people — especially when they're committed to helping themselves. And again, that's 2,800 hours that I've spent making the world a little bit better. Not a bad use of my time.
But mostly, it's a habit. When you think about it, a great deal of our lives are controlled by our habits... both good and bad. I'll admit, I've got my share of bad habits, but I think that spending 2 hours every week at my Toastmasters meeting — helping other people while I practice my own self-development — is one of the best habits I could have. And it's a habit I hope to continue with for at least another 1,000 hours or so.