Key points:
  • We are all aiming for something in life: we all have key values.
  • Our ideal motivates everything we do and how we do it.
  • We might never have thought about what our ideal may be, but here we have the opportunity and space to do so.
  • We form and change our ideal over time in response to experience.
  1. It’s quite important not to mention God or religion in this talk. Why? Because it gives people a ‘hook to hang’ their thoughts on: if we can say that our ideal is Jesus Christ, then we can stop searching our own souls.
  2. Our ideal is made up of hopes, aspirations and beliefs that come from all sorts of sources. It starts with our parents or carers, and goes on through the people and circumstances we live with. Some of it is deliberate – we think it through and decide to adopt ideas – but much of it is unconscious. It’s mainly the unconscious values we’re trying to tease out here.
  3. There’s a really difficult balance to find between making this talk too theoretical or too personal. We can point to our own ideal, and how it may have changed over the years, but (like the above) we don’t want to plant seeds of ideas that divert the hearer’s thinking. It may help to share your ideas with someone else if you are worried about this balance.
  4. Top tip: ask the hearers to think first about what they think their ideal is, but then mentally to evaluate what takes up most of their time, most of their money, and most of their concern every day. What we think and what we actually live out can be very different.

This first talk sets the scene for those that will follow. It’s unique in that it focuses on the deep core values of the individual within, whereas every talk that follows explores relationships outside of ourselves – with God and others. The best ideal talks really stimulate the hearers to self-examination, but do so in an engaging and personable way. A little wit and humour can lighten the delivery, but we must be careful not to trivialise the message in an attempt to make it more palatable.