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Question: If You Could Change One Thing…

3 Dec

The Question

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be (and why)?

There are two major variations on this question:

(The magical version)
If a genie granted you one wish, to change anything about yourself, what would it be?

and

(The self-improvement version)
What aspect of yourself would you like to change, and how are you doing that?

What They Are Really Asking

In both cases, the underlying goal of the question is for the contestant to identify and admit to his or her own limitations.  Part of this is self-awareness and part of it is humility — both desirable traits in a good titleholder.

In the first case, the judge is asking for something that you don’t have (much) control over.  What they would often like here is not only an awareness of these issues, but how you currently work around them as an active leatherperson.

In the second case, the judge wants to know that you have the will to try to improve yourself, that you not only know of your limits but that you strive to overcome them.

What to Avoid Answering

There is a tendency to respond “I wouldn’t change a thing, I’m happy with how I am.”  While the latter part of that is a good sentiment, the answer overall is either a dodge or a lie.  You do have limitations.  There are things you would like to change.  By answering this way, you are saying either that you do not self-analyze or that you are unwilling to share of yourself.

A dodge for the “magical” version is to try and pass the wish on to someone else, especially the leather community.  This is a version of the “World Peace” answer from  Miss Congeniality.  If the judge wanted you to wish away a community problem, that is what he or she would have asked.

Beyond that:

    • Remember that this is a leather contest, so make sure your answer has some obvious leather connections.
    • Even if it is not explicitly included, there is an “and why?” component to the question.  Don’t forget to put your answer in context.
    • Avoid trite, throw-off answers like “A couple million dollars would be nice.”  That doesn’t reveal anything about yourself.
    • While the judge wants to know that you have limitations, he or she doesn’t want all the details.  Keep your answer short and avoid any nasty medical bits.
    • For the “magical” version of the question, don’t give an answer of something that you could solve without the magic, such as weight or skills issues.  That would tell the judge that this is something you are not willing to work on yourself, hoping for a magical fix instead.
    • For the self-improvement version, phrase your answer in the present tense, ar at least with a near future goal.  If you say “I would do this…”, then the judge is encouraged to think “Then why don’t you?”
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