This I Believe

Nick - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 28, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Many people seem to be content with riding on the coattails or otherwise leeching off of other’s hard work. However, when required to do something on their own, they create something truly lackluster and hardly worth even mentioning. Leaning too much on others will only make one weaker. Those who choose to forge their own paths, to break away from the masses, and to do something unique – something that they can call their own – are those who will find successful lives. I believe that individuality is the most important trait a person can possess.

For me, being individualistic does not mean that I completely ignore or refuse others’ help; it simply means that I wish to experience the many mysteries of life through my own work. It also means that I strive to find new and unique solutions to problems; I look for ways to express my own ideas, as opposed to simply rehashing an old one. This drive to follow my own path has greatly influenced my short life. Most teenagers are forced to get a job by their parents for an array of reasons – a need for an extra curricular, a desperate desire for some extra cash, an overabundance of free time et al. Thus, all of my friends decided to work at the local swim club over the summer. My natural inclination was, of course, to go over and join in the merriment and (rather meager) money-making with them. However, I ultimately decided that I could do something much more interesting, constructive and lucrative with my time. Somehow, I managed to convince my parents that I could make a greater sum of money than my friends by selling items on the internet. The end result is now, about two years later, I make seven hundred dollars or more per month, every month of the year. Not only did my choice to “split from the pack” result in an increase in my disposable income, but my business experiences will be invaluable down the road. Having no one to rely on but myself and having no one there to assist me when I mess up has proved to be the greatest teacher of all. The knowledge I’ve gained from my internet exploits has been immeasurably more helpful than spending my summer lounging around the pool.

Following other people and making decisions based upon their actions is just too much of a gamble. While it is true that I can learn a great many things from others, relying on their rhetoric and subsequently mimicking their every move would have severely hampered my opportunities and future success. Afterall, if this is my life, then why should I try to live the life of someone else? That is why I believe that individualism, above all else, is the most vital characteristic for people to embrace.