This I Believe

Benjamin - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

A Frightening Percentage

One hundred is perhaps the most frightening of all the percents. To me, that number signifies the ultimate commitment; it signifies a connection to something so strong, that there is no room for anything else. One hundred percent means that I am supposed to utilize every ounce of my being in whatever task or activity is taking place. One hundred percent means that I will undoubtedly be left in pain and nearly dead. This is why I believe that the one hundredth percent should never ever be utilized.

On a literal level, giving one hundred percent for anything is impossible. It has been proven that the average human being can only consciously use ten percent of their brain power. The other ninety percent is left for mandatory things like keeping one’s heart beating and other bodily functions. Thus, if one was to really break that barrier and commit one hundred percent of themselves to an activity, one would die.

But that is not possible. What is possible, and happens every day all around the world, is people pushing themselves further and further because of encouragement. At this point in time, simply settling for the mediocre is so looked down upon that it is nearly impossible to do.

Am I the only one who remembers their parents saying to them, “Just give it your best and no one can be disappointed in you?” As soon as we engage in activity, we are pushed to perfection. Why must that be so? Would it not be more reasonable to say, “Just try as much as you feel you can and no one will be disappointed in you?” Certainly it’s more long winded, but isn’t it worth it in order not to scar impressionable children?

And I know that there are many of you out there right now listening to me and thinking, “Why…this is simply an excuse for being lazy.” This is the perfect proof that excellence really is demanded. Think about it, is requesting a rest really such a sin? Of course not, but this is how we think today.

I never learned to work harder. It was never taught to me. There never seemed to be any need to do so. No one cared about me working harder; people cared about me working hardest. As a result, I give everything I am to all the things I do. Shouldn’t I have gone crazy by now? No, for I have found a temporary cure. Don’t do many things.

Even this is “put down” by others. Even now I am being accused of not trying my hardest. It is my belief that unless I learn to settle and work within the grays in life, instead of purely in black and white, zero and one hundred. This “try your hardest” attitude that was taught to me will destroy me. Perfection is not expected, the pursuit of perfection is. And I would advise people to be aware of this, and cut each other some slack.