This I Believe

Emily - Wynantskill, New York
Entered on November 12, 2006

I believe in marching to your own beat. There has never been a person who follwoed their dreams and achieved success by simply adhering to the norm. In fact, I doubt that it is possible for people to ever truly conform to the basic ideas of society. This idea was also the core belief of many great thinkers, including the author of “Walden”, Henry David Thoreau.

For instance, how many times have we read the newspaper review of a new movie and were informed that the show was awful? If we then let that opinion influence our decision, we are not really choosing what we want, but what someone else has told us. Even in such a small way, by goiing to see the movie because we think it looks good and for no ther reason, is one way to follow our own path.

I can name dozens of examples of people who marched to their own drummer. Where would we be if Albert Einstein had listened to the teachers who told him that he was retarded? What would society be like today is Rosa Parks had gone to the back of the bus? There is no way that life, as we know it, can be shaped without having the courage to be our own person, despite what everyone else deems acceptable.

For me personally, the idea of being true to yourself became cemented in my mind when my grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only six weeks to live. Perhaps, if she had not lived by the belief of marching to your own beat, she would have simply accepted her disease as fate and somberly awaited death. However, my grandmother had tremendous strength of character, which allowed her to believe that giving up was not an option. She went through her treatments and reminded herself everyday that her life could not be determined by the order of a doctor. At her next check-up, the doctor was baffled to find that there was no trace of cancer left in her body. He declared it a medical miracle. My grandmother lived for an astounding six years after the original diagnosis.

Following our own course need not be as grand as becoming the world’s most respected scientist, nor does it need to be a miraculous or society-altering event. By just making choices that are best for us, no matter how minor it may seem, we can be true to ourselves. SOciety tends to bombard us with images of the perfect body, or car, or lifestyle, but that do not know us on a personal level. Only we are able to decide whether or not a decision is right for us.

To be an individual is to be human, We cannot always do what others think is most suitable, and if we did, what a dull life we would lead. Even the humblest case of independent thought is a vast improvement over being told what to do. Rather, imagine a world filled with the sound of different drummers and everyone keeping their own time and marching to their own beat.