This I Believe

Kylie - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports, work

It all started during the car ride to swim team on a bright October day this year. That was when the event that changed my attitude occurred. I had a premonition that the practice that day was going to be an easy one, since the week had been hard, so my coach wouldn’t drill us again. When I got there, everyone was excited and jumpy; and it ended up being a challenge set, number 15 to be exact, so it was supposed to be hard, but it would be the easiest one we’ve ever had.

After we swam a bit, we realized the idea of an easy practice was about to be totally wrong. My coach told us we were doing 40×100’s of freestyle, on a really hard interval. We all started whining and complaining about the length and how that couldn’t be the easiest challenge set all year! No way! But we couldn’t do anything about it, so we just whined to each other and began to swim them.

The first ten didn’t seem so bad. I felt like they were manageable, and all I had left were 30 more! But I started to open my ears, and I heard everyone else’s opinions… things like “oh this is terrible” and “I can’t do this anymore”. The second I heard those, I thought about their ideas and realized that I was tired and thought of the idea of 30 more. Having all those negative thoughts run through my head didn’t help me at all. Their negativity was rubbing off, and I was picking it up. I ended up missing a few of the 100’s, as did everyone else, and our coach was so mad that she made us all stop at 20.

“I know you can all do this, and you do too. YEA, it’s going to hurt, but if you keep saying such negative things, you’ll never get through it!”, And she sure was telling the truth. That’s when I realized, and everyone else did too, that the idea of a hard set blocked us from pushing through the pain and overcoming our fears. If we had only been more positive and taken the lighter outlook on the situation, we could have finished them all. All our complaining and whining did nothing to make the set better, but only made it even worse.

So she decided to make us redo the set everyday until we made ALL of them, without a bit of complaining. She even wrote up a list of 101 positives we had to say throughout the set to get us into the right mind. And once we looked at that list, and laughed the whole time, negativity and pain were so much easier to fight against. We made nearly all of the hundreds, which was twice as many as we made the last time!

Besides the idea of not taking easy things for granted, the best part of this experience was the way it changed my outlook on other problems as well. Whenever I am faced with a tough practice or test at school, I use optimism to make the hardships a lot less troublesome. And the method works, nearly every time. So I believe, very strongly, that anything can be achieved if you go at it with the right attitude. People say attitude is everything, and I believe they have their ideas exactly right.