I am not a failure. Most people would not believe that a sixteen-year-old understands the meaning of hard work, but I disagree. From an early age, certain beliefs were engraved in me; dedication, perseverance, and a hard work ethic became a distinct part of my existence. Even though I have yet to experience many of life’s pleasures or disappointments, I feel like I can overcome anything if I keep one idea in sight: Hard work conquers all.
After World War II, my grandfather’s family sent my grandfather to Taiwan by himself. My grandfather, a young boy at the time, was an immigrant from China looking for new opportunities and was forced to work for his survival. Seventy years later, my grandfather is a financially stable mahjong champion living in the nice part of Los Angeles.
This anecdote is often told to us grandchildren to prove a point: My grandfather survived because he worked hard. Before I began attending school, my parents warned me about the consequences of laziness. By being lazy, I was only hurting myself; life offers too many disappointments for me to be contributing to the load.
As I grew older, the pressure of working hard started to pull me under. With a more and more competitive world, I began to wonder if it would ever be possible for me to succeed. Armed with this realization, I returned with a vigorous dedication, thrusting myself back onto the stage. I am not a failure. Life is a challenge; this is the way it will always be, and we must all learn to accept it.
Hard work takes time and effort, but it really does seem worth it in the long run. Everything my peers and I do now is in preparation for the future. Hard work is the force that drives us. And after years of application, I have come to strongly believe in this statement. I do not challenge myself without expecting to work to my greatest potential.
I find myself lost in a sea of dedication; I am sinking, weighed down by resolve, late nights, and busy weekends. Sometimes, I want to pause the whole world. I am not a failure. My mantra forces me to look around and ask myself what I have done with my life. While I am still so young, I see that my efforts have gone to a good cause; my energy has not been wasted.
Challenges will come and go, but hard work lasts forever. It is the driving force of eternal life. However much time and effort it takes to get what anyone desires, the final product is well worth the trouble. Forget about the bloodshot eyes, the sore muscles from falling asleep on desks, and the constant lethargy, but remember the glory that is reached through hard work.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.