This I Believe

Ge - Marietta, Guam
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

For the past seven years, I have played the piano. For the past seven years, I have also excelled at the annual piano exam at my music academy. Before each piano performance, I rehearse each of my selected pieces to near perfection. Two weeks ago, I took the piano exam for the eighth time. I nearly failed.

As I look in retrospect, I ask myself, “Why did I play so poorly?” Not knowing what would happen during my examination, I neglected practice beforehand, treating it as something insignificant. My incompetence had been my foil. Now, after seven years of achieving merit on the exam, I have fallen for the first time. Through this, I have learned that all events are linked in a chain of cause and effect.

From my experience, I believe that the modern world is a web of interactions—dynamic and intricate. Every day, mundane events are determined by a myriad of underlying causes—no matter how colossal or miniscule. Such determining factors can spur many outcomes—whether positive or negative.

A few days ago, I watched a program on TV recounting the recent London bus bombings. Over fifty passengers were killed, while many others were injured. I stared aghast at the shattered windows and the bright red, crumpled frame of the bus. Morosely, I realized how the actions of one man—one being in billions—could leave such devastating repercussions throughout the world.

The events of the past are engrained in time. No matter how dire the events were or what actions we take now, the past has already occurred and will forever remain immutable. In contrast with the past, the future is uncertain. Like music played by an incompetent pianist, the future appears to be unpredictable; it stumbles haphazardly, disharmonizes, and veers off course. Slight problems with finger positioning and hand posture accumulate, contributing further to the noise. Similarly, the minute problems in our society—ones we may not yet have discerned—can cascade into much heavier consequences.

Actions and reactions dictate our world. Our future is bound to our past. Although we cannot predict tomorrow, we can take control and conduct our futures onto the right path. I firmly believe that through our actions today, we can better our future. I trust that through preparation and discretion, we can create a brighter, more harmonious tomorrow.