Since I was a young boy, my parents have reinforced an attitude of perseverance, patience and hard work in me. In time I have come to understand their teachings and in doing so I have been able to derive one main teaching: If I work hard and apply myself, I can do anything. My parents have shown me many of the pathways of life, both good and bad, and it is because of their insight that I have grown into who I am today.
Junior year, supposedly the hardest year of school in a student’s life, was a breeze for me. While everyone gave up, slacked off and skated through school, I was at home working as hard as I could so I could excel. By the end of junior year, I was burnt out, but the reward was definitely worth the self-sacrifice of friends, family, fun and my entire social life. Thanks to my efforts, I had pulled off a 4.2 GPA both semesters.
Growing up in a home with many problems of its own, I was torn in many directions with what was right and wrong, good or bad. Alcohol abuse, heightened emotions and stress, and flowing testosterone were all too apparent in our everyday lives. To combat all the immoral behavior in my life, I chose to pick up sports and excel in school, which helped to take my mind off of all the erroneous behavior that was occurring day in and day out.
Through all the pain and emotional baggage that I carried, I used my talents to persevere and shine through the darkness that enveloped my life. It was during those times that the best part of me stepped forward and my commitment to everything I started was never hindered. Every task or problem that I was provided with was conquered with ease and my liking of working hard in tough situations turned into a passion.
Although the pain and emotional distress that I persevered through over the years was hurtful and detrimental to my character, in a way it made me who I am. My passion for both sports and excelling in school drove my life. I can only fantasize about the way my life may have turned up if I hadn’t been committed to so many activities. It would be safe for me to say that if I had continued living my life the way I was, I may be dead. I am living proof that if people work hard and apply themselves to what they love to do, they can do absolutely anything they want. This, I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.