This I Believe

Dana - Los Angeles, California
Entered on June 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity, work

I have lived a relatively short life, but in my seventeen years of existence I feel that I have come to believe something that many people older than me have yet to realize. A belief so simple that one might ask why even mention it in the first place? But in American society today filled with CEOs filling their pockets and government officials acting in shady ways for individual or political gain, I believe it must be followed. I believe in doing the right thing to obtain a goal.

When I was in the fifth grade, my school basketball team played in the championship game. My coach, in hopes of giving us an edge in the game, played all the good players and barely played anyone else until our victory was secured. His strategy worked — we won the game. But it left many people unhappy, especially those who spent most of the game on the sidelines. My coach was happy because we won, but our victory was tainted. This was an elementary school league where each person plays for fun. When everyone doesn’t play equally, then what’s the point?

Sometimes there is not a clear right or wrong path — or what is right or wrong means something different to different people. When trying to do the right thing, I think about my actions. I think about how my actions will affect others. I think about how others will interpret my actions. I think about how I will view my actions looking back on them later.

Going into eighth grade, my music teacher asked me to re-audition at the end of the summer to confirm I was ready for the top orchestra. Had it not been for my belief, perhaps I might have tried to get into the group without having to play in front of my teacher again. I could have tried to talk my way into the group or simply demanded not to have to re-audition, but that did not feel right. I realized that the re-audition gave me an opportunity to improve my playing, and to grow as a musician. After a summer of hard practicing, my re-audition went quite well. I made it. Just the gratification alone from knowing that my honest, hard work paid off was worth it enough. I had done it right.

Setting goals and reaching new heights are important—but without feeling comfortable with how you obtain these goals, it is not worth it. Do the right thing and it’s hard to go wrong. It may be simple, but this I believe.