This I Believe

John - Santa Maria, California
Entered on July 3, 2007

I believe in the power of a positive attitude.

I was 17. I graduated high school and worked as an intern for a local television production company. The production company was working on a large production for a local nonprofit organization at the time. One of the down sides to pulling off such a large production for a nonprofit organization was that the equipment we needed had to be donated. Asking local equipment rental businesses to donate the equipment necessary to accomplish our goal was something a kid just out of high school isn’t usually familiar with. A close friend of my boss was in town helping with the production. His name was Jeremy. Not only was Jeremy an actor, but he was a general ‘jack of all trades’ as well. I was sent out with Jeremy to garner the support of local businesses and gather everything we needed. In this time driving around the Central Coast with Jeremy, I learned that he was also a United States Marine Corps reservist. He had served time in Somalia in an active duty status before joining the reserves and knew a great deal about what the Marine Corps had to offer. Something that he did had a much greater impact on me than what he said. When we would approach the owner of a local business he had a level of confidence that I had rarely seen before. It was a deep-rooted self confidence that I knew I needed in my life. My personal life outside of work wasn’t moving in a positive direction. My relationship with my parents and other members of my immediate family was degrading on a daily basis. I was unhappy with life and I made sure everyone around me knew it. I wasn’t sure what I wanted or where I was going. I needed direction. After the production was finished Jeremy and I parted ways. I moved on to another job and was just treading water in life. I had a severe case of teen angst. My parents kicked me out of the house because of my attitude. I moved down to Long Beach with a friend and began working various minimum wage jobs. I knew this wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I still remembered how much self confidence Jeremy had when dealing with stingy local business owners and convincing them to give us the equipment needed to finish our job. I knew that I needed to join the Marine Corps. My family was shocked. Not a single person in my group of family and friends had expected me to make this decision. Because of this decision I was able to travel the world and see places I would have never been to otherwise. I have been instilled with a sense of discipline and self respect that I so desperately needed ten years ago. I now use my Montgomery G.I. Bill funding to attend school full time and am closer to a college degree than I had ever imagined. I have achieved all of these things in my life because of the positive attitude of a single Marine.