This I Believe

Danielle - Elgin, South Carolina
Entered on September 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Mediocrity defines the twenty first century. Today, most young men desire to be a professional basketball player and most girls wish to be a model, leaving our society without diversity. Why should we be terrified to be someone different and achieve greatness? Nothing can distinguish you from the crowd if you are not a leader. Martin Luther King Jr. had an affirmative voice, which shook anyone who heard his thought-provoking words. Eleanor Roosevelt possessed a magnanimous heart that touched the lives of so many Americans. These two celebrated legends still inspire millions of people because of the mark they left on society. Their deeds not only identify them but also set a boundary that the coming generations should strive for and, in turn, seek to surpass. Now that I have begun a journey into womanhood, I am confident in the mark I am leaving in my community. Through determination, discipline, and dedication, anyone is able to execute whatever goal he or she sets for himself or herself. These three traits have allowed me to find my true identity, and held back the pressures of conformity which society places upon most teenagers. I am not apprehensive about being different or directing my future because of the solid foundation these three traits have supplied.

Determination is the process of acquiring the appetite to do whatever your mind is set to attain and gives one the strength to obtain any goal despite everyday adversity.

In a broader sense, courage is determination and contributes the confidence you need in order to believe in your own abilities, and continuously allows anyone to reach new heights in their life. Because I never forsake my goals, I have acquired a high GPA, have received a first place honor in a state track and field meet, and have accepted recognition for outstanding volunteerism. However, determination does not determine whether you will run into conflicts. My junior year course works proved to be burdensome do to the expectations increasing along with the rigor. Year-end exams culminated into the most stressful time for students who were eager to succeed in the classroom. Pressure began to build in my chest in anticipation of the possibility of not doing well. Having a Chemistry, Spanish, and Calculus final in two days, how was I was going to come through? However, even though I had doubts, I understood that I had to commit to studying no matter what the outcome may bring. I came to realize that there would always be the possibility of a minor setback in life. Instead of allowing these setbacks to handicap our lives, we should embrace them and learn how to overcome them. Determination encourages us to be prepared for the struggles that may lie ahead, and increases the speed at which we run to victory.

Success involves nothing more than being prepared in a given situation. Being prepared comes from being disciplined. Growing up as a little girl, I always saw my mother iron my clothes. One day I decided to do the ironing myself. After burning my hand, I quickly learned why my mother never wanted me to try. Similarly, when a person is burned, from setbacks in life, it is an experience that helps in the development of discipline. There is nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as the person is willing to fight in order to get back in the game. Discipline helps individuals focus on important goals for success, like the athlete who has his or her heart set on winning a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, or the lawyer who is handling a major case that can change his career. There are many people who would question why they do not settle for less and be content with what they have already achieved. For me, settling is not an option. Successful individuals work hard and tirelessly in order to achieve their dreams. And of course, discipline is their key to success.

Finally, dedication is a work ethic that many people fail to grasp when it should be the drive for being persistent. Long ago, my grandfather quit his job as a field hand and began to work for himself. Although he could not read or write, he was dedicated to provide a decent life for his wife and seven sons. As the story unfolds, he saved enough money to send all of his sons to college and watched them grow into successful young businessmen. However, it was not education or wealth that allowed my grandfather to become successful. His dedication to his family is what kept his drive going. The lesson I learned, from my grandfather, is that dedication never fails because it gives you the fortitude to advance in life.

Determination, discipline, and dedication all combine to make the perfect formula for success. Determination allows me to pick a desired goal, discipline gives me the strength in overcoming setbacks, and dedication ensures my future successes. Through the years, I have become more independent and accomplished dreams that I could never imagine. In turn, all Americans would benefit by being informed of these three traits. Doing this would seal the fate of America, and our leaders of tomorrow would be equipped with the necessary tools to ensure their triumph.