This I Believe

Brianna - Bellevue, Washington
Entered on November 2, 2007

The inner being, within the purity of the soul, is a wild compelling force. Human beings are naturally inclined to choose the safest path, where success and survival are nearly guaranteed. Very rarely do we choose to take risks. But with the greatest risks, comes the greatest rewards. And sometimes, taking a chance feels like walking the plank. There little risks though, like sneaking off campus for lunch, or leaving your cell phone and computer at home… on purpose, just to feel free A risk can be very small, such as taking the time to examine and enjoy life, like driving 55 mph, taking a pajama day, or enjoying a cup of tea. We first must seek to understand ourselves, and second, we must seek to become ourselves.

Risk takes practice. Good risks start a chain reaction, and pretty soon, among the wilds of my own soul, I find the passion, love, and will that I was created with, which I both carry within me and strive to achieve. By living freely, I catch a glimpse inside myself. Even if it only lasts a second or two, it keeps me searching for the wild seed inside of me, that kernel of coiled energy and drive. I imagine that every day, I become closer to the goodness within myself. Truly, it is our imagination that drives our goals, and therefore our actions. Within every person is an unfathomably deep spring of capability, passion, and creativity. That which we desire, we can achieve. We can triumph over our faults. But first, we must set out purposefully on the life long journey to find the good within ourselves.

The greatest risk of all is to live wholly and authentically. The secret to life lies in doing what you love. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing”. The truth is, when you find your passion, one’s work is effortless. The biggest risk is to make that blind leap into the uncharted sea of potential.

Most don’t realize the magnitude, or even the presence of the vast capability of passionate life that wells inside them. Three years ago, I did a social experiment. On my way to my grandmother’s house, I walked around the Seattle to Bainbridge ferry interviewing strangers. I asked them what they would do with unlimited funds and a Volkswagen van. Most gave me a funny look and shrugged, but after a second or two, they’d repeat the question, and pause to think for a minute. Then, they’d burst into a smile and, at a thousand miles an hour, riddle off how’d they’d decorate their van. One man said he’d strap a keg on top. Someone suggested a hammock. Another said that he’d lift it and put giant tires and a snowboard rack on it. One woman sitting with her two little girls smiled, and described how she’d glue and paint flowers on it. When given the suggestion, we examine our life and our beliefs; we imagine the potential of a wild dream, and with a spreading grin, imagine life taken into our own hands and explored. Why not live this way? We are most capable of which we most love. Why not strive to achieve happiness in way of life?

About a year later, my grandma died from metastasized brain caner, meaning that the very day I began to explore the beauty of passion, spontaneity, and authenticity, the cancer had already begun. I truly hope that when my life comes to its close, that I will have been hard at work doing that which I discover more every day that I have come to do. Because then, surrounded by friends, I will pass on my ever evolving secret to life. This I believe: in enjoying life and living fully; authentically, and meaningfully.