This I Believe

Jeffrey - Winfield, Illinois
Entered on December 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe you can always fail.

When I started to ride a bike, I fell, and almost every time. I got cut, scratched and banged up all over. I know I cried; I gave up at points and went inside to nurse my wounds. I called my bike stupid or used other childish remarks to show my frustration. I bet I even contemplated giving up, and accepting failure.

I could have sat inside, giving up my chance of glory and the good feeling of accomplishment. Sitting, either reading or playing with action figures, I would have found peace and solace. I would not have worried about what could have been. I would have looked on the world, confident in my decision.

When I grew up, I would have had to watch my friends ride their bikes. They could go from house to house in no time and ride the Prairie Path to Dairy Queen. They might have tried to have me join them:

“Come on Jeff, I’ve got a spare bike you can use!”

“No thanks, I’ll run with you guys,” or, “I’ll wait for my mom to drive me,” or even, “I don’t feel like it,” I would have responded.

I would sulk in my younger years, losing friends and upsetting my parents. At some point my parents would snap and tell me:

“You know Jeff, you had a chance to be like the rest of your friends and you chose not to; find your own way around.”

Once I became older and got a car, if I got one, I would be a normal teen. But the damage would be done and I could never fix that because I chose to accept failure.

When I started to ride a bike, I fell, and almost every time. But I got back on the bike. I chose to ignore the thoughts of failure in my mind and strove to succeed. I fell many more times, hurt myself more, and cried some more. Then the time came when I climbed on the bike and felt comfortable. My feet settled on the pedals and I propelled myself down the driveway. Taking off down the road, I felt powerful, like nothing in the world could stop me. I went down the block with my father cheering me on the whole way. I came back with a smile, and promptly fell over the moment I stopped.

I got back on the bike. I put failure aside and succeeded because I wanted to. Sure, other people can urge you to do something and finish what you started, but only you can make yourself follow through. Failure is always an option when doing anything; it is our choice to fail or succeed, we just have to live with the consequences of our actions. This I believe.