This I Believe

Conor - Park Ridge, Illinois
Entered on December 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Car trips are rough. Anyone who has ever been on one can tell you that. Looking back as a 15 year old, I can see how much I hated those trips. Now I can also see how much it can teach me. For instance, the thing that will make or break a car trip, however, is attitude. I believe a positive attitude is imperative in life. Car trips were a regular event as a young kid. I spent hour after hour in the car, sandwiched between two screaming, crying, annoying little brothers. Yes, they might be family, but even family can make you insane in the car. Those car rides may have been hell on earth but I learned a few lessons that, no matter what the situation, would pull me though.

Lesson one: A positive attitude is contagious.

In those long hours of nothing but crops swaying in the breeze and factory smoke stacks billowing their smog and belching fire along the roads, I learned how to control the situation without a lot of effort. If I stayed positive, my brothers stayed positive, which made my parents calmer, and the car ride a whole lot more tolerable. This goes for almost anything in life. If you keep a positive attitude, it catches on, on those around you make life a whole lot more tolerable.

Lesson Two: A positive attitude seems to mysteriously change situations for the better.

My father called it karma, my mom, God’s blessing. Whether we were stranded with a flat tire in a ditch in the middle of Ireland’s countryside, or lost on our way to New Jersey at three in the morning, whenever we stayed positive, the world seemed to work for us. It doesn’t matter if you’re lost on the interstate or on your own path in life, a positive attitude will find a way to make things better.

Lesson Three: No matter how far you fall, a positive attitude will always pick you up.

While riding in that car hour after hour, I came to one truth about my young life, whether I knew it or not. Thinking back on those extremely dull trips, I learned a lot about life and people, even if I was too young to understand. I saw how far a positive attitude can take you. It doesn’t matter if you call it karma, God, destiny, or just coincidence. The effect of a positive attitude, even if it is nothing more than a smile to a stranger, goes a heck of a long way. This I believe.