This I Believe

Tiancheng (James) - Tracy, California
Entered on January 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

This I believe: Intelligence, Hard-work, and Passion

By Tiancheng Wang

I believe that the synergistic combination of intelligence, hard work, and passion can make everyone a better person.

As a child, I believed intelligence alone could propel me through a life of success. While the other elementary school students buried themselves alive in countless homework assignments, I was conquering enemy civilizations in the “Age of Empires” computer game. But I was no casual gamer. For me, gaming meant being locked in my room for at least five hours each day, my eyes glued to the screen and sweat rolling down my face as my army clashed with a horde of deadly Egyptian chariots. Despite this obsession, I maintained a ‘B’ average in school. However, my parents became intolerant of “mediocrity,” so I decided to diligently prepare for the final exam and see the results. Then came test day. As I settled into my seat, I felt unusually confident; there was no way I would allow any errors. I zipped through the problems, and with a bang of the pencil, I turned in my test fifteen minutes before the next student in the class. The following day, I received a perfect grade. This was the lesson that taught me about the dazzling power of hard work. It was then that I started working to my full potential.

Also, to be successful in a certain area, one must have profound passion for it. My experience in music lessons perfectly exemplifies this phenomenon. One day, my piano teacher Mrs. Hwang assigned me a dull piece by Prokofiev. I am usually quick to pick up on new melodies, but I absolutely hated that piece, and no matter how hard I tried, I just could not perform it. Noticing the problem, Mrs. Hwang assigned me a new piece, the first movement of the ‘Pathetique’ Sonata by Beethoven. At the first sound of the sonata, my body tingled with excitement. The music got faster and faster and louder and louder, and my heart beat faster and louder. Suddenly, I had more energy. I closed my eyes as my soul rejoiced at this outstandingly exhilarating masterpiece. When I came home that day, I made to the piano at the speed of sound and made sound speedily. I struck the keys like a mad virtuoso, and within a few enthusiastic days I had the piece memorized to the last note. Ultimately, it was my intense passion for music that led me to complete the rigorous MTAC Certificate of Merit program.

Now I understand that although raw intelligence is very important, it is far from enough to achieve success. I believe that hard-work is the key to unleashing anyone’s true mental capacity. I believe passion is the principal instigator of success, for it is the only path to great achievement and the realization of the most unthinkable dreams. Finally, I believe that the all-powerful combination of intelligence, hard-work, and passion holds the ultimate power to bring forth the very best manifestation of character in all of mankind.