I once believed in a hard work ethic, stubborn determination, and that a near impossible goal, is the best goal. I worshipped those principles; they were what I lived my life by. As a result I wasted the first twelve years of my existence, years I will never reclaim.
I stumbled through a monotone life, day after countless day. Once when I was 11 years of age, my teacher handed back a math exam. On the top of mine was 65% in bright red ink. At that moment I was filled with nothingness, a void, a lack of almost all feeling. My body turned into a desert for a split second, I saw nothing, heard nothing, save for the word failure running through my mind constantly. How could I have lost? Everything less than a hundred percent was not good enough. I could only remember my failures, I was carrying a pile of bricks on my back, and every new failure added one more brick to the stack. It was only a matter of time until I crumpled under the weight.
My father noticed my displeasure and was disturbed with my life decision. He preached happiness, and at first I thought he was crazy. Whenever he began speaking to me I would simply tune him out, I was set in the ways that so many others had taught me.
As I grew older, the homework load increased and sports became more competitive. Consequently, I became desperate for a way out of the pressure. I started to pay attention to what my father said, but I still had my skepticism. Was it really possible to be happy and fail? The concept was completely alien to me.
My life was growing gloomier by the day and though I maintained a hard outer shell, the inside of me was a battlefield. I yearned for happiness, but it seemed just out of my grasp. I listened to my dad more intently, craving a remedy for my sorrows. What he preached to me seemed vague, and I could not find the exact recipe for happiness in any of his teachings. Then I slowly began to realize that bringing more balance into my life would ultimately increase my satisfaction. I experimented with this theory by trying not to stress over the little mistakes in my life, the dropped catch in sports, or the 88% percent on the test. With this new attitude I began to laugh more fully, and celebrate things I had never even given thought to before. I was finally on the road to being happy.
I realize that determination and a hard work ethic are excellent qualities when there is the right quantity. I recognize that hard goals are the right goals, some of the time. Today I believe that happiness, balance, and satisfaction, are keys to success on any level, whether it is monetary gain, or mental prosperity.
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