This I Believe

Thomas - Woodbury, Connecticut
Entered on June 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Competition. Effort. To you, they may be nothing but two mere words with little meaning, but to me, they define my life, they define my personality, and who I am. Up until recently, I have been nothing but a ‘cruiser,’ just coasting my way through life, with little effort and exertion. Recently though, my outlook has changed monumentally. It’s as if a new person has been awoken inside of me. I have realized that success cannot be achieved without work, and that life cannot be lived with the cruise control flipped on. I believe our success is measured not only by what we have achieved, but also on our effort put forth. Our desire for recognition, success, and victory is what makes us human, and it can only be furthered by the trials and challenges we surmount on our journey we call ‘life.’

I was recently coerced by my father into one of the hardest hurdles that had ever stood before me. Not more than just half a year ago, I was not-so-willingly convinced by my dad to apply to some of the toughest prep-schools in the nation. I spent hours upon hours locked away in my room, pouring over SSAT books, online courses, and writing numerous essays. Through denying myself the pleasures of joining my friends outside in the beautiful September weather, I gave myself ample opportunity to focus all my knowledge and ability into my essays and applications. I am glad to say that my hard work paid off and I was one of the few 100 applicants selected to attend one of the country’s most prestigious schools. The feeling of knowing that out of 1,400 some-odd applicants, you are one of the rare and driven few to be successful in your attempt is rewarding beyond all description. The feeling of major success far overshadows the meager sacrifices given to achieve that light at the end of the tunnel. It was this one glimpse at the world of opportunities and glory that comes with reaching your goals that awoke the new me, the real me.

Competition is what keeps me alive. It is my lifeblood. The thrill of being on top, being the best that you can be to all capacities, is the only thing that breaks the dull monotony of life. Furthering yourself to be the best not only brings out the strongest in you, but in others as well, for your success gives them the motivation to thrive, and to better themselves so they too can experience the pure enthralling sensation of victory.

Some may call me egocentric, but I feel that our lives are judged on our successes and our failures. Our power to give forth effort and never back down, no matter how painful the sacrifice, no matter how bleak the odds, is what marks our success. Trying your hardest to always succeed and be the best in all that you do is how our lives should be lived. Competition and effort are what define us as a society and a human being. This I believe.