A Little Determination Goes A Long Way

Mark - San Diego, California
Entered on October 31, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again”? Well, I have and while it used to annoy me, I have found it to be very true. This is probably one of the most useful things to learn as a kid because it will apply often while growing up and aid in learning as you get older. Some things are very difficult the first time you try them, but often they become easier with time. I believe that trying your best and not giving up is the easiest way to learn any new skill. The mind set of determination can improve your abilities in almost any area, including school, work and recreational activities.

I first picked up this determination as a kid while performing tasks at home and at school. Most likely it came from doing home improvement projects with my dad, as those rarely went as planed. We always ran into some unexpected problem and had to devise a way to get around or through it, in order to finish our project. Depending on if we needed to go back to the hardware store or begin our project in another location, we always learned from our mistakes and were better prepared the next time we needed to complete a similar project. Additionally while in grade school, I was not the best student and often had to spend a great deal of time on my homework. As the years have passed, homework has become easier and faster in many aspects for me. I now complete my work sooner than I had in grade school or high school and no longer need to stay up late to get it done. After years of learning how to perform school projects I have developed the skills to finish them much faster and with better quality than when I first began doing them. These experiences helped me to develop the ideology to not give up when learning new tasks.

When beginning a new job, it is often difficult to properly perform tasks on your first day, but within a week it becomes much easier. I have had several jobs in the food industry and they have not been very easy on the first day. Often I have felt out of place and confused with what I am supposed to do, but that quickly changes. For instance, the first time I made a pizza four years it probably took me ten minutes and it didn’t come out looking like a standard, round, neat looking pizza. In contrast, if I were to make a pizza today it would probably only take me a minute or two and would come out looking delicious. This doesn’t only apply to work related tasks, but is also true for almost anything you do.

Just the other day, I tried mountain biking for the first time, and it was a lot tougher than I had anticipated. The first rocky incline we reached actually proved to be too difficult for us and we had to resort to walking a short distance. This is not the best way to begin a ride or a new activity. But, we did not let that get in our way, and continued up the hill. After an hour or so, I got the hang of keeping my balance and maintaining the climb while on the rocky trails. I was doing much better climbing up the hills than the first one we had attempted. By the time we made our way back to the car, we were not nearly as fatigued as we had anticipated after the first hill, and actually were almost ready to go for another ride. By not quitting on that first hill, I was able to learn from my mistakes and make improvements over our trip. At the end of the day, it was much easier to perform the same task as which I had failed earlier, simply because I had completed it a few times that day.

Over the years, I have been interested in many different things, and those that I try hard on get better much faster than those which I just try and not repeat. The usual case, however, is that I need to repeat inconvenient tasks time and time again, without them getting easier. In comparison, the tasks which I perform to the best of my abilities, even if they aren’t fun, get better over time. After looking at this pattern over the years, I have seen that there is no reason to do a poor job at something. If you need to take the time to do it in the first place, then work hard on it and do your best. If you don’t try hard, you won’t learn as fast, and the next time you need to do the same thing, it will be more difficult and less enjoyable than if you had learned a bit more the first time around.