Pavel - Elmhurst, Illinois
Entered on March 16, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30


I believe that happiness is not dependant upon circumstances. I think that optimism, despite adversity is a necessary skill to thrive in life. Many things will happen and not all of them great, but if you keep your perspective positive, then you will be able to make the most of it. Life is not always good. People die, jobs are lost, and relationships fail. Don’t let this affect you. The most successful people are those who met with failure, but never let it get to them.

Thomas Edison said that he didn’t fail to invent the light bulb; he just found 10,000 ways that wouldn’t work. He kept it positive, he didn’t let failure get to him. Then he succeeded.

I myself had to spend four years and hundreds of dollars working on a hovercraft that ultimately did not work, however I did gain valuable experience and proceeded to build a motorcycle that did work. And the road to my success was not easy. I had molten steel poured on me, many cuts and scrapes; I even accidentally ingested some chemicals. But I never allowed this to become stressful. I just kept going one day at a time, with a smile on my face.

This was not the extent of my hardships. When my family and I moved to Chicago for the first time from the Czech Republic, I didn’t know the language. I couldn’t talk to anyone but my parents for a whole year. But then I learned English, and everything turned out alright. Shortly after this my parents got divorced and we moved fifteen times during all the turmoil. At the time all of this seemed extremely stressful and I was unhappy. But that’s ok, because I can look back at it and be thankful because it made me into the person that I am. It made me stronger and more resilient to adversity and ready to take on the challenges of life. It made be into a believer in optimism. Now I understand that nothing needs to happen in order for a person to be happy. All you need is a choice; the choice to see things without judgment and without aversion. To choose to not let circumstances affect you. To choose to smile and be happy no matter what. Learning to not let failure affect you is not easy, but that attitude is what makes life worth living.