I believe hard work does lead to good things. The result is not always a material possession or success, but sometimes just true satisfaction, contentment. One of my favorite quotes comes from a book I once read: “Sometimes it ain’t about what you accomplish, but the satisfaction from the fact that you accomplished it.”
I know that I personally feel a lot better when I work to achieve something than when I half-heartedly get something done or when I get something because of someone else’s generosity. I feel that I truly earned it because of what I did, rather than because of somebody else. I get the confidence that I can succeed, and when I close my eyes at night, I know that I am truly a winner. No what-ifs.
This past year I turned 15, and for my birthday I received $100 in gift cards from my friends, so of course I was excited, but there was nothing, no meaning to the money. A birthday is nothing special. In February, I competed in a science fair. I had worked on my project for over a month, and put lots of time and effort into it. After a long day of presenting to judges, I was awarded 2nd place in Physics. The following week, I qualified to participate in a math competition that is district-wide. I worked hard in it, and my team got 3rd place. Later in the day, I was awarded $30 for science fair, and $20 for the math competition. I was elated, not because of the money, but because I felt like I had worked hard to achieve something. I am proud of my accomplishment. The $50 means much, much more to me than my birthday money.
A less direct example of this had to do with my playing basketball. I used to attend a small school, where I played on the basketball team. There weren’t many people and not much competition, so I was probably the best player there. I was able to keep my starting spot without having to give 100% in practice or work that hard. Against weak competition, I ended up scoring more than 10 points a game, and was the MVP. This year, I moved to a high school with more than 2500 students, and there were only 12 spots on the basketball team. This year I had to work hard everyday just to make the team. I did make the team, but my work wasn’t over then. I only got maybe 3 to 4 minutes of playing time a game; however, throughout the season, I constantly worked to improve, and my coach noticed. Nearing the end of the season, my playing time significantly improved. I realized that even though I played a smaller role, this year was much more important to me.
When I look back at these events, I see that working hard was vastly greater for me, and for my character.
This, I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.