This I Believe

Sean - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 28, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: work
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Recently during a conversation with a friend, the topic of discussion became “What are you afraid of?” I thought long and hard. I am not afraid of animals. Nor am I afraid of the dark. What I am afraid of is complacency. I’m afraid of being satisfied. In my mind, being satisfied is the equivalent to giving up or quitting. I feel that my overall goal should be so lofty that it continues to push me out of my comfort zone throughout my life. One accomplishment does not define one’s life. I believe that success is a constant, continual process, not a single moment in time.

I first realized my belief while playing a football game during 9th grade. I had just made a big play for my team, and I was probably more proud of myself than my mom was, which was tough competition. I looked up to my uncle and mouthed, “Did you see that?” He confirmed that he had, without much emotion, and the game continued. I continued to play the game with that play still on my mind. A few moments later I made a mistake which resulted in a significant gain for the opposing team. This time when I looked up to my uncle, he was the one who was smiling. He yelled down to me, “You’re only as good as your last play!” This quote has guided me ever since. I let one triumphant moment in my life give me a big head. While my ego swelled, my performance suffered. I had become complacent. Being happy with where I was prevented me from taking a step further and continuing to improve and do well.

After the game, I began to use my newly founded belief throughout all aspects of my life. I realized that one accomplishment in life doesn’t make you successful. It is the idea of stringing together as many accomplishments as you can that will lead to success. It didn’t take long for me to understand that this could be applied not only to sports but also to school, to work, to hobbies, and to social life. It is important to see improvement, but it is more important to use that as motivation to continue to get better and accomplish more each day. I fear the idea of being a “one hit wonder’ or a “has been.” To prevent that, I remind myself to believe that I can always do better. There is always something to improve.

This idea has made me worker harder in all aspects of my life. Through my hard work I have seen many changes in myself. Besides achieving better results in school and sports, I have also seen my work ethic and attitude improve as well. The idea of success being a long term process has pushed me to work harder and establish higher, loftier goals for me to work toward. It has allowed me to improve daily and has resulted in me becoming a better person.