This I Believe

Jinin - Silver Spring, Maryland
Entered on November 3, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Who do I want to become? Does discovering my abilities define who I am? Or should I search for my character? I used to think that finding my talent or something I was good at would satisfy my desire for becoming someone. I now know I need to discover who I am through developing my personality; nothing else. I believe that developing who I want to be is more important than what I want to be able to do.

There have been many times when I tried to find my talents but they didn’t fulfill my desire to discover who I am. When I was young, I was good in math and I was always in the highest math classes. I thought I was good at math because it came to me so naturally. I believed that through finding this talent I had found a way to develop who I was; but although I was wrong. Now math has become my worst subject as I understand less and less of it. Another example of a time when I sought my talents in hopes of finding myself was when I took art classes. Art interested me and I thought that if I became talented in it I would be able to realize who I was. After about a year I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t creative and art was not for me. I kept trying to find something that I liked or was actually good at so that I could reveal my individuality.

And then I had an epiphany of great personal significance; a shift in paradigms. As the philosopher Thomas Kuhn put it “at times of revolution… [One] must be re-educated” (Structure of Scientific Revolutions-112). A couple years later, I realized that if I wanted to define myself, it would have to be according to my personality. So I thought a lot about what kind of person I wanted to become; how could I become that person? I asked myself the purpose to my actions; was I trying to become an honest person? Should I focus on being sincere, responsible, just, and brave? These questions allowed me to make more mature decisions, express wiser views, and have better judgment. I considered what my character should be like and, although I haven’t found the answer to all of these questions, I still have bettered myself greatly.

I should have been looking for who I am in terms of my character rather than focusing on mere talent. My search for who I thought I should be wasn’t useless; I was just in the process of realizing that my character is more important for determining who I am. Rather than trying to be a good artist or smart in math, honesty, being just and learning to take responsibility are the keys to developing my personality. I believe I have to make the realization of who I am as defined by character.