This I Believe

Henry - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work

Hard Work? Never Heard of it.

When you ask people how to succeed, they will most likely answer with a few clichés: “knowledge is power” or maybe even “practice makes perfect.” If you are wise, you might answer with a witty quote. Perhaps “there’s no substitute for hard work,” from Thomas Edison.

Success is elusive. An oasis in a desert mixed in with endless mirages.

After spending many years at school, I have endured more from my parents than most. Endless barrages of Chinese from my parents’ mouths. A plethora of reproaches. In the past, my parents constantly scolded me in Chinese for not working hard enough. School was a cakewalk. Getting all As was commonplace. Kindergarten was playtime. Elementary school was a vacation. Middle school was all about friends. High school was different.

Entering the ninth grade, I continued taking the easy way out but still making the grade. The semester ended quickly, and I looked forward to the break. Rip. I hastily open up my report card. All A’s. All the way down. Except for a few B’s. I didn’t try hard enough. My parents simply said, “You’re doomed to failure.”

I watched as friends, who once were my equals, surpass me. In this endless race to the top, I was the one who tripped and fell.

Rock Lee once said, “hard work can surpass genius.” In my life, hard work connotes homework. Teachers insist it’s “practice”. Studies question its effectiveness, while students simply hate it. I’m up against geniuses. Only one way to climb back up. Hard work.

I need to fix my problems–to prove my parents wrong. Practice? Doesn’t work. I just keep repeating my mistakes until they become habits. Knowledge? Overrated. Careless errors catch up eventually. Nothing works. I watch as my class rank falls overnight. Despair fills me. The words of my parents seem like curses. No shortcuts. No get-out-of-jail free card. No outside help. I have to pull myself up. Stand strong against the onslaught of the world and prove my worth.

A year later, I figure it out. My parents were right:”There’s no substitute for hard work.”