This I Believe

andrew - manlius, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the importance of individuals taking full responsibility for their own success in life. This is true in all areas of life. People often make excuses for why they aren’t doing as well in school as they want to be or why they aren’t performing well in their sports. It is very easy to justify low performance and drift along functioning at a low level. I believe that everyone has the ability to work as hard as needed to achieve their academic or athletic goals.

It is important to set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them. Everyone has different priorities. Yet it is important to keep in mind that choices that seem personal can impact others. I believe that people should set goals based on individual priorities in life, and take the personal responsibility to work hard on those goals. The goals need to be set in every area of life. For a high school student there are academic, athletic, and personal goals. It is important to assess and update goals as you go through life.

One area which illustrates this principle is athletics. I believe that sports can help teach the importance of personal responsibility, and how it can affect others. I believe that there is no excuse for a person who wishes they were a better athlete but then slacks off when they should be practicing or training. This behavior not only sells themselves short, but it also will hurt that team and those on it who work hard. In some areas of life, such as academics, you may only be hurting yourself if you don’t take full responsibility for meeting your goals.

Rowing has helped teach me the importance of personal responsibility. Before I starting rowing, I ran cross country. I liked it, but in 7th and 8th grade I did not give it my all, especially during the off season. I started crew as a freshman. I quickly learned that on an 8 man boat, the team is only as strong as its weakest member. The boat will not go straight or fast if some guys row harder than others. So it is important to train hard, even in the off season. It is difficult to stay motivated when you are not practicing with a team. I learned that keeping my ultimate goal in mind provided the incentive I needed to keep running, rowing, biking and lifting weights during the off season. I wanted to be an asset to my team.

Ultimately, the lessons learned carry over for the rest of life. You will have much better health if you stay in physical shape and eat right. Good choices in those areas will be good for your health for your entire life. You will have a better quality of life if you work hard to achieve your academic goals. Focusing on future goals will help you choose the individual career path that will be right for you. You will be happier in every way if you set personal goals, and then do what it takes to achieve those goals.