This I Believe

Joel - Roanoke, Indiana
Entered on February 23, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: work
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The secret to success

I believe that hard work is the key to success. Also, that with hard work you will achieve nothing but success. Orison Swett Marden wrote once that “Achievement is not always success while reputed failure often is. It is honest endeavor, persistent effort to do the best possible under any and all circumstances.” I interpret this as success being your best effort whether success is achieved or not, and that is what I believe.

This belief is what my dad raised me on, and it is how I still today try and live my life. My dad live this belief everyday no matter if he was at work, helping me with something, or in his favorite hobby; racecar driving. Racecar driving was where I first learned the real value of this belief that he cherished so much. He himself was a racecar driver, mainly smaller circuit tracks and the like. When I was old enough he passed this tradition on to me. I began racing when I was eight years old under the supervision of my dad. He made me come to the garage to work on my go-karts with him, even though I would have rather been inside playing the latest video game, he took me to many parking lots, set cones up all over the lot, and told me to get out there and start practicing. When things got tough whether it be problems with the cart or me thinking I was not good enough for this sport, he kept right on pushing. Finally it came to my first race. I ended up with a spot in the back of the starting field, which is overly discouraging, for my first race, and all my dad had to say was “do your best, that is all I can ask for”. I ended up placing 4th in that race out of 6. I was ready to quit, I didn’t want to keep going on if I was just going to lose all my races; but of course, my dad was right there encouraging me to stay with it. I did continue, and at the end of that race season I had won my divisions championship. I had accomplished what I did not think possible at the beginning of the season, and I contribute that to my dads’ encouragement. After two more successful seasons of racing, my dad passed away. I was eleven years old at the time, and I though it was the end of the world. I was forced to eventually change schools and one point and give up a life that I very much did not want to give up. The only way that I got through was thinking of my dad and his beliefs and values.

Here I am today, college student at one of the top universities in the country, and with many friends and family to support me. I got here through hard work, and I hope to finish here with the same values that my dad taught me 11 years ago. Oprah Winfrey said once “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.” She hit the topic of hard work right on the head with that statement, if you are willing to work, you will have success no matter the circumstances…this I believe.