This I Believe

Bryan - Orem, Utah
Entered on May 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

People are watching you. Someone sees what you are doing and some—whether you know it or not—want to be just like you. For better or for worse, we all look to certain people as examples who in turn play a large influence on the way we live our lives. I am constantly looking to those I admire who influence the way I act, eventually working down the chain and affecting those who look up to me. Because of the immense power found in examples, I believe in always being my best self. Always.

If I act contrary to my best self, someone sees. There are six children in my family, beginning with me. Every day my actions and attitude are constantly monitored and often imitated. This is no small responsibility; in days past, I used to shrug it off. When I begged for ice cream or a later bedtime, my irritating pleas were echoed. What was cool to me was cool to them, though not always to my parents. When I spoke highly of Michael Jordan, he soon became their heroes as well. Through trial, error, reproof, and correction I discovered how much my example influences my siblings and the happiness of our family.

There is always the usual guilt that comes with making mistakes. That regret is further compounded when I see my brother run out into the street because I had. By choosing the wrong, I confuse him and others by acting contrary to the example he sees of me. On the other hand, there is always a calm assurance when I do something right. No matter who chooses to follow me thereafter, they won’t be worse off. This especially applies to attitude. After three years of participation in marching band, I have seen many instances where one person being their best self can sway the mood of the band. When I stand at attention the whole time, it makes others want to do the same and it spreads. When these fires of avid determination begin, they quickly progress through the interlinked chain of examples. As the current Senior Field Major, it is my responsibility to be an example to the band, to be my best self, and motivate them to improve. When they do, it brings the band great success.

Although rewards might not come immediately or directly, the dividends for staying true are far-reaching and immeasurable, such as self-confidence, determination, and integrity. When I am my best self as a leader, I see people change for the better. Great leaders such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Martin Luther King, Jr. did not seek fame or admiration, but never forgot their best self and eventually became powerful examples for many. I can safely emulate the people who make me want to be better just by being themselves. Though not always easy and not because I want people to watch me, I firmly believe in being my best self whatever the situation, against all odds.