This I Believe

Margaret - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on June 11, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the intense feeling of nervousness: the feeling that all things could go wrong, that you may embarrass yourself, that you may fail. Nerves rattling in their cage, expressing a fury of emotions, cause this significant sense of anxiety. Observed at a glance, nervousness seems to be a sign of weakness and a symbol of fear. However, this tension and apprehension instead represents the potential of a situation. Without the uncomfortable feelings of nervousness, greatness could never be reached.

Galileo for sure felt a sharp sting of nervousness before he first introduced his new-found theory that the earth is actually round, rather than flat. Without his jumping nerves and the cautious beads of sweat trickling down his forehead, the world would have been withheld from this enormously important bit of information. His nervousness fueled his ambition, resulting in one of the greatest scientific developments of all time.

Standing offstage, peaking cautiously out from behind the red velvet curtain into the sea of faceless figures, I felt feelings of nervousness the night of my senior dance recital. The effort of fourteen years of practice, the presence of hundreds of observing faces and the fact that this would be my last performance, created one of the most pungent pangs of nervousness I have ever felt. As I executed my pirouettes and as I sped through my jetés, my nervousness turned into adrenalin. The energy from my racing nerves glided into my arms and legs, giving them strength and power to perform. Leaving the stage after my last dance, I felt accomplished; my newly calmed nerves created a strong feeling of satisfaction.

Even through failure, a certain degree of success is achieved. Whether a goal is reached or not, a result comes from an action, from a try. Nervousness, a natural feeling which precedes a significant event, paves the way for an occurrence to take place. Having the courage to get past the feelings of nervousness allows a person to have extreme potential for success. The more nervous you are, the more that’s at stake, and therefore the more chance you have of achieving satisfaction.

I believe in nervousness. I believe in the slight sensations, swiftly sweeping over the skin. I believe in the quivering of an anxious voice and the slight faltering of a person’s locked knees. I believe in goose-bumps. I believe in second-guessing oneself just before an important move is made. Whether it is a clever chess move, potentially risking the entire game, or a hesitant leap from an airplane, potentially risking a life—nervousness plays a role in almost every worthwhile situation. Anxious nerves blossom into powerful actions, settling into pleasant feelings of satisfaction.