This I Believe

Sanket - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 18, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: hope
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Positivism is my value

Years ago, in third grade, I was not satisfied with my class rank of tenth. My best friend had done better than me and childishly, I felt jealous. That very day, I ran home and directly questioned my father, “What should I do to get a higher grade than my friends?” Without a second of thought, my dad answered, “Be positive.” Again, I demanded, “What does being positive have to do with my grade?” My dad briefly explained, “Positivism is a virtue that brings happiness.” Of course, I was not experienced enough to know exactly what he meant and so, just walked away. Today, however, I have taken my father’s wise words under my wing and I soar through every valley and above every mountain with grace and agility.

My eighth grade school year, when I came to understand what my father constantly reiterated to me, was a turning point in my life. That year, I took part in a badminton tournament. If I proved my ability, I would then move on to the Inter-TATA Badminton Tournament.

Just seven months into my badminton career, I had to win more than six games to reserve a spot in the major tournament. It was my fifth game, and next thing I knew was that I was losing the game, when I remembered the words that my dad had preached me. I started whispering, “Be positive. Be positive. Be positive. I can win this game. I am just as good as he is.” I won the game! When every muscle in my body seemed to be failing me, my optimistic outlook leaded me on to the Inter-TATA Tournament. Finally, my father’s words had transformed into something meaningful. Although I did loose in the semifinals, for the first time in my life, I walked away with the positive feeling of satisfaction. Finally, my father’s words had transformed into something meaningful.

Today, my father’s wise words still hold true. Two years ago, my family and I moved from our homeland (India) to a vast expanse of blaring lights, high rise buildings, and diverse culture—America—in search of a better life and education. We were suddenly emerged in a new culture and lifestyle, they were required to learn a new language, and all the while, support a family. I knew that the only thing that made us strong in the face of hardship was our positivism—knowing that everything would turn out alright in the future. It did.

Being positive brings hope and motivation. It transforms tasks from possible to probable. Since the tournament, I have increased my self-esteem, my self-respect, and my self-confidence. Furthermore, I have realized one thing—the only difference between the professional and the novice is not in his physical ability as a player, but in his positive attitude as a team member. And so, I truly believe that “positivism is a virtue that opens the door to happiness.”