This I Believe

Andrew - Lafayette, California
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in the power of confidence over the potential of human ability. In the context of sports, I have seen many people with much confidence and I have seen many people with little confidence. While talent and experience do play a part in determining potential, confidence is the greatest factor in allowing one to succeed and ultimately realize their capability.

I have seen confidence direct people on both positive and negative paths in the sport of water polo. One player on my high school water polo team holds an extremely negative view of his facility in playing the sport. However, in my opinion, an opinion shared by the coaches, he is an excellent shooter, one of the best on the team. Almost every day after practice I hear him talking about playing time, mostly how he is not good enough of a player to play in any of the games. If he just had confidence in himself to be able to score, then I believe that he could be an incredibly gifted offensive player.

On the other hand, the best player on our team, who won numerous league and section honors, is a very confident person. His shot is no more powerful or accurate than the first player’s shot, but he scores far more often simply because he has the confidence that he will score every time he shoots. Thus, I believe that confidence can lift one up to achieve dreams, or it can place chains around one’s ability to perform, dragging that person down into obscurity.

With that said, I also believe that the greatest destroyer of confidence is fear. For me, fear is like a plague; when I am afraid, my fear becomes my sole focus, detracting from those things around me that I hold important, such as family, friends, school, and extracurricular activities. I remember going into an audition for a County Honor Band. I had practiced for weeks before this audition, going over the necessary music time and time again until I could play it without mistakes. However, during the audition, fear overcame my confidence, and my fear caused me to make many mistakes. The hours of hard work I had put into this audition all came to nothing, simply because I was afraid. All of the confidence I had built up during my practice sessions was shattered by my fear of doing poorly.

So I believe that it is confidence that leads a person to his goals. It is confidence that lifts one up, and helps that person to success. One cannot let fear draw his attention away from his ambitions. Fear deftly destroys one’s hope, and with it all desire to progress. Only with the belief that one has the ability to achieve can a person rise up in life.