This I Believe

Emma - Williamsville, New York
Entered on January 5, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the power of positivity. My belief is not based on a continued childhood wish, kept only by a lack of life’s experience. No. My belief comes from empirical evidence I’ve gained over my eighteen years of pure life, filled with the accompanying pain and joy.

My childhood years at Sheridan Hill Elementary were idyllic. However the transition from sixth to seventh grade was rough. My school divided each grade into smaller units called “teams.” Teams were supposed to help the school feel more supportive and less imposing, yet they had a divisive effect. After a fantastic year on Team 6-4, the teams were reshuffled into languages. The next year I found myself on Spanish 7 with none of my friends from either my elementary years or Team 6-4. I spent most of the year wallowing.

Needless to say, I did not want another lonely year. I made the choice; it would be different. On the first day, I sat with some girls who seemed nice but for some reason, I never had approached before. Those nine girls became my closest friends. That decision catapulted me to a great year.

The same principle has worked time and time again for me. I refuse to allow a bad first class to translate to a bad day. I can take control right there, grab the day by the horns, and stop a spiral of negativity. I have the power of positivity. I look at each moment as a new opportunity for a great day, and do not dwell on something less than perfect unless my actions can change it. I look at the net positivity of the day, rather than obsess over a bad moment.

The miraculous power of positivity works in other ways too. I have found that if someone is treated as an annoyance to others, she will believe that she is truly an annoyance, and become so or worse. Adversely, if positivity is infused into the view of her, the person will grow to fill the glowing vision. With positivity aimed her way, the result is truly powerful.

I will be the first to admit that there are situations in which this principle would be inappropriate. My grandfather, Poppy, lived with my family for six years. He became my closest confidant and constant ally for dessert before dinner. Then, in March 2006, he passed away. I needed to cry and mourn. Positivity could not change nor speed up the process I needed to go through.

However, in most situations, the infusion of positivity is the first step to solving the problem, whatever it may be. It may serve as a stabling force in an otherwise bleak outlook. It may shrink the apparent size of the problem. It may give the vision of an opportunity to seize the day in another aspect of life. Whatever the reason, it changes the pace of the year, or the pace of a single day. Therein lies the power of positivity.