Ability, Motivation, Attitude, and Confidence

Samantha - Ava, Missouri
Entered on February 20, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • 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.

There are four words that characterize my life: ability, motivation, attitude, and confidence. Sometimes I try to understand why I am living the life I am; why I have chosen the path I have, and why I have succeeded at some things and failed at others. These are all aspects of my life I may never know the answer to, but in some way or another, these four factors have made a significant contribution.

Growing up, my perceptions on living have changed. When I was younger, ability determined my life. I was very good at gymnastics; therefore, I would inevitably grow up to be a gymnast. Also, swimming came naturally, so my dream was to be an Olympic swimmer. However, as I grew older, I began to realize that unfortunately, just being good at something did not determine my path in life or my success.

The biggest obstacle and prerequisite of life that I have had to face, and am still facing today is motivation. There are many nights I try to convince myself that sitting on the couch watching my favorite TV show will make me happier, thus helping me accomplish other things that need to be done. I can say from experience that deduction is not effective. Motivation leads to action, which in turn produces results.

Next on my journey of growing up, I realized that attitude also plays a role in accomplishing life’s goals. While running a two-mile route one day during track practice, I realized something. It is immeasurably easier to do something when you want to. Obviously, I am not the first person to come up with this supposition, but at that point I realized that I might be able to use it to my advantage. From then on, I tried to convince myself that I wanted to run, and was consequently much more successful. Beyond this, in other everyday tasks, I have found that a good attitude makes every task more easily accomplished.

Finally, an important attribute for success in life is confidence—having faith in my abilities. In the end, when I have worked as hard as I could at something, and have done everything possible to make something turn out the way I want, I have to believe in what I have done and be confident it is enough. This accurately describes my position now in the college admissions process. I cannot join any more clubs, my grades are final, my test scores are in, my essays are written, and my applications have been submitted. Now, I wait.

I believe ability is what I can do; motivation determines if I do it; attitude determines how well I do it; and confidence tells me I can do it. These four words have shaped my life and will no doubt continue to do so.