Evan - Soldotna, Alaska
Entered on April 17, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden

Success. It’s one simple word that has many different interpretations. It can be an accomplishment as simple as saving up enough money to get ice cream, or it can be colossal overcoming like climbing a mountain. For as long as humanity has been around, success has always pushed people to the brink. It takes given blood, sweat, and tears to achieve success. I think success means different things to different people. One person may interpret success as getting promoted or another may be happy successful by getting through a day unscathed. I believe that success is becoming the best you are capable of becoming.

As a college bound athlete growing up in Alaska, success isn’t a word that shows up all that much. Athletics in Alaska aren’t what someone would call amazing. There are just not enough participants willing to play. Therefore, there aren’t as many good players. What I am saying is that the odds are against me if I want to play Division I basketball at a prestigious university. The road won’t be easy, but lots of determination and hard work will get me to my goal.

Becoming the best that someone is capable of becoming is a hard concept to understand; mainly because a person may think that there isn’t any more room for improvement. As I have heard it said, “It takes a true genius to know that there is always more to learn.” In this case, to become the best someone is capable of becoming, that person has to know that they can always improve. I have been taught from every coach I have ever had. Even the greats, like Michael Jordan, know that they can be better. But at that single stage in their life, when it really mattered, they did their best to become the best they could have become.

“Hard work pays off.” That message has been brutally pounded into me from the day I first touched a basketball. I think that everyone should believe in those four words. With such high aspirations in life, a person like me needs to really work. They need to pour out every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears to really become what they hope to be.

The last and final message I believe is that failing is not failure. A coach of mine once told me, “Learning how to accept failure will teach you how to succeed.” The people who quit after failing, in my opinion, will not reach their goal. So if a person learns that there is more to learn, that hard work pays off, and that failing is not failure. They will become the best that they are capable of becoming and reach success.