"He can who thinks he can, and he can't who thinks he can't." –Orison Swett Marden
Throughout my years of middle school, I recall many accomplishments in a wide variety of fields, from academics to sports to piano playing. I'm certainly proud of them; however, there could have been a whole lot more had I had more confidence in myself. Although it might have seemed otherwise, when I was a fifth and sixth grader, I was very timid inside, and mentally not able to handle the pressure of many things, and I knew it. I just couldn't bring myself to get over it.
One particularly torrid afternoon in the summer before seventh grade, as I was sitting under the ceiling fan, flipping through one of my Teen People magazines, something caught my eye. For some reason, it just popped out at me, and I found a poem that would change my actions and the way I felt about everything from that moment on:
Fearless-by Brooke A. Morris, 16
More afraid of not flying than of falling
More afraid to hide away my feelings than of bawling
More afraid to sit in silence than to speak up for myself
More afraid to sit back and watch than to stick up for someone else
More afraid to close my mind than to open my eyes and see
More afraid to close my heart than to let in diversity
More afraid of not trying than of failing
More afraid of not thinking than of letting my imagination go sailing
More afraid to settle for less than to keep striving
More afraid of not living than of dying
After I read this poem, I literally told myself to stop being afraid of trying new things. Up to that point, because I was such a pessimist, I had always focused on things I knew I could succeed in, and not even attempted new activities and clubs that I had never done before. I also constantly pushed myself to the thinnest wire over the smallest of deals. As a result, disappointment, discouragement, and frustration came along all too often and settled over me like dark clouds before a thunderstorm.
Back then, I was so self-conscious about absolutely everything I did. Nowadays, I figure, what's the point? You live through live doing what's right, and what pleases you, not others. So why should I live by others' standards and limit myself to their criticism and despondency?
If not for my newfound conviction that I could triumph in anything as long as I really wanted to and was willing to work hard at it, I would have never discovered an activity I truly loved—student council. Had I not moved beyond my fears and doubts, I also would have never tried out for volleyball, which is now one of my favorite sports.
And Brooke, although we've never met, I can't even begin to thank you for all the courage you've given me to have faith in myself. For the past two years, whenever I questioned the certainty in something, I have looked to your poem for motivation, and found that failure is not the worst thing in the world. The very worst is not to try. By believing in yourself and reaching for the stars, you will have shined a beam through the darkness of your fears. The possibilities are endless, so just open up your heart and fearlessly challenge the world!
[Written: High School]