What is “success” [to me]?

October 25, 2009

The day I first realized the meaning of success was when I won the island-wide Mathcounts Competition in 8th grade. When I first made the team, I had had no idea that I would have to meet with my coach after school, for two long hours every day of the school week, to solve numerous math problems. I worked hard and resiliently during these practices but did not think I had a chance at winning the competition. Then the long-anticipated day of the Mathcounts competition had arrived. That day, when I truly did win 1st place, I was undeniably stunned. It seemed to me that I would not have achieved success in this competition without the long journey of persistent, hard work, preceding the competition, that I had endured. And it was at this moment that I had realized: success, to me, is not about obtaining something I want, but about persevering in everything I do. In this respect, success was not centered on the gain of material things, but rather on the improvement of oneself. Success can thus be defined as being the best one can be.
As I worked through my high school years that followed the Mathcounts competition, my idea of success began to crystallize. It became clearer to me that success is directly related to the amount of effort I give towards becoming who I want to be. Since I have always been fond of learning and being as knowledgeable as I could about different things, each school assignment I completed was a success.
Success continues to be a path of self-improvement, associated with making the best, possible decisions. Learning from mistakes are also successes. For instance, school assignments that I had spent too much time on led me to revise my method of studying. Taking too much time on any one assignment was a mistake indeed, but since I seized the opportunity to learn from the mistake, I remained on my path of success.
My victory at the Mathcounts competition can be compared to a final arrival at land after a long-lasting voyage. Just like when the captain of a ship is focused solely on the task of avoiding danger and keeping his ship going, I did not get distracted but stayed focused during my Mathcounts practices. And just like the felicity the captain experiences after arriving at land after a lengthy and exhausting voyage, I felt a high degree of satisfaction and relief after receiving the Mathcounts 1st place plaque after hours and hours of relentless problem solving.
The philosophy of being the best one can be has guided me throughout my life and has taught me to work diligently and to take advantage of special learning opportunities like the Junior Statesmen Program. I am truly excited about the wonderful opportunities this program will provide and cannot wait to go, as it is a highly welcomed change from my young and still growing school (preschool through twelfth grade) of less than 300 students!


2 Responses to “What is “success” [to me]?”

  1. Devin Yoshimoto said

    I think it’s also important to recognize that interest and energy are cyclical. It is not possible to be ON all the time. I think it’s really important to identify those cycles so you can learn to work with them rather than fighting it and burning yourself out.

    I think you should keep writing blogs. Your a pretty good writer and writing is a very important skill. You should read Tucker Max’s advice on writing. It’s very helpful and i’m trying to implement his advice into my writing also.


    Very valuable advice.

  2. Thanks. I agree. Interest in something is hard to maintain. It comes on and off, so work with it; that’s a good point.

    And thanks for your encouragement. I’ve been writing quite a bit over the past days. And now I’m seeing like… sometimes over 10 views per day on my little statistics area of my account. So, it seems like my blog is slowly growing more active, i guess.

    And I’ll check it out.

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