Optimism: The Power of Thinking Positively

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After a disappointing sophomore Cross Country season, I was ready for change. Tired of being referred to by newspapers and rival coaches as “a runner with potential,” I wanted to be the runner every competitor wanted to beat, but never found the strength to out sprint. By thinking positively and setting my goals, I became more than just the runner to beat—I evolved into the runner I am today.

During Indoor Track season, I made up my mind and began striving towards my ambitions. I utilized every workout in an attempt to increase my endurance and speed. Throughout the harsh winter months, I joined a gym and worked out 3-4 times a week, lifting weights and completing cardiovascular workouts. As I grew stronger, I started doing abdominal workouts with more frequency and intensity.
Right before my eyes, I began medaling in various meets, winning the 1,000 Meter Run at Districts. With the help of my coach, Emily Budnyk-Putt, I continued to prosper through outdoor track. I became the 800 Meter Run District Champion and placed third in the Regional 1600 Meter Run. As a result of believing in myself and my abilities, I broke three school records and had one of the fastest 800 Meter and 1600 Meter times in Virginia.
Through my experiences, I gained the belief in the power of optimism. I believe in the ability to think positively even in the toughest situations. The moments I felt I could not possibly run another step forward, I reminded myself of how hard I had worked and how far I had come. By choosing to invest so much time in my running career, I accomplished dreams I never thought possible. I believe in setting goals, putting forth the effort and never settling for anything less than my best.
This year in English, I read a quote that refuses to budge from my daily thoughts. Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, once said: “Change your thoughts and change your world.” After reading this quotation, I started applying Peale’s idea to my everyday life. My attitude towards running changed from constantly condemning myself for my lack of focus and motivation to believing in my strengths and tackling my weaknesses. I began thinking, “Why not put forth the effort, what do I have to lose besides one little race?”
As I adopted this new mindset, I found myself thinking more positively, and the same self-assured feeling encompassed my daily life. Thinking optimistically not only affects my actions, but also my friends, family and world. I can be complacent with my abilities now, or I can make every effort to reach my full potential through positive thinking. Ultimately, the decision is mine.
Knowing I have the power to control my life and actions is a great feeling. Furthermore, knowing I can control them in a positive manner proves to be even more rewarding. By changing my outlook this past track season, I was physically and mentally able to overcome all obstacles. I pushed myself to my physical limit with speed and cardiovascular workouts, hitting the gym as often as I could. I applied Peale’s thoughts to my running career. Most importantly, however, I kept my mind on my aspirations and believed in myself, even when sports journalists and other competitors didn’t believe in me. By taking control of my running career, I realized the true power of positive thinking. As it turns out, optimism is the key to fulfilling my dreams.





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