Work Comes Before Success

April 26, 2012
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Kyle Maynard started wrestling in sixth grade. In his first 35 matches, Kyle lost to every opponent. He realized he needed to do something differently, so with the help of his father, he began a weight training program. With the help of that program and a lot of hard work, Kyle went on to wrestle for his varsity high school team, where he won 35 matches his senior year. That’s a pretty impressive feat, but nothing extraordinary right?
Wrong. Kyle Maynard was born a congenital amputee. In other words, his arms end at his elbows, and his legs end at his knees. Kyle loved to compete, so he began wrestling in sixth grade. He could not win any of his first 35 matches because his opponents would keep their hand on his head so he couldn’t reach them. He decided the only way he could win was to outwork his opponents. He already had the determination (he has never allowed an opponent to pin him), now he just needed the skills. He worked out extensively and came up with entirely new moves that he could use. With his newfound strength and ability, he went on to have a successful varsity career which culminated in his qualification for the Georgia state high school wrestling championships.
This is a story of someone who wanted something and worked hard for it. Kyle Maynard knew it was not going to be easy, but he wouldn’t allow that to stop him. He exemplifies the effects of perseverance. In our world today, it is not easy to accomplish much if you are not willing to make sacrifices. That is essentially what perseverance is. Sacrifice. If you are afraid to make sacrifices, you will not become what you wish to become. I would argue that perseverance is the most bountiful trait a person can have. It does not have to come in a grandiose way; there are examples of perseverance all around us that go unnoticed. It is not how large the task at hand is, but whether or not you are willing to work for it. Many times in our world today, things come easy to us and we don’t question it or worry about it. However, look around your school or at home and you’ll be sure to find stories of perseverance, whether it be the girl in your 5th period math class who works so hard to get that A, or maybe someone in your family who has to make a lot of sacrifices. In my family, my father is that person.
There are a lot of times when I take most of my life for granted, as I’m sure you do as well. However, I challenge you not to just accept the way things are, but to acknowledge how they became that way. For me, my father is the main reason that my life is the way it is. My father has his own business as a remodeler, and there are times when it can be very tough. Sometimes, he’ll go to work at 6 in the morning, and I’ll be in bed before he gets home at night. But he doesn’t stop there. When he is not at work, he is either coaching my brother’s baseball team, helping us with homework, or doing any number of other things for us. He puts in the long hours and makes numerous sacrifices so that he can provide his family with a good life. His hard work pays off; he has a happy family because of his willingness to make sacrifices and persevere. So I challenge you to look around you and see who is working hard for you, and follow their example.
Now, I realize that many of you have had to suffer through motivational speeches in assemblies at school. My goal is not to be a motivational speaker; my goal is to alert you to the importance of hard work in a world where many times it seems that it is not necessary. If you are not convinced yet of the importance of perseverance, then simply look at some examples of people who have had to work hard to become what they are. Jay-Z grew up in the gang-riddled housing projects of Brooklyn without a father. He decided that he wanted to get out of that life and become a rapper, but he knew he would have to work hard for it. He used to not sleep so that he could have more time to practice rapping, and to this day he is willing to sacrifice sleep in order to get better. Or if you have an interest in government, then you might have heard about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story. She is currently one of the Supreme Court justices, but it was not easy for her to get there. Before she graduated high school, her mother died of cancer. She eventually went on to Harvard Law School, where she was one of only nine women in a class of more than 500. And finally, after being denied positions in all different levels of government because she was a woman, she was chosen to be of the justices on the Supreme Court; the highest position a judge can have in this country. It does not matter where you look, you are sure to find examples of people who had to work hard for what they want.
By this time, I hope that you are convinced of the power of hard work. If not, then life is sure to teach you about the benefits of working hard, or the downsides of letting things just fall into place. There are stories of hard work all around us, but in the end it does not matter unless you are willing to work hard for your own goals. So next time you decide that you want something, don’t just hope for it, make it happen. As Genghis Khan once said, “The only failure in life is the failure to try.”





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