Hard work produces success

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Success is attainable only to those who want to put forth the effort to reach it.

Whether it’s for a grade in school or you are training for a 12-mile, military-style obstacle course in four weeks, hard work will get you there. Whether you are naturally talented or not is irrelevant.

All throughout high school I felt like the odd one out.

I attended one of the best high schools (as far as standardized test scores go) in California, at which the cool thing to be was smart. I am quite smart, but I have not always been confident in myself enough to realize my potential. I now often refer to myself as a genius, though most people probably think I’m joking. I let them think that so I don’t come off as completely pretentious. There is a certain kind of self-confidence that is necessary to succeed in anything, including academics.

When many of my friends would turn in assignments, it seemed effortless for them. For me, it was like releasing a precious piece of my labor into the hands of my teachers and hoping I did well enough to get a good grade. I felt like my friends were inherently good at school, and I had to work my butt off just to keep up with the pack.

I always felt so lost and uncomfortable in academics. In government class, for example, I didn’t know what we were talking about half of the time until I went over it five more times than everyone else had to. I could not mentally keep the same pace as my peers, which only motivated me to work harder so I could further myself beyond their level. Peer pressure was working in a most unusual way  —  and eventually in my favor.

It took me nine years, but now, in my 24th year of life, I finally feel comfortable in academic settings. I have built my self-confidence and continually give 110 percent effort in everything I attempt. I don’t think it’s ever gotten easier for me to do school work, but I’ve gotten used to the work I have to do in order to complete every task that’s thrown my way.

I’ve overcome enough obstacles, physical and educational, to realize that I can be successful in anything I want to be successful in  —  but hard work will always be key. I stay inspired and motivated, which is a huge factor in accomplishing any task.

Even if someone is naturally talented at something, if he or she lacks the work ethic to strive to be better, he or she will not succeed. There is a Henry Rollins quote in which he said, “Don’t do anything by half.” Very few things come easily to me without working on improving them directly and often. Only my best efforts will help me be successful.