Often, in life, the shrillest voices are summarily silenced by the softest sounds emanating from inside one’s own mind. I should know. In my early years I was subjected to the shrill cries of both my teachers and parents who would castigate me for not working up to my full potential. And I would defend my lack of motivation by speciously arguing that for the merely average amount of effort I put into my various projects, I would always come away with above average results. Privately, though, an entirely different perspective had taken hold, one that refused to even consider the possibility that increased effort would indeed result in optimum performance. To avoid my lack of performance, I wrongly reasoned that if I never tried my hardest to succeed, then I would never have to experience the pain of defeat. But then, one day, the time came for me to depart for college, and the shrill voices were silenced forever leaving me to contend with the shrillest voice of all: the one inside my head.
That voice inside my head thankfully forced me to confront my wrongheaded outlook, to stop accepting mediocrity, and to start challenging myself to be the best that I could be. This process of transformation was not easy: old habits take a long time to construct; and an even longer time to de-construct. Still, I persevered, and soon enough witnessed changes in all areas of my life that were both meteoric and astounding.
On an academic level, I have challenged myself to acquire the best grades that I could possibly achieve. I simply refused to accept any more cheap excuses or specious arguments from myself. More importantly, I stopped trying to study and achieve good grades for my parents’ sake, and started acting for my own sake, and the results of my grades speak for themselves.
On a personal level, I have worked hard to transform my bravado self-confidence into an authentic self-confidence. In this regard, I delved deep inside myself to reclaim my natural forensic abilities, the same abilities that allowed me, at age twelve, to outwit my father and to stay up one hour later than my proscribed bedtime. While I was watching a crucial World Series baseball game with my father, I saw that my proscribed bedtime was fast approaching. I desperately wanted to stay up and watch the conclusion of the game. I had to think quickly. With only moments to spare, I said to my father, “Dad, didn’t you say before that I should always listen to my teachers?” My father responded, “Yes, you should always listen to your teachers because they are always right.” Then I explained how earlier in the school day my science teacher had stated in class that humans only need an average of six to eight hours of sleep per night; and so therefore, I argued, I should be able to go to sleep one hour later. My father conceded the argument; impressed more, I think, with how carefully I had constructed the argument than with the substance of the argument itself.
On a social level, I have successfully transformed myself into a natural leader and negotiator, one who engenders confidence and trust amongst his peers. During my freshman year in college, for example, I participated in the annual Model United Nations Day Competition. I was selected by my team to act as our chief negotiator for our team’s pre-designated country. Prior to the first round of negotiations, I inherently recognized the fallacy of adopting a hard line approach to negotiating with the other teams, reasoning that few countries would be willing to negotiate with another country unless they would gain some type of value from the negotiations. Therefore, I adopted a softer approach in my negotiations, offering to each individual nation an agreement that would benefit both my team as well as the other team. Of course, all of the agreements provided for a greater share of the resources to inure to my team; however, the inequality was so slight that by the time any of the individual nations realized what I was doing; my team had already won the competition.
Going away to college is a momentous event, fraught with both opportunities and pitfalls. I feel fortunate that I was able to embrace the opportunity to alter my misdirected point of view in order to reach my full potential. I have learned much about myself during these past few years, enough to know that my destiny is now my own, and that wherever my future finds me, I am proud to say, I will have arrived there not by any half-measures, but by the sheer force of my all out efforts.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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