Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Energy and Persistence: Writing Prompt #2

Below is the 2nd installment of a writing challenge my college friends and I took on a few months ago! The topic this month is: Benjamin Franklin said, "Energy and persistence conquer all things." Do you agree or disagree? What will you do to energize yourself for 2013?

We'd love for you to read our entries and vote for your favorite!

Entry #1

I agree with the legendary Ben Franklin for his notion that “energy and persistence conquer all things” because it is relevant even now. One may feel the energy to lose weight or be healthy, but it is the persistence that is necessary to reach this goal because the energy can easily be lost. In fact, if this were a math equation, the same amount of energy and persistence equals the full amount needed to conquer or pursue one’s goals. To energize myself for 2013, it is just about the physical as it is the mental. We need to energize our minds by: doing or learning something new each day, being attentive to our needs and the needs of others, and knowing our limits. By having the energy such as through motivation and eating healthy, I have been persistent due to the need of being a positive force for my family, friends, and patients. In order to be a better me, I have to find the energy and persistence, without which these so called resolutions would just be words never put into action. This year, I plan to eat healthier, have smaller portions, drink more water, and so far, it’s working! My health has been a concern and with these recent changes, I have been able to lose over 10 lbs. since the fall of last year, 2012. If I can do it, you can too! Act now and I will throw in a smile with a tremendous hug absolutely free!

Entry #2

Benjamin Franklin said, "Energy and persistence conquer all things." All things? Maybe not. Energy and persistence are needed to achieve goals. That I can agree with. Maybe more is needed to conquer everything else. From my experience and as long as I can remember, if I wanted something bad enough, hard work and determination was required. Being instilled with a strong sense of responsibility at a young age did that for me. However and unfortunately, 2012 had bestowed upon me a different hand. A situation I've yet to conquer, that being the slow decimation of my career.

I'm learning that no matter how hard you work, the dreams you have pursued and even achieved can easily be taken from you. Exaggeration? Dramatic? Possibly. Given perspective, enjoying all the fun that life has to offer is a great learning experience and easy to do if one can afford to do so. On the other hand, dealing with life's hardships; a break-up, loss of a loved one, job-loss, health-scare, economic uncertainty, etc. is another thing. I'm not entirely sure that Ben had these this in mind when he said his quote. Do I regret the academic and career choices that I've made? Not at all. It was a journey, and it was mine. And I wouldn't have trade it for anything. But if I was told in advance that I would lose my job, insurance, tenure, livelihood, the thing that I love to do which is teach, then I don't know what path I would've chosen. The experiences in my teaching profession has had its ups and downs. Teaching, small children or otherwise, is not easy and it's not for everyone. But it felt (feels) right for me. When I think about how much I love what I do, I feel lucky. A lot of people work to live and not live to work. I knew what wasn't for me; the 9-5 cubicle and/or office space type career. That would've drove me nuts.

Teaching as a profession was my calling and it's a part of who I am. As I write this, I notice I'm having difficulty with the proper usage of tenses when I refer to the love of my career. And when I lost my job, I didn't realize what I would lose. It was more than the benefits and the insurance. I lost a confidence in me and there are other major areas of my self that have been greatly affected. Yes, I can play the blame game, which of course, is never fun. As much as I try to stay positive about my future, I'm scared. Which is an after-effect of job-loss. A lot of emotions, thoughts, considerations, choices that I make are now different and to say the least, not as care-free as before. I'm realizing the fact that these are grown-up, adult, real-life situations that I'm facing. I think what probably makes me scared is that I feel I'm ill-equipped to handle being said grown-up. After working with over two hundred students under the age of 10, I thought I can handle anything.I thought teaching would be secure and there'd be paycheck every month. It wouldn't be much but that wasn't the point. I wanted to be able to be self-sufficient and plan my life accordingly. Things have certainly not gone that way. And everyday is a constant reminder.

I suppose the lesson is that life will always throw you a curve ball. So I will take this time to digress into what other things that Benjamin's words of wisdom failed to mention. Faith, and the love of my family and friends, has helped with my economic and unfortunate situation. Having a sounding board, when some people do not, is always something to be tremendously thankful for. I know I'm not the only one going through harsh economic times. I have a roof over my head, people who love me, and I won't grow hungry. That I know for sure. But wanting more for my life? I can't say for certain. That's what's hard everyday. I work half time receiving per diem pay. That's not what I wanted for myself. That's not what the people in my life wanted either. But I try to remain hopeful. I run, which is a great stress reliever. I hang out with my friends and visit family whenever possible. I partake in retail therapy. I work at a school where I'm loved. So even though the many pieces of my life are not exactly where they're supposed to be, it's a waiting game. That and trying to have faith. And it isn't easy. Some days are better than others. But ultimately, as much as I once thought as Ben did, I'm not in agreement that it's all about energy and persistence. To energize myself for 2013, it will have to be something different. When it happens, I will let you know.

Entry #3

Benjamin Franklin hit the nail on the head when he said " Energy and persistence conquer all things..." I strongly feel you can't have one without the other. It's synergy! Sure the concept sounds easy peasy lemon squeezy, but in reality and through experience, I found it to be so much more challenging. As we hit the ground running into the new year, I think about my conquests and setbacks of times past as I set new and realistic resolutions for myself. I have decided to make life goals this year to make me a healthier and happier person. I'm not going to put a number on it or a date I have to achieve it by; rather, I'm going to measure my success through my quality of life. So, I'm taking a page from good ol' Ben and will remember that it's perfectly fine to have lofty goals in life but if you don't have the courage (the energy, the persistence) to back your convictions, you're not going to go very far and see your heart's desire come to fruition or gain the satisfaction of achieving success. There's a lot to be said for free will and persistence. Good luck to all of you as you embark on your own life's journey to better yourself in some way.

Here are my goals for now...with energy and persistence, I WILL ACHIEVE THESE GOALS!

Goal #1: Get healthy
Goal #2: Go back to school
Goal #3: Meet new people
Goal #4: Stick to a budget

Entry #4

I hold up a ruler facing away from me, the 1 at my right finger tips, the 12 at my left finger tips. Sitting in front of me is a high school senior, one of many I have had this discussion with. The twelve inches symbolize the 12 years of school, first grade through twelfth grade. “You are almost there,” I say pointing at the end of the ruler. “All these years, “ my finger points from one to twelve, “you’ve worked hard to get to where you are now. Don’t give up!” I say in my counselor voice.

Benjamin Franklin once said "Energy and persistence conquer all things". Unfortunately, many high school seniors, around this time each year, run out of energy towards their academics and persistence comes from outside forces, parents, teachers, and/or counselors, rather than from within.

I find that the support of parents, teachers, and counselors help get my students out the “senioritis” they suffer from year in and year out. For me, in 2013, I hope to use the support of friends and family to help energize my personal life and work life. I hope to focus on the positive moments of my own life “ruler” to motivate myself to continue to do good and have fun on 2013!




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