I have been contemplating for long, whether writing on this topic would be quite right or not, but finally, I made up my mind to write a few words in order to break the ennui posed by a very prevalent cliché. “Hard work is the ‘only’ key to success”, an adage that has been read, taught, explained and applied so many times that most of the people have actually forgotten the true worth of this very statement, thus turning it into a cliché. Owing to this fact, I myself have made a subtle addition, which is the word “only”, to this adage so that the meaning is conveyed more accurately. However, to practically prove the worth of the aforementioned statement, I would like to substantiate it with an example that revolves around me. I could have used some other example, but I felt that putting my experience into words would convey the meaning more easily yet effectively.
During the days of my 10th standard, I was considered one of the good students of my class, probably because I used to complete my assignments on time and my teachers were quite satisfied with my performance and regularity. Owing to this very fact, I became over-confident and started taking things for granted. Surprisingly, I could secure good marks in the pre-final examinations which again boosted and reinforced my over-confidence. After a period of three months came the final exams and I was extremely confident that I could solve any question, but I seldom realized that my over-confidence had blinded me to such an extent, that I did not even care to practice the questions once before the final exams. Nevertheless, bearing the same temperament in my mind, I gave my exams whose result was to be declared after one month.
A day before the declaration of the result I was still overconfident and excessively optimistic about the result. My over-confidence as I earlier stated, had blinded me and I felt that there was nothing that could lead to my downfall. However, I slept peacefully (on the contrary, tension of the result should not have allowed me to do so) after guaranteeing my parents that the result would be good. The next morning, I woke up at 5 O’ clock, probably because I heard the voice of my mother saying, “How is this possible? He has never secured such marks before”. I was in my bedroom when I heard my mother’s statement and felt that the result might have been very good. I sprang up from my bed at once and went to my Father’s room where he was staring at my result displayed on the Internet. Suddenly my mother turned her face towards me, but her countenance intimidated me and frayed my nerves. When I saw my result, I could not control my emotions and I fell into tears, because this time life gave me a bigger surprise. My spine tingled, heart sank, and a cold bleak sensation went through my body, as I collapsed into the chair kept nearby. This surprise broke all my expectations, not because I had a very good result, but because I secured the lowest percentage in my class. For the first time in my life, I felt so despondent and disgusted that I could not even face myself. However, I went to the school where one of my chums, who was among the toppers of the class, came to me and asked "How was your result, brother?” The instant that he posed me this question I broke into tears and I refused to answer. Nevertheless, he and many others came and consoled me, but there was nothing that could act as a perfect balm for my frayed nerves.
From the day of my result I noticed one thing very clearly; my teachers started neglecting me and considered me a cipher, a non-entity that was present in their class, but my parents, who were my only recourse, solaced me and provided me the direly required moral support. I opted for science stream in the 11th standard, but my parents at times asked me to change to Commerce (probably because science stream is considered to be tougher as compared to commerce). For an instant I thought that my parents were right, but the second instant another thought came to my mind which prevented me from changing my opinion and subject. All of my friends had opted for science stream which led me to think that, ‘If they can study sciences, why cannot I?’, and this very thought changed my life forever.
I realized that I had to prove myself again and regain the lost trust and belief of my teachers and parents, for which I had to do something that I had not accomplished for quite a long period of time. I studied hard, competed against myself and seldom paid attention to what was going on around me. I could have lamented for my result but I soon realized that, ‘Work is the best antidote to sorrow’ and finally due to my indefatigable efforts I emerged as the state topper in class 12th (senior secondary). After my 10th results people in our colony believed that I was a charlatan and considered me a dolt. Ironically, the 12th standard result changed their tone and their uncouth attitude towards me. I was extremely elated, not because I had topped the state, but because I could bring back the lost smile on my parents’ face.
Finally, I would like to end with another aphorism, “God helps those who help themselves”, and we can help ourselves only if we resort to hard-work, and indefatigable and industrious efforts. Overconfidence makes us feel free in the short run, but in the long run it ruins our life and respect. On the other hand, hard work demands a considerable amount of time and extra efforts, but it promises to pay back in monumental forms. All mistakes committed in the past tend to mitigate, provided, that we bear the adequate amount of confidence, i.e. neither over-confidence nor under-confidence, but just self-confidence…
TOEFL listening lectures: What does the professor say about utopian socialists?