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Friday, June 23, 2006

Life Ambitions

This is a scholarship essay I wrote that I am kind of proud of. I like it anyway. There are probably some typos because this is the unproofread version.

The transitory period of a person’s life that comes at the end of one’s High School career places that person in a very precarious position. It is at this point that one is expected to decide what they want to achieve with their life and how they want to achieve it. This is one of the most difficult decisions that a person must make. In order to make the decision, one must ask himself what he wants out of his life. Money, power, and prestige are what run society today, and so these are the obvious choices that are set out for everyone. However, what everybody neglects is the most important aspect of life one can achieve: Happiness.

Every person has one thing that they are meant to do: their personal destiny. Paulo Coelho called it a “personal legend” in The Alchemist, but it doesn’t matter what the second word is. It is your calling; it is what makes you happy. For most people it is always right in front of their eyes, but they don’t know it. To see your “personal legend,” you need to listen to your soul. Instead, though, most people listen to everything but their soul. From the time we are little we are told that the only path to success is to study hard, graduate high school, and go to college. This is not true and it has had a detrimental effect on today’s society.

This leads to two paths one can take in life. The first is the one that society dictates is best for you and the second is the path that leads in the achievement of your personal legend. The first path is easy to follow as well as safe, but it leads to an unfulfilled life. If one chooses this path, they will have ignored their true calling in life and this will be a constant weight on their soul. If one chooses the second path, they will be forced to take many risks and they will go through much suffering, but in the end they will be able to say that they are doing with their life what they love. This is the only way to achieve true happiness.

You can’t expect to lead a happy life if you do not decide to follow your personal legend. Paulo Coelho said in The Alchemist, “Everyone seems to have a dear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” This accurate interpretation of people’s thoughts shows that one must ignore the opinions that other people have for their life. One must ignore the predestined path that society has deemed appropriate for you. However, this is not to say that one cannot follow the path society lays out and still chase one’s destiny. One must determine if this path is truly beneficial to their realization of their personal destiny.

Today too many people are going to college for the sake of going to college. Too many people expect their life to just fall into place as they follow the predetermined path through high school and college. Too many people fail to realize that in order for your life to fall into place, you must make the conscious decision to put it into place. To do this, to get your life together, you must realize and follow your personal legend.

This is all fine, except in my case. The problem I have with blazing my own path to achieve my personal destiny is that I have no idea what my true calling is. It seems to me in this day and age that there are too many distractions in order to listen to your soul and in order to realize what truly makes you happy. The thing for me to do at this point would be to follow the predetermined path society has set for me, but to never lose sight of my desire to find my personal legend. Hopefully, while I follow this path and go to college, the opportunity to pursue my personal legend will appear. I have to always be ready for this opportunity. When the opportunity comes, it will be sudden and unexpected, and I cannot be afraid to drop everything in order to go after it.

“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won't suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back-she will hear her heart” In this statement, Coelho establishes the fact that in following your personal destiny there will be risks and there will be suffering. It takes an awful lot of courage in order to face these risks and to battle through the suffering, but if one can summon the courage to face these then it’s all worth the trouble. And so when the time comes, I can only hope that I will have the courage to follow through and chase my destiny.

I do not want to follow the beaten path with my life. I want to stand out and be happy with what I do. I want to know my personal legend and when the time comes I want to able to achieve it. I will follow the path that society has laid out for me, but I will never lose sight of my goal. I will figure out what my calling is because as Paulo Coelho said in the Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I believe that too many people lose focus of what is truly important in their lives: happiness and I refuse to forget this. So, if one asked me what my life ambitions are, I guess my answer would be to be happy.