Meghan WelshOctober 4, 2007APLaC
Some people are lazy; some are hardworking. Others' personalities lie in the grey area in between. The choices we make in life have a direct relationship with how we tend to act in this way. The more apathetic we are, the less our decisions tend to have a gratifying effect. The reciprocal to that, of course, is that the more resolute we are in our choices, the better outcomes we will have in life. Determination is an essential factor in the outcome of our decisions.
Take David Sedaris as an example. He went to France when he was forty-one in order to improve his French. In the class, his French teacher bullied her students horribly. This made him resolute; he "took to spending four hours a night on his homework," (Sedaris, Pg. 343). He took abuse from his teacher without complaint, and determined that he wouldn't give in to her bullying. In the end, it paid off. All those hours of studying and being tormented gave him the practice he needed in order to understand everything everyone was saying around him. Determination is key. If he had been a lazy, slothful person, he never could have held up under her abuse or made the decision to work so hard for her class. It's all a matter of the mind.
Laziness is the equivalent of instant gratification. When we are lazy, we are spending the moment in leisure when we could be working. As we are idle, our work starts piling up and then we have to do it at a later time. A perfect paradigm of that is my writing this paper. I spent the afternoon reading rather than doing my homework, and now I am paying for that by having to stay up late in order to complete this assignment in time. If I had been more resolved to do my homework earlier, I could be sleeping now. And I'm not the only one who has discovered the idiocy of procrastination. One Mike Rose, professor of education at UCLA, attests to this claim in his essay "I Just Wanna Be Average." "He fooled around in class and read his books indifferently—the intellectual equivalent of playing with your food," (Rose, Pg. 319). He wasn't necessarily procrastinating, but since he lacked the resolve to work at his classes, it had a negative effect on him. This is shown later in his essay. "To nobody's surprise, he was turned down flat by USC and UCLA," (Rose, 327). His inattention in high school prevented him from being accepted into the colleges he wanted. His unconscious decision to slack off in class, even though he was bored, kicked him in the butt later in life. Procrastination and slacking are exemplar illustrations of why determination can be imperative to the product of our judgment.
Motivation also factors into the equation. In order to be determined to do something, you have to be motivated to do so. My motivation to write this paper is that I want a good grade in my class, and that I like English. Sedaris' motivation was similar in that he wanted to get better at the class. He was stubborn, "determined to create some sort of identity for himself: David the hard worker, David the cut-up," (Sedaris, Pg. 343). His determination to be better led him to being able to understand French. These are two cases on the lesser side of the extremity scale. People like Frederick Douglass, escaped slave and author, had a much higher motivation.
Douglass was originally taught to read by his Mistress, but she eventually realized this wasn't such a good idea so she forbade him to read or write. So Douglass adopted a plan; "He made friends of all the little white boys he met in the street. As many of these as he could, he converted into teachers," (Douglass, Pg. 101). This determination eventually led him to escape. Discontent with his lot in life, provoked by reading about free black men, Douglass decided to escape his masters, and with the help of the books he learned to read, he pulled it off. It's not many people who could do that, and some wouldn't have the tenacity to learn to read in the first place.
Whether it is procrastination, want of instant-gratification, or lack of motivation, indolence equals unhappy results, while determination to make the right choices has joyous outcomes. Our levels of resolution relate to our choices every day, be they incredibly extreme or simply mild, and it's those choices that affect our levels of tenacity.