The rules of society are limiting, too polite, too forgiving of failure -- giving up, losing. I’ve found in order to fly, to truly succeed, you must employ an iron edge.

The rules of society are limiting, too polite, too forgiving of failure — giving up, losing. I’ve found in order to fly, to truly succeed, you must employ an iron edge. The iron edge is not physical, it cannot be bought, it comes and goes. The iron edge is a place, it is a mindset. It has to come from within. Only when things get tough, when the plan is gone and it’s down to the challenge can the iron edge even be experienced or seen. Those who have the edge are not any different from those who do not — at face value. Only at the crucial point, the difference between success and failure, do those with the edge differentiate themselves from the others in the crowd.

I’ve found the iron edge to be a finicky thing. The edge is cruel, tough and can be unforgiving. I do not have the edge for all things or even for the things I am most passionate about. The edge comes and goes. Whenever (IF ever) the edge is achieved, the success is an incredible feeling. Christmas, a birthday and Halloween rolled into one.

When most people would give up, take the loss, go home with nothing, those with the iron edge prevail. This fall, I had a crazy idea, to build a solar powered race car to compete in a national competition during the summer of 2018. That is, this summer. I did not know how to build a solar car, let alone solder, weld, I had zero dollars in fundraising, and could not find a faculty advisor to help supervise the project. There have been an incredible number of opportunities to throw in the towel, to give up, to go home.

Instead, I employed the edge. Have I scared away lots of people? Absolutely. Have I made some incredible connections and learned a ton of new skills? That would be a positive. Our car is now designed, rolling. All of our major components have been purchased, we have placed our deposit  and are planning upon racing from Dallas, Texas to Palmdale, California this summer.

I have learned through this that in order for things to happen rules need to be broken, hands get dirty, feelings hurt — forget the rule book. Find a way. There’s no money available, find some. Ask. Can’t weld a frame? Find someone who can, someone who will. I did.

I have an edge, an iron edge, an ability to push to where no one else can. I have won the lottery, I have a loving, caring family, a great school environment, and good head on my shoulders. Give me a challenge, give me time, I can assemble the team, I can learn the material — even raise the money. I know I can achieve whatever is thrown at me. Bring it on.

Reflection

After learning what a This I Believe essay was, and reading and listening to several essays I was excited to write my own essay. The audio of the essays really seemed to “make” the essay. If the writing was strong but the audio didn’t reflect the strong essay it really seemed to bring down the whole piece of writing. I truly enjoyed reading others belief stories, the best stories inspired me to share their belief, and left me inspired.

I struggled a little bit to find a topic for my essay. I was split between writing about my love of running and the lessons I’ve learned along the way and the solar club. At first, when I wrote my essay I included both running and the solar club, but after writing it I quickly realized that the essay would be much more powerful only focusing on one subject. After finishing writing my essay I wanted to burn it. Normally throughout life I try and be a pretty humble, likeable person. I do not feel the need to brag about myself in front of others. After reading my essay you will see why I might not be quite as humble in this piece. It’s all true, without me there would be no solar car, no competition this summer, no dream of a national championship.

I enjoyed the speaking element of writing my essay. I felt as though it helped me tell my story in my voice and the way I wanted my story to be told. It took me a couple of tries to finally record the audio into a state I liked. I strangely found myself getting a little nervous speaking even though it was just me and a microphone recording my story. Even in my most “perfect” take there are still a few hiccups here and there but I think it is better that way — more real, authentically me. The recording is pure, it is honest, it tells a true story.

I hope you enjoy reading or listening to my This I Believe essay, and walk away feeling inspired. One of the main reasons why I left the story the way it was in its “non-humble” state was to leave the reader feeling as though they too could achieve anything.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 This I Believe “Iron Edge” by Will Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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