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Why Not to Concentrate

February 6th, 2009 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
   I was walking home from school one day.  It was a bright and sunny afternoon.  The birds were chirping; the air smelled crisp and clean.  And then I stubbed my toe.  It was a painful stub.  The agony of my tiny toe scrubbing against the abrasive concrete, the concentration of all that pain in such a tiny insignificant stub on my foot, was more than I could bear.  I never wore sandals again.

   Yet that moment sparked a curious interest in me.  It made me realize that concentration, such as the concentration of all that pain in my toe, was not a good thing.  When one is trapped in a cell, concentrated in a small space, he is not happy.  When one is told how and what to think, to concentrate and narrow his mind, he is not happy.  Even in politics, concentration is not a good thing; Americans don’t like concentration of power.  Concentration means communism, dictatorship - all the things we fought to eliminate in past wars.  Just...[More]
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Doing What Counts

January 18th, 2009 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
  Pete wiped his forehead and stepped back.  He had just finished helping an elderly woman pack luggage into her car.

  "Thank you so much," the woman said, standing back in amazement.  "You kids are doing so much these days."

  "It's no big deal," Pete chuckled, pulling out a sheet of paper from his pocket.  "Really, I should be thanking you instead."

  "What's...[More]
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Open Doors

December 29th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
   They say one doesn’t realize what he has until it’s gone.  When I broke my wrist two years ago, I not only realized that I had almost lost my hand completely, I realized how little I’d done, how much more I wanted to do, how close I came to losing the opportunity altogether.  As I spent the following summer bound to my chair with the injury, I taught myself web design and learned to program in six different languages.  The following year, as my friends and I began making videos but could find no outlet for our new hobby, we founded our own club, within months finishing three movies, hosting monthly Theater Days, and starting a VHS-DVD conversion service.  When I later reflected upon the events, after having made twelve websites for schools and organizations, after having had classmates join my club and become paid to teach our video editing to an afterschool class, I realized that opportunities are not sought but created, that it is not the opportunity that is...[More]
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Ambitious Perfection

October 9th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     People say I am ambitious. I seek objectives; I hunger for accomplishment. But to simply call me ambitious is an understatement. I am not hungry; I am starved, ravenous. I do not seek objectives; I make them. I cannot remain satisfied without a goal, a purpose, cannot remain satisfied even if I did have a goal or purpose. I must always have results, excitement, change. I must see the world blaze about me, hear the thunder of progress roar past me. I must smell achievement at every corner. I must taste the power of drive and anxiety.

     Yet I am also a perfectionist. I attain to every niche and detail of all that I do. If it holds but a single flaw, it must be fixed, redone, or scrapped from existence. My tolerance for the world is high, just not for myself. Everything I do must meet my expectations. No. Everything I do must exceed my expectations, must breathe and echo success.

     But how is this possible? How can one seek perfection but also be...[More]
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Life is Like a Mountain Climb

April 22nd, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     Life is like a mountain climb, a quest to reach the mountain peak.  Each stopping point represents the goal one sets for himself while each climb represents the journey to achieve it.  In the beginning, life may be long and difficult, but with each successful climb comes a fulfilling rest, the satisfaction of achievement, and of course, the grand view of the world below.  Aim too high and one may be in for a hectic climb, but aim too low and one may never reach the summit, the ultimate achievement which can only be as fruitful as the quest to attain it.

     In my climb towards the summit, my goals have often centered about fields of which I am familiar, with my satisfaction being the chance to prove myself and fully exercise my potential.  By focusing my goals and opportunities, I build on what I do best, expanding my base of skills and allowing each consecutive goal to lead to the success of the next.  While I may not always reach the...[More]
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The World At Hand

February 18th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
  Day after day, millions of Americans worry over the most miniscule of problems.  From children to fully-grown adults, the average citizen just fails to concern themselves with significant tasks, fails to put more time where time is needed, fails to see the meaning of life.  As toddlers, they worry over troubling matters such as loss of candy or the horrors of having to share with fellow peers.  As children, they fight over the ownership of poorly-crafted plastics and cheat each other over debts of up to a quarter.  As teenagers, they stress for days over the look of their hair, cause the biggest fuss over the color of their shirt, debate with all their might over the quality of their socks, which they promptly toss aside after a day's wear.

  Upon reaching adulthood, these same individuals only double their attitudes; their issues remain more or less of the same importance.  Ownership can no longer be resolved in small quarrels;...[More]
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Passing of Times

February 17th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
  I remember ever so sharply the more distant moments of my past.  I can remember far back to my first years of consciousness, perhaps 3 or 4 years old.  I could not comprehend even what age was at the time, but I could remember the finest details of our somewhat old and rundown, yet ever so familiar home.  I could recall the dreamlike sharpness of the silver faucet in our kitchen sink, the brownish tinge of the soft carpet beneath my feet, and the flare of the bleeding-blue sky outside my window.  There was the greatest satisfaction in the simplest of things, from the mere planting of a cornstalk to the feeding of ducks and fishes.  I cared less for the future and more for the moment.  Each day held a new surprise.  Baby birds would occasionally fall from the tree in the front lawn.  Frogs and crickets could be found in the backyard if one searched hard enough.  The world was unbounded.  One day I found myself finally able to ride...[More]
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A Day's Lost

January 9th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
  "Son! You need to get your grades up!" my mother exclaimed loudly.  She paced across the room and glanced repeatedly back at me, anxious to see my reaction but disappointed at my blank stare.  "You will become a failure! Nobody will give you a job!"

  I did not understand; I had almost straight As - perhaps one B.  I opened my mouth to protest, but immediately she thrust her finger into my right eye.

  "Son! Why do you have a scar on your cheek? Wash it off!"

  I stared...[More]
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