This I Believe: Confidence

I remember quite vividly being fearful of skating as a child; the high dexterity needed and the impeccable timing each stride required was frightening and appeared near impossible. Upon even passing a hockey rink, my thoughts would be consumed with premonitions of my grisly death taking part in the activity with my family. I believe this is where my reliance on personal confidence first took hold of me. 


Despite being terrified of skating, my mind was possessed by it; the very exercise of strapping two metal blades on my feet to glide on a pond seemed nearly indistinguishable from that of souring freely through the air like some magnificent winged creature. I knew even then that, for me, to skate was a way to achieve inner peace; it could provide me with a way to isolate myself from my problems and, in a sense, from the rest of the world. Of course, perhaps I was getting too far ahead of myself; I had yet to even attempt taking a stride on the ice and I knew even that would be a struggle. 


My many years of travelling to Las Vegas alongside my grandparents every summer, as well as indulging in music by Kanye West had presented me with a rather crucial reality: not the depressing world of gambling and prostitutes, although that was a sight to behold, but instead the world of believing in oneself, even to a fault. In his music, Kanye rapped ferociously about how nobody could stop him and how he was a visionary. With equal ferocity, my grandpa dove headfirst into the poker tables and played every round as though he were the greatest gambler alive. Of course, each individual made mistakes and paid the price (literally, for my grandpa) but I was amazed by how much their seemingly brash arrogance paid off. 


Then it hit me: they weren’t being cocky and getting lucky with their successes, they were learning from their past mistakes and using that to improve, thus becoming more confident in their abilities. Their personal confidence didn’t only stem from their successes, but also in their ability to not give up and to keep striving for perfection. It was this type of philosophy that I needed to apply to skating- I just needed to be confident. I got my chance in a matter of days.


As I stood on a ledge, perched above the ice, my head swirled with thoughts of motivation. In Kanye West’s smooth Chicago voice, I thought to myself, I can do it. I repeated this in my head so many times I had begun to believe it and I took a calculated step onto the ice before me. Almost immediately, I stumbled and fell, my chin striking the shocking coldness of the surface below. As I lay there, I contemplated the situation I was in. Had I made a mistake? Should I give up? Alas, was the whole idea of even attempting something new pointless? 


I pushed all those thoughts aside and carefully stood up, balancing upon the two tiny blades precariously. I could not give up, not when I was so close to succeeding. If I could not overcome an obstacle like this how would I ever expect to live out the wild successes of my dreams? No. I would not give up. I continued to skate and every time I fell I got right back up and continued to persevere, my balance becoming steadier and each step more agile.


The idea of personal confidence and how it can positively elevate one’s life has always been a concept I have held in high regard since. To me, it is that surge of confidence, and perhaps even cockiness, that fuels many of my everyday activities and interactions. Dear readers, personal confidence isn’t simply being proud of your accomplishments, but also having the confidence to bounce back after making a mistake. Even as I take to the ice in full hockey games now, I make mistakes every shift; it is the confidence in myself that allows me to continue playing hard and learn from those mistakes. After all, how can I expect to be confident in performing well at a task if I’m not even confident in myself? 


I expect to be hit with adversity and challenges as long as I push to improve myself in life. These challenges may knock me down but I can safely say that I am ready to be knocked down. Again and again.


This is Ben Nixon signing off.




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Kanye West Photo:

Other photo from myself



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7 thoughts on “This I Believe: Confidence

  1. Dear Ben,

    I reflexively checked the AP blog today, and expected to see my last post as the most latest one – so I was thoroughly surprised upon seeing so many new posts. As a big hockey fan, I instantly clicked onto your piece without even knowing what the assignment was; and I can proudly say I still have no idea what the hell Hunnisett told you to do, but you’ll get used to that.
    Your piece was quaintly powerful – it had a direct approach that showed your sincerety and honesty within your writing, and I applaud you for your initiative with your sentence structure innovation as well – each line was refreshingly syntactic and beautiful in composition.
    The personal connections you made to your own life were quite impactful, and it is evident that you have a strong voice as a personal writer.
    For improvement, I would suggest a better transition between different ideas. Your references to Kanye West and Vegas, while insightful, were jarring to read the first time. A better introduction and ease into relating the two to ice skating initially would’ve been beneficial.
    Overall, excellent job. You’ve peeked my interest into what the 10’s are up to this year, and it looks like we’ve got a good batch for next year. Please keep writing and perfecting your craft; your unique voice and style belong in this world.



    1. Dear Zaid,

      First of all, I would like to humbly thank you for taking the time to look over my post and offering your insights. It is always nice to meet another avid fan of hockey (go, Bruins, go) and I am happy that it is what originally attracted you to my post. Ms. Hunnisett also assured me that having an AP student as distinguished as yourself comment on a post was no easy feat and I am grateful.
      Your criticisms were incredibly helpful and I definitely plan to work on my transition between subjects. I can see how jarring and confusing it may seem to readers and will look to improve it. Your suggestion of simply adding an introduction to the topic will most likely be my solution.
      As for your compliments, once again I would like to say thank you. It was incredibly satisfying to read what you wrote upon waking up and I proceeded to go through the day with a boost of confidence.
      You are an excellent mentor and I will continue to work hard to perfect my voice in writing.



  2. Dear Ben,

    Reading your work was very enjoyable as your writing is beautifully crafted and flawless which enhanced the message you were trying to convey. Your belief is powerful and tells readers how confidence can help one overcome their obstacles, which is a skill I also believe is essential in life. The example used greatly supported your belief and helped give a reason why confidence is so important . The descriptive words used made what you were trying to convey easy to understand while keeping the essay simple, and it is described in a way which readers can connect to it. I related to this story very well, as I was once that same boy learning to skate and kept on falling, but I didn’t want to give up since skating brought joy to me.
    I suggest that you explain in depth how your ideas and examples connect to the idea of your belief in confidence, which will make your work more impactful for readers. At first, the quick transition into your ideas about Kanye West and Las Vegas were confusing, so if you were to better describe how it has helped form your belief readers may have a better understanding of the message.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your work and I am thrilled to read more of you in the future.



    1. Dear Zanir,

      First of all, thank you for taking time out of your weekend to read and analyze my piece. Your comments were very flattering and I appreciate being recognized for what I believe is my strongest skill as a writer- my vocabulary. Your ideas for improving my work made complete sense and I will most definitely make sure to work on my transitions between paragraphs in order to improve my writing. I can clearly see how readers may find it confusing, thusly affecting how they view my work.
      Praise from the brilliant minds of this class is always amazing to hear and your comment was no exception. Thank you once again for taking the time to fully understand my entry. Your thoughts are appreciated.

      Best wishes,

  3. Dear Ben,
    I am astounded by your use of vocabulary and thank you for expanding mine. While reading your piece, I came upon very powerful and tactful vocabulary, which enticed me to keep reading and provided depth in your narrative. Although you used several complex and complicated adjectives, they did not create a detached tone, but rather enhanced your voice. I strongly enjoyed your piece due to your voice; the way you explained your experience was very relatable. Everyone, a least once in their life, had come a cross a fearful situation, in which they had to display confidence. When I read your example, I began to think about the many times in life, where I overcame my fear with the power of confidence. Since you achieved this connection to the reader, it made this piece that much more powerful. Although the transitions were a tad bit confusing, I really enjoyed your reference to Kanye West and Las Vegas. The stylistic decision to include these references in your writing, was very entertaining and brought different perspectives and layers to your piece. Not only that, but that last sentence of your writing was very entertaining. I would say this because I had heard you several times use this phrase, in real life. Thus, I applaud this authenticity and realness that was shown with both the content, and the writing style. However, I was a bit confused with the mention of Las Vegas. With your introductory paragraph, I was expecting this whole narrative to be about ice skating and your experience with overcoming this fear. When you jumped into Las Vegas, it caught me off guard. Although I enjoyed the reference, I thought it was just a bit abrupt and took away from your main topic of skating. All in all, this narrative was highly intriguing and allowed me to understand you, as an individual, although I have known you since elementary.

    1. Dear Amanat,

      Damn, I remember elementary school. I think even then we were both quite proficient at writing and analyzing the works of others (the Percy Jackson series will always be one of my personal favourites). I say this because it is always nice to have someone you have known for a while look at your work due to the fact that you know they will be honest with you. Thusly, I thank you for your honesty. Your compliments regarding my piece were incredibly flattering. I take great pride in my vocabulary and was quite pleased upon seeing others take notice. I am also appreciative that you enjoyed my style of writing; it is a style that has been in the making since elementary and I am happy with how it has evolved and will continue to improve. Of course, in terms of improvement, I understand my how confusing it may be to a reader upon jumping from one topic to another and shall strive to better my transitions. All in all, your comments made complete sense and I hope you continue to help push my writing to even greater heights. As an individual who has seen how great of a writer you are, I thank you for your invaluable input.

      Best wishes,

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