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Hard Work and Perseverance

11/05/2013 1 comment

This is an essay I wrote in my freshman year of college. It’s not the best, but I decided to post it here anyway. Enjoy!

I believe that hard work and perseverance will result in success. With hard work and perseverance you can do so many things in your life. I have played tennis now for twelve years, and it is definitely a huge part of my life. I have been through very hard times and I have sacrificed for my tennis career a lot, and it’s allowed me to be a stronger, better and more successful person.

As a child, when I played, it was just because my parents wanted me to play tennis, but as I got older, it became more about the sport. The thrill, the challenge, the excitement – I lived for it all. First two years were just for fun. I practiced twice a week and did not think about a professional tennis career. After two years of playing in a big group with bunch of other kids, my coach said to my parents that I am actually very talented player and he sees a potential. That is when I started taking tennis more seriously. That is when the hard work and perseverance started. I was eleven years old when I won my very first tennis tournament. I still can remember that day: I cried, my mom cried and my dad cried. I remember how happy I was and how happy my parents were. After that one win I started to believe that I can be a professional tennis player, and I also got an amazing feeling from my first win that I wanted to win more and more.

I have sacrificed because of my tennis career a lot, and not only me, my whole family. We have moved three times just to give me better opportunities to improve in better conditions. I lived and practiced six months in Czech Republic. I was there by myself, without my parents, friends and far away from home, and I was only fifteen. I have also had to say “No” to a lot of things, like going to movies with my friends, parties and a lot of other things. But I do not regret anything. All these things have made me so many new friends. Just because of my tennis career, I have been to more than twenty different countries around the world. Like in any sport, you can win or lose. I have had so many tough losses in my career, but I feel like they only made me stronger. There were times when I did not have confidence. There was no doubt that the only way to gain self-confidence would be to practice. I began to understand that I couldn’t get much farther without hard work, determination, and perseverance.

So here I am, 20 years old, living and studying in one of the greatest countries in the world, America, and it is all because of my hard work and perseverance in tennis. I am blessed that I have a chance to get a good education and play tennis for college at the same time. I am very thankful to my parents for everything they have done for me. I really like what Steve Jobs once said: “Your time is limited, so do not waste it living someone else’s life. Do not be trapped by dogma – which is living with the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the voice of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” You have to want to be successful and get better in anything you do in your life. You have to be determined. It means spending hours on the court, practicing. It means never giving up. It means when you miss a shot or make a bad decision, you come back even stronger, knowing that in order to succeed, you must first fail. That is what I have learned from my college tennis coach Brett Bridel, and I will never forget his words.

I want to be the best. I want to go far and be successful. I have goals. Only with hard work, determination and perseverance I can do all that. As Donald Trump once said: “I like thinking big. If you are going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.” I also liked what great basketball player Tim Duncan once said: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” These two quotes are one of my all time favorite, and they motivate me a lot.

Defining Religion

When Estonians were recently asked whether religion played an important part in their life, only 20% said yes. It suggests the Baltic country is, statistically, the least religious country in the world (BBC news, 26 August 2011). I am from Estonia, and I have to be honest, I never had interest in religion, never read the Bible and never went to church before, but college classes like culture and civilisation (history) and theology made me realize how interesting its philosophy is. The most interesting part of religious and historical studies is definitely learning about God. But who is God really? There are other questions that interest me and make me want to know more about: What is religion really and what is relationship between religion and science?

I believe that religion is just something that helps us along. It’s like a parental figure. Something that can guide you along in your life, step by step. Some people say God is not religion, but to me, He is. To me, God is a mystery. Although the Bible does not contain a formal definition of “God,” (as it also does not seek to prove His existence formally), yet His Being, attributes and characteristics are seen on every page of  the Bible. There are theologians who believe God is in heaven and that life of heaven is also present on earth. I do have a faith in God and sometimes I do ask for the help, but I am not very passionate about the religion overall. I do not go to church and normally, I do not read the Bible, but I do believe in God. God is someone who helps me go through the hard times. Sometimes I feel that God has let me down or that he did not answer to my prayers in times that I most needed him, but then I realise that everything happens for a reason and everything God does is for a reason.  I believe that God helps me all the time. For me, God is life. God is light. God is love. God is a friend. God is faithful. God is the creator of the world. God is good and wants only good to human kind. This is how I see God.

As Albert Einstein wrote in his book ”The World as I See It”: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” The relationship between religion and science has been a subject of study since a very long time ago and is still a very common topic. Science can both falsify and and verify claims of religion. One of the most notorious examples was the medieval Church’s condemnation of Galileo for his holding that the Earth moves around the sun rather than vice versa. Also, there were times when the brightest minds in the world thought that earth was flat or that the atom was the smallest thing until it was split open and even smaller things came up. I am not denying evolution, but I just think that there might be a possibilities that some new theories will come up and science will totally change. Since I raised a question of evolution theory, it made me want to know more and I did some research on that, and I found two interesting (and funny) quotes by a great author Richard Dawkins: “Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours.” Second quote: “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

There are a lot of different religions and religious groups in the world that people follow. Some people believe, some people do not. This is the way it is going to be, possibly forever. I don’t think that the rise of scientific authority will lead to a decline in religion. Like I said in my introduction, I was never interested in religion, but I learned so much while writing this paper and to be honest, it really is an interesting field. I am going to end my paper with the quote by Dalai Lama XIV: “The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness.”

My thoughts on Les Misérables (2012) movie

“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.” – Victor Hugo. As soon as Les Misérables movie came out in DVD at my university library, I rented it and watched it right away. I still remember when I first saw this trailer in the movie theater in the summertime. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to see it. One of the best musicals ever made takes to the big screen in a massive production with a fantastic cast, including some of my favourite actors like Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and others. I have been looking forward to this film for so long now, and to start it certainly did not disappoint.Pilt

The beginning and the ending part of the movie was definitely my favourite. In the middle of the movie, at some point it did get a little boring but I never had a thought that I should stop watching the movie. Because I saw the trailer for the movie, I was definitely looking forward to Anne Hathaway’s performance of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. I was captured by her emotional rendition of ‘I Dream a Dream’! By far, the most emotional performance that I’ve seen from an actress. I was shocked when I found out that all the performances in the movie were sang live. All the actors did such a great job with their performances, and they all deserve a lot of recognition. Of course, Anne Hathaway got her Oscar for best supporting actress which she obviously deserved, but another great actress from the movie deserved a lot of recognition (perhaps even an Oscar), it was Samantha Barks, who played Eponine. Her performance of the song ‘On My Own’ was just incredible. I still listen to it on my iPod all the time. My absolute favourite scene from the movie was the ‘Master of The House’ by Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Madame Thénardier (Helena Bonham Carter). I loved the whole cast, but they definitely stole the show. The scene was funny and very well done.

In conclusion, this movie was definitely one of the best movies of the year (if not the best) and I can’t wait to see it again. For me, this movie is like ‘Titanic’, I will probably watch it again many times in the future. The movie was long but I never got bored. Les Misérables is not just a story with a message, it is a realistic account that brought France to its senses and influenced the entire French Revolution.

My view on Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘Girl Before a Mirror’

10/05/2013 1 comment

“What do you think an artist is? …he is a political being, constantly aware of the heart breaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.” said Pablo Picasso. I chose to write my another postPilt about Pablo Picasso’s great painting called ”Girl Before a Mirror” which he painted in 1932. I went over the paintings many times and that was definitely my favourite. Pablo Picasso is definitely one of my favourite painters and sculptors of all time. He’s done some amazing works during his career. Picasso demonstrated uncanny artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence; during the first decade of the twentieth century his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas (pablopicasso.org). As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, and the great painting ”Girl Before a Mirror” was actually painted during Picasso’s cubism period.

For me, ”Girl Before a Mirror’ is a painting that talks about reflections of self; how we see ourselves versus how others see us; or the duality of our natures. There are so many levels you can use to spur creativity and critical thinking about Picasso’s paintings. I can also imagine this Picasso painting in a philosophy class or any venue in which people are wrestling with what constitutes a self.  The woman on the painting is Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso’s youthful mistress and favored model in the 1930s.  Picasso shows her both in profile and frontally as she peers into a mirror that reflects a woman she is not. I see a beautiful pregnant woman with a perky and round breasts who is looking at her reflection in the mirror but seeing it as her future reflection. In her reflection in the mirror, she sees that her body is aged and she is not very happy about it. I just love the paintings that when you look at them, you don’t get the meaning of the painting right away; instead we have to look deeper and deeper inside the painting to get the real meaning. Sometimes when I look at his paintings, I start imagine things that are actually not there and that’s exactly what Picasso does in his paintings, and that’s why he is one of my favourite painters of all time. This is what he said many times during his interesting life: “Everything you can imagine is real.”

A lot of people didn’t like Pablo Picasso as a person because of his problematic life but a lot of people definitely liked and respected his art. He rewarded art not just with his creative and unique styles, but also with the innumerous paintings, drawings, sculptures he produced. His painting ”Girl Before a Mirror” is just one example of how talented he was. I really love his work and the way he painted. I am going to finish my essay with a quote by him which definitely reflects his style and his work: “If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse… but surely you will see the wildness!”

Paulo Coelho: ‘We are all perfectly imperfect’

What I learned in life is,

That no matter how good a person is,
sometimes they can hurt you & because of this we must forgive.

It takes years to build trust and only seconds to destroy it ..
We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change..

The circumstances and the environment influence on our lives,
but we are the one who responsible for ourselves..

That you have to control your acts or they will control you..

That patience requires much practice.. that there are people who love us,
but simply don’t know how to show it..

That sometimes the person you think will hurt you and make you fall..
Is instead one of the few who will help you to get up..

You should never tell a child that dreams are fake, it would be a tragedy if they knew..

It’s not always enough to be forgiven by someone,
in most cases you have to forgive yourself first..

That no matter in how many pieces your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop to fix it ..

May be God wants us to meet all the wrong people first before meeting the right one..
So when we finally meet the right one we are grateful for that gift ..

When the door of happiness closes, another door opens..
but often we look so long at the closed one.. we don’t see what was open for us ..

The best kind of a friend is the kind in which you can sit on a porch and walk…
Without saying a word & when you leave it feels it was the best conversation you ever had.

It’s true we don’t know what we have until we find it, but its also true,
we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives..

It only takes a minute to offend someone, an hour to like someone,
a day to love someone, but it takes a life time to forget someone.

Don’t look for appearances, they can be deceiving, don’t go for wealth even that can fade,
Find someone who makes you smile, because it only takes a smile to make a day better,
find what makes your heart smile..

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much..
that you wish you can take them out of your dream and hug them for real..

Dream what you want, go wherever you want to go.. because you have only one life..
and one change to do the things you want to do ..

The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything,
they just make the best of everything that comes their way.

The best future is based on the forgotten past..

You can’t go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

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