A Personal Memoir Reflection Using the Book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell
It’s my Time to Make a Decision
A life changing dilemma has recently arisen between two of the most important things in my life: soccer and running. Each year of high school has increased the seriousness of my attitude toward soccer and running. I had taken a more relaxed and casual approach to the sports during elementary and middle school. I have always been a good athlete, and once I focused on these sports, I excelled. This year created additional conflict, since my coaches and teachers continue to expect more from me in each activity. I have placed immense pressure upon myself to date, and now a decision on how best to manage my choices and still succeed in school must be made.
Decisions take time to consider. Especially when I know that these decisions can affect the rest of my high school career. I have to make sure that I am choosing the best path for my life, as opposed to another’s view. I have come to realize this after spending long hours talking to my friends and my parents about what I wanted, and what I needed to do. It became apparent to me that I still desired to do well in school while at the same time challenging myself in my sports. The difficult part is being successful with those endeavors.
“What people say about themselves can also be very confusing, for the simple reason that most of us aren’t very objective about ourselves” (38). This quote seems to fit me well. I spent all summer thinking about my decision, knowing that I didn’t have to make the final decision about whether I would focus on running or playing soccer until after soccer tryouts. Even after soccer tryouts, I didn’t know completely what I wanted to do with sports while moving forward with life. Spending time thinking about my choices didn’t actually help me in the decision making process. I needed to weigh all factors having to do with sports and school. I already had a good understanding of what cross country was going to expect of me, because I had been on varsity the previous year, but I had no idea what to expect from varsity soccer, because I had only participated on the JV team the previous year. I didn’t know if I would get any playing time on varsity this year for soccer, and I knew for sure that I would run varsity for cross country. After thinking about the complications of playing two varsity sports at once, school became a big factor in my decision; as it is another important part of my life.
I had talked to my mom and dad, but all they could tell me was that I’m very good at both cross country and soccer, that I need to follow through with everything that I take on, to the best of my ability, and also that they wanted me to continue to get excellent grades in school. This was the same view that they have instilled in me since I started school and sports back in Kindergarten. They didn’t provide me with any special insight, that I hadn’t already expected from them. Gladwell says”…to force them to be – to ask too much of them – is to render their reactions useless” (186). I really didn’t want to ask my parents to make the decision for me, but if I forced the issue as to what they thought best, I may not have appreciated their immediate reaction. They always want what is best for me, and only I know what I felt may be the best choice at the time.
After actually making the varsity soccer team, I decided that I couldn’t quit that sport, as in the off season I also play club soccer. I also knew that I couldn’t quit the cross country team either, since we were hoping to make a serious run at the state title for both soccer and cross country. Both teams need me to be there at practices and games or meets; thus, creating better team chemistry and improving each other one day at a time. The downfall of trying to be everywhere at once is that I can only be in one place at a time. Gladwell says “There are, I think, two important lessons here. The first is that truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking” (141). My instinct was to participate in everything: school, running, soccer, and even dealing with family matters. On the other hand, my deliberate thinking said that it would be too difficult to get everything done. I shouldn’t be able to possibly be successful in everything I set out to do; yet, somewhere I knew that I could be successful.
Against most people’s better judgment, I decided to run varsity cross country and play varsity soccer for school, while trying to keep straight A’s. I have weighed the pros and the cons; I have talked with my parents, siblings, and friends about what I should do; and I believe that I have come to the best final decision. I will enjoy my life the way I want to, even if that means I’m busy every hour of every day, with barely any free time. I know I will be proud of all of my accomplishments at the end of this year, as I work at doing my best in all endeavors. I am learning from my choices, and looking forward to successfully dealing with balancing all the activities and responsibilities that I’ve taken on throughout the year.