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As a child I acted as if I was in my own little world and did not seem to care about anyone else. However, there is one memory that is so vivid in my mind because I remember it was the day when I received the most important piece of advice in all my life. My father said to me that it did not matter how many times I fell to the ground, but what was really important were the number of times I picked myself back up and continued on with the same determination that I once had as a young child. The first time I remember these words of advice coming in handy was when I joined my first soccer team. I was the smallest kid on the team and it showed through my lack of enthusiasm to tackle some of the other players. It did not matter to me that I was the smallest player because what I lacked in size I sure made up with grit and determination. Because of my stature within the team, both figuratively and literally, I had to work hard to even get noticed, whereas other players seemed to have a much easier job getting the attention of the coach. There was one time that I remember just like it was yesterday. I was sent onto the field to play a game during a thunderstorm. My team was trailing and I was expected to change the course of the game for my team. At one stage the ball fell to me right in front of the opposing goal but I slipped during the moment I had a chance to become a hero. I felt so disappointed that I had let the team down, but ultimately I was dismayed with myself. Even though the field was very slippery that day, I could not blame the poor weather conditions for falling to score the goal. I picked myself up and wiped all the dirt and mud off my face. As I was doing that, I could hear my father whisper those words of advice in my ear. I knew then that I had to make a choice, and I chose to forget about what happened and continue like the incident had never occurred. I threw myself at every ball that came near me and I was determined to turn the game around for my team. At the end of the game, we had turned things around. The game was won and I felt vindicated for choosing to forget about what happened and focus on the task at hand. As I was walking off the field, I glanced toward my father and saw him nod in approval. Another time where my father's words of advice proved invaluable was when I was failing some of my courses at school. I admit that I did not put in the effort required in order to do well, but this does not mean that I did not care about my schoolwork. I could have chosen the path of continuing to be toward the lower end of my class academically, but I decided to put in place some steps that would help me to improve my grades. First of all, I asked questions of the teachers whenever I was unsure about something or did not understand it fully. I began to take notes during class and I would go over them in my spare time. There were occasions when I even stayed back after school to study some of the subjects that I was doing poorly in. It took me about a semester to pull up my grades, but I think it was worth it in the end. There was a lot of hard work involved, and I had to change my attitude toward learning. Admitting weakness and seeking out improvement is not an easy thing to accomplish, but the words of my father helped me to see that I had the option of turning things around and that is what I did. Since I was a child, I would say that I am still similar in many ways; however, one thing that has changed has been that I am much more focuser now than I ever was. I have done this by setting achievable goals and then putting plans in motion that will help me to accomplish them. As my father once said, the times you fall are not important, it is only the times you get back up that
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