Introductory Reflective Essay

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” — Michelangelo Buonarroti. Michelangelo of Italy was easily the greatest artist of the Renaissance, with his hand in painting, sculpture, architecture, and poetry. To this day he is undoubtedly one of the greatest artist of all time, and a lot of his work is considered to be of the most popular in the world. Do you think Michelangelo was able to accomplish this feet by setting goals he felt that he would be able to confidently achieve? Michelangelo was an artist with a mind set on achieving greatness. He was also well aware of the fact that if he were to set goals that were inside his range of artistic capabilities, greatness and history books would be something Michelangelo would fall short of. It is important that we aim high while setting goals. By setting goals that may seem unreachable at first, people who end up falling short of these high asperations often find themselves in a better position than they would by reaching an originally low aiming goal. Succesfully reaching these steep goals presents a sense of acomplishment and tranquility that is second to none.

Despite the vast majority of people today not having the mind capacity of the late Michelangelo, his quote holds true. We all need to set goals we think are a little outside of our own personal reach, even if they do not compare with what Michelangelo was able to accomplish. We are all working toward some form of achievement and success, and setting goals is what keeps us on the road to fulfilment. This theme of relentlessly driving to achieve one’s individual or even group goals can be found in each of my essays encompassed by this portfolio. Whether it be a homeless Indian in the state of Washington trying to recover a family heirloom, a young amateur golfer trying to prove himself against the world, a team trying to bring back a city’s century long sense of forgotten victory, or even a new coach trying to renew a jersey’s tarnished reputation, each has set out to navigate a bumpy road in hopes of achieving the rewards of a goal that awaits them at the road’s end. No one said it would be easy or guaranteed success. However, it is certain that despite the journey’s conclusion each will find themselves in a position they can be proud of, and end up in a place far greater than that of which a safety goal would award.

My first essay, “Working to Find our Own Regalia, The Pursuit of Culture, Freedom, and Self Worth”, is a story about a desperate and homeless Indian’s quest to regain a family heirloom. Jackson Jackson accepts the improbable task of raising nine hundred and ninety nine dollars within twenty four hours after spotting a long lost family powwow regalia in a Washington State pawn shop window. Determined to regain possession of his grandmother’s regalia, Jackson would have to work harder than he ever has the great majority of his life. Even if his method of work is unorthodox compared to what you or I would deem traditional in society. This however did not dissuade him from setting this impossibly high goal. Despite ultimately falling short, Jackson finds himself rewarded in a way he could have never seen coming if not for his relentless drive for success. Twenty-year-old Francis Ouimet, an unlikley American amatuer golfer, finds himself in a similar situation, where he would go up against the golfing world as America’s last glimmering flame of hope. He set the steep goal of winning his first appearance in a professional golf tournament at the 1913 U.S Open Championship. Facing every possible form of adversity that society could throw at an amatuer golfer, whose working-class family background deemed him unfit to partake in this Gentleman’s game in the eyes of the golfing society, Ouimet fought nonstop to seize this goal. His determination and focused view of his overall goal would help him ultimately defy all the odds found in my second essay “The Greatest Game Ever Played, A Nation’s Unexpected Flame”. The third essay in my portfolio, “Drive for Success, The Addiction of Sports”, is an annotated bibliography with a compilation of summaries based on various articles about sports news in America. From the Cubs bringing salvation home to Chicago, Dak Prescott’s mind blowing break-out rookie season, to the controversial black jerseys of UGA, it is an intriguing and visual literary work that covers the journey of teams and individuals on their hopeful quests of achieving their various goals.

This portfolio definitely didn’t come together overnight. Writing has never really been one of my strong suits, and usually forces me to labor over my literary works for what seems like way longer than the amount of time they should take to complete. I almost had an anxiety attack when I found out the amount of work needed to complete my portfolio, and honestly didn’t think I would actually be able to get it all done. However, the theme of relentlessly driving to achieve a set goal would come to be my saving grace. I seem to have never been able to actually indulge myself in the topics I have been assigned to write about and become genuinely excited about them. That was until this project. I was finally provided with the opportunity to talk about some things that truly intrigue me, and I was able to tie them to an overall theme I really believe in.

Adventure being one of them, Sherman Alexie’s “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” provided me with the story of Jackson Jackson’s wild adventurous quest to achieve his goal of regaining possession of a long lost family heirloom. This short story immediately grabbed my attention, and made the process of writing my first essay less stressful than usual. Sports are also something that I have been drawn to ever since I can remember, and I saw them as the perfect way to actually squeeze some enjoyment out of writing. Every athlete, no matter the sport, sets out at the beginning of the season with at least one goal in mind, and other goals are often set as seasons unfold. Sports also provide us with a great enticing visual representation of the journey it takes to achieve our goals. This went perfectly with my portfolio’s theme, and allowed me to incorporate sports into my second and third essays. Writing about my favorite historic golf event and making an annotated bibliography following the most current stories in American sports news were the first times I found joy in writing.

The adventurous journey of Jackson Jackson and my love of sports are what enabled me to complete this portfolio. They also created an entertaining way for me to convey the importance of goal setting and the pursuit of achievement to my readers. I hope that people will enjoy reading all of the work that went into this project, and that it ultimately inspires the reader to set high goals for themselves to enrich their lives. For what feels like the first time, I can confidently say I am proud of something I have written.

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