Starting easy

The following speech won 1st place in the JHS Prefectural Speech Contest 2009. It was written by Hiroki Kogita from Nishisemboku Higashi Junior High School.

Starting easy

What time does everyone wake up in the morning? Me? Actually, I'm not a morning person. During the holidays I could not wake up at 7 o'clock even if my alarm clock was ringing. I could only get up at 8, but by this time, the other members of my family had already finished breakfast. I worry that this bad habit is preventing my ability to think creatively because I am so sleepy all the time.

When I do anything, I need instructions or I can copy what is around me, but I can never create anything new, like drawing or a story. Often I hear ideas that I admire but I feel I can never form my own. Why I am like this, I wonder? Maybe it is because I'm so tired, or maybe I was not born with it but if possible I want to try what I can to be more creative.

Recently, I discovered Carl Hilty, a famous Swiss philosopher. I was so impressed by his words. For example, he wrote, "Please begin as easy as possible, start anyway." Ah yes, that sounds simple enough. Start easy. And start small. Hilty insists that no matter what, you must begin anyway as you may discover something unexpected.

For example, when I was in my 3rd grade of elementary school, my friends encouraged me to join the baseball team with them. I had a feeling that I might not be good at it, but I joined anyway. Sure enough, I became a regular benchwarmer. But I did not quit. Actually I discovered that I was really good at cheering my friends and teammates on so now at Junior High School I am the Vice Head Cheerleader. Something I had never planned on doing.

In my research of Carl Hilty, I learned that he made a habit of taking his university classes early in the morning, at 7 o'clock every day. He believes that too much rest makes a person too exhausted, but so does not enough. And so I though to myself, to be a great thinker like Hilty, maybe I should be waking up at 7 o'clock to study every day?

No way! I thought. There's no way I could make up that early. But then I remembered, my grandparents who are farmers wake up at 5 every day to work on the rice fields before breakfast. So that makes me think, if they can do it, I know I must be able to too.

Soon enough, waking up early began to sound like a great idea. If I wake up early every day, I can enjoy my breakfast slowly. I can get dressed slowly. And I'll even have the time to double-check the things I need to bring to school. I think you can lead a pretty good life if you do not have to yawn so often. I also feel like I will be able to think more clearly and creatively once I am not so sleepy. You never know, maybe I will become Japan's next great philosopher!

So I am following Hilty's advice by starting simple and getting the right amount of sleep. And from my own experience, I know to never give up even if I do not succeed at first. I may not become a great thinker, like Hilty, but at least I can enjoy my breakfast.

Now waking up early is my first challenge.
Next, maybe it will be exercise!

See also