Overcoming Obstacles Essay

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Overcoming Obstacles Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1085

  • Pages: 4

Overcoming Obstacles

After reading the article by Ms. Ann Harrington, “Where there is a will, there’s a way”, it opened my eyes and my way of thinking to a hold different level. I always wondered how people who have experienced some of the same levels of disappointment, setbacks, successes, and failures walk away with very different attitudes, circumstances and results (Werner, 2004). It has always been my belief that in order to overcome any obstacle in life, whether it’s professional or personal that it does come from within and it is a mind thing (Davies, 2009). Each individual really does control whether they succeed or fail; this is a very hard pill to swallow, because I haven’t quite grab the ability to do it yet, but I do know this is true. Just like the limits that we set on ourselves is the reason why some of us do fail. We tend to make mistakes and instead of owning up to them we want to blame others. The key here is just like mentioned in the article to be totally honest with ourselves. To be able to look at our situation and face the fact this was our own fault and do what we have to, to correct the situation. In the article the first thing Ms. Harrington talked about was resilience in the workplace (Absence Management: Annual Survey Report, 2011).

It was right on point, when I thought back on days when I worked outside the home, there was not much compassion from my employer whether his employees felt good physically, mentally, or spiritually (Davies, 2009). They were not concerned with anything about the employees except whether you came to work on time, you performed the duties of your job, you treated their customers fairly, and they were able to keep their stockholders happy. The bottom line was the bottom line and that was all they were concerned about. I do agree, that it’s very important for a person to have a good mental health not just about the It’s also important for someone to be able not only to encourage others but themselves as well, and for them to be able to be totally honest about their own personal strengths and weaknesses. To be able to look at a bad or mundane situation and make it better. Not just looking at what others can do to make it better, but what can they do, and what we need to do, to turn the situation around. I find that too many higher ups look for the people who work under them to put their thoughts in action when things get rough, but what they don’t understand, when times are rough that when they throw themselves in the work force and roll up their sleeves to help their employees get things back on track.

When they get involved like that it tends to change the way the workers feel not only about their but about management too. It gives the employees the secure feeling that they can admit that they have flaws, they will make and have made mistakes, that they are not perfect, but that they will learn from them and that life does go on. Also, not everyone will not like them, agree with their ideas, or feel about them the way they feel about themselves, but once again they must be able to recognize that life goes on and they will survive. My favorite quote has always been “What doesn’t kill me, will make me stronger (Nietzsche, 1888). Everyone doesn’t understand that, but you must be able to look at all of life’s situations and look for the good in them; not being able to do this is a major reason for people getting depressed and committing suicide,they begin to feel overwhelmed and don’t see a way out. This is why I feel the United States Armed forces have failed so many of its employees/soldiers. You cannot treat all of these individuals the same, they come from different backgrounds, family values, cultures, and set of morals and principals. These are individuals that may have had struggles of trying to be their own person, not being shown love, just trying to find that place where they fit in, or just trying to find their way. When you try to use the army’s method where no one is different everyone is the same, they may do some good for a while in that position; but what happens to a soldier when he comes home, gets hurt and can no longer do the job that you so strategically trained him/her for.

Too me, this is sort of a brainwashing system, everything that these people were taught and believed in has been washed away to believe what you want them too. When it’s time for them to return to their lives before you entered into it, they wonder why the world has changed; and it’s hard for them to believe that it’s not just the world, but them as well. In order for a person to survive and end up on their feet, no matter what you need to be flexible(tugade et, al, 2004), and adaptable, just like the article says. Life changes and so do we, more than we would like to admit. I have had to failed marriages, one was a drunker and abusive, and the next one thought he was the smartest person on earth and a womanizer. When I realized that it was me who was going through all this pain, and I was not doing my children any good by putting them through all of that, I ended it. It hurt me to leave the first time, I was young and had never been on my own before; but what you call resilience I call just being plain stubborn. You have to have some sort of confidence in yourself, be able to trust yourself to make good sound decisions, have one or two people in your corner that will help you make rational decisions, love of yourself and above all your trust, love and belief in GOD.

REFERENCES

Harrington, Anna Occupational Health; Mar 2012 64, 3; AB1/Inform Complete
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Overcoming Obstacles Essay

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Overcoming Obstacles Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 432

  • Pages: 2

Overcoming Obstacles

For the majority of my academic career failure was not something to which I was accustomed. I had never really struggled in any particular subject and I was able to succeed with relatively little effort. This changed my freshman year of high school. I had always taken classes for the academically “gifted” and thought myself to be quite capable; however, I found myself on the verge of failing multiple classes. I assumed this was something every high school student experienced until I received my class rank halfway through the year and I realized how far I was from the academic standing I had known. This wakeup call is what drove me to make a change in how I approached my education. I started by analyzing my schedule. I had been trying to balance multiple honors and AP classes, band, work, Boy Scouts, and socializing. Between attempting to juggle these activities and get enough sleep, I realized I was in way over my head. I needed to reorganize my priorities. The problem was that there were just so many things I wanted to do, but I was not dedicating enough time to the things that needed the most work. With this in mind I established a plan to not do anything else until everything school related was completed. However, once I put my plan into action, it was not long until I realized that I just could not completely give up my social life.

So, I suggested to my friends that instead of just hanging out, we could use the time to study as a group instead. We discovered that each of us had different strengths and that the material being studied could be understood more completely as we explained it to each other. I also learned that I needed to break down academic tasks into more manageable pieces. I did not have to attack the whole problem all at once. I set daily checkpoints on long term assignments and class reading requirements. By reaching these intermediate goals, the challenges that I previously thought insurmountable were actually quite achievable. This mindset helped me regain my confidence and live more positively. This in turn helped me to focus, improve my grades, and gain a greater level of understanding. What I gained from this experience was also applicable to the rest of my life. I learned to set priorities, develop my work ethic, drive towards academic and personal goals, and value the importance of working together on a team.

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Overcoming Obstacles Essay

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Overcoming Obstacles Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1805

  • Pages: 7

Overcoming Obstacles

In our daily lives, too often do we judge others based solely on their appearance; whether it’s by the clothes that a person is wearing or even the color of their skin. The essence of Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue and Peter Marin’s Helping and Hating the Homeless is that in society, we are quick to judge others, categorizing them based upon pre-assumptions which are hardly true. Chinese American novelist Amy Tan shares her most intimate experiences of growing up with a mother who did not speak fluent English, and how she witnessed first hand how this shaped the treatment her mother received from others. Marin discusses the contradictory views that society has on the homeless, immediately dismissing the negative stereotypes about the homeless. These negative stereotypes are portrayed by the American society, as well as the media, who consistently portray people as they wish.

Throughout Amy Tan’s essay, she describes living at home with a “private” or “limited” English, while using a “different” or “standard” English in public, even though she never noticed a difference most of her life. While most people would say they understand little to none of her mother’s English, Tan claims, “to me my mother’s English is perfectly clear, perfectly natural. It’s my mother’s tongue,” (Tan 62). Although most people- including herself- would call her mother’s English “broken” or “limited”, she strongly dislikes these terms and feels as if these terms directly reflect the way people perceive her mother. She recalls a time when her mother took a CT scan which revealed a brain tumor.

During another visit to the hospital , her mother received the results, in which the hospital claimed they lost it and had sympathy for her. Her mother stated “she said she would not leave until the doctor called her daughter…….lo and behold- we had assurances that the CAT scan would be found, promises that a conference call on Monday would be held, and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake” (Tan 63). This is a perfect example of how people mistreat others, especially if they do not speak “standard” english. As a result, the doctors don’t believe Tan’s mother to be as smart as they are, when in reality she “reads the _Forbes_ report, listens to _Wall Street Week,_ and converses daily with her stockbroker” (Tan 62).

Peter Marin discusses the negative stereotypes that society places on the homeless, and how contradictory their perceptions are. He recalls a time when he was in Santa Barbara for a council meeting, and remembers how astounded he was at the fear he could sense in the council’s voices. “One by one they filed to the microphone to curse the council and castigate the homeless. Drinking, doping, loitering, panhandling, defecating, urinating, molesting, stealing- the litany went on and on, was repeated over and over, accompanied by the fantasies of disaster: the barbarian hordes at the gates, civilization ended” (Marin 168). Again, Marin emphasizes the fear, confusion, indifference and anger that the people had towards the homeless, but then realized the problem begins with the term homeless itself. He explains how the term is so abstract, and applies to various different people with different stories, yet society simply generalizes the homeless and forces them all into one category. With all of the negative stereotypes that it instills fear into the people.

However, according to Marin what most people do not realize is that before many of the homeless were actually homeless, they lived normal lives just like ourselves, many coming from the working or middle class. We do not understand this because they are so marginalized that we just dismiss them as being lazy, and assume that it is their own fault that they are homeless. Instead of judging them, we should try to reflect, since they were either forced into homeless by society, or simply by choice. Either way it is society’s fault, because if they chose to be homeless, that means they felt like they did not belong in society.

One of Marin’s students interviewed a woman who was looking around a dumpster, who to his surprise, was a former school teacher from Chicago. Her name was Alice, and she lived a normal life until she was raped, resulting in her being institutionalized and eventually leading her to spiral out of control. “Even more disturbing is the fact that it is often our supposed sources of support-family, friends, government organizations- that have caused the problem in the first place…..Her homelessness can be seen as flight, as failure of will or nerve, even, perhaps as a disease. But it can also be seen as a mute, furious refusal, or self-imposed exile far less appealing to the rest of us than ordinary life, but _better_, in Alice’s terms.” (Marin 171). Although Alice is homeless now, she indeed lived a normal life but was traumatized by a catastrophic event, leading her to be more comfortable in a homeless lifestyle where she feels that she can assert more control over herself. Alice’s story is a strong one, showing that you can never judge a book by its cover.

Both Amy Tan and Peter Marin discuss stories which emphasize looking beyond judging a person’s exterior, beyond the stereotypes that are often portrayed in the media and American mainstream. In many popular T.V. shows and movies, both homeless people and non-fluent English speakers are portrayed in negative aspects. MAD T.V’s “Ms. Swan” portrays a Chinese-American woman who speaks “broken English”, and her character is often confused, misled, or

temperamental in the skits. The audience laughs when they see that Ms. Swan does not understand what is going on, or how to work an ATM machine. These negative portrayals not only affect Asian-Americans, but other people who do not speak English fluently as well. It gives America the idea that non-fluent English speakers are not as intelligent, and can easily be taken advantage of. Negative portrayals of homeless people are seen in the media as well, and the scariest part is that the very first portrayal that most people will see in their lives is when they are children. The notorious “Oscar the Grouch” from _Sesame Street_ has to be the most famous homeless character in the media. He is filthy, grouchy, lazy, and lives in a trashcan. If these stereotypes are instilled in the minds of children, it becomes a direct correlation with homeless people they see and most likely perceive them in a negative way.

These children do not know that many homeless people were once normal like their parents, but because nobody ever talks about that, it frightens them. It is such a frightening thought because having such commonalities with a marginalized group gives the idea that it can _happen to anybody_; which indeed, it can. Of course, children aren’t thinking of all of this when they see the funny green monster on television, and the audience of MAD TV isn’t thinking that non-fluent English speakers are dumb at the time they are watching these shows. However, people subconsciously soak all of it in, and it affects the way they perceive others in their everyday lives;whether they realize it or not. It is clear that the media is at fault for such prejudice thinking in American society.

I have witnessed such prejudices over countless times, and I blame stereotypes and the media for perpetuating such destructive thinking in American society. At first glance, most people mistake me for being white, when in reality I have Mexican, Spaniard, and Chumash Indian blood pumping through my veins. My father speaks fluent Spanish, but his light skin and blue eyes often mislead others, just as my light complected features do the same. I recall a time in high school when I was hanging out with the “popular” kids on the weekend at a restaurant, and our waiter spoke very poor English.

When the waiter left, one of the caucasian boys began making fun of the waiter, saying things like “He should go back to his country where they understand his language”. I was so disgusted and repulsed by his comment, that he was shocked and nervous when I called him out on his racial slur. I was offended because many of my family members don’t speak perfect English either, but they are just as smart as those who do speak perfect English. A few of the other kids sided with me, and those were the ones I continued to hangout with. I refuse to surround myself with ignorant people who don’t think for themselves and are quick to judge others.

In order to overcome these obstacles of prejudice and false misconceptions about others, we must educate ourselves and become socially aware. One must look past the silly things they watch on television, and instead see the world and others through their own; not the preprogrammed American mainstream one. We must stop judging others based on their appearance, and acknowledge the fact that they are human beings too, just as much as we ourselves are. Both Amy Tan and Peter Marin went into great depth on the misconceptions we have of others, providing personal experiences they have had to help us see the bigger picture. In Mother Tongues, Amy recalls the times when her mother was mistreated due to her inability to speak “standard” English, others confused her accent and did not believe she was as smart as they were.

In Helping and Hating the Homeless, Peter Marin provides insightful personal stories of homeless people to show us that they don’t fit the awful stereotypes that American society often projects upon them. The American society is clearly at fault for these misconceptions about people, perpetuating a system of prejudice and ignorance through the media. In order to overcome this, we must learn about each other rather than lazily categorizing others. Instead of looking at what makes us different, we should try and see what makes us more alike instead, getting to know one another before making any hasty judgements.

Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue”. Beyond Borders: A Cultural Reader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print.

Marin, Peter. “Helping and Hating the Homeless”. Beyond Borders: A Cultural Reader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print.

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