Proud to Be a “Try Hard”: A Teen’s Response to Jeff Yalden’s Latest Motivational Minutes


Have you ever been called a “try hard?” Have you ever been criticized for participating in too many things?  For being too good at something?  For dressing too nice?  As a high school senior in too many activities to fit on a one-page resume, I know just how this feels.  However, if you truly love what you do, criticism from those that Jeff Yalden refers to as “sheep” will bring forth a smile instead of a frown.

In all honesty, I am a “try hard,” and I am proud of it.  Truly, I believe that being a “try hard” is what makes one successful.  You can have the best grades or the worst grades in your class, but it doesn’t matter.  There are many valedictorians that have failed in life, and there are many dropouts that go on to greatness.  While I am not insinuating that you should go drop out, the labels placed on you by society have nothing to do with whether or not you will succeed.  Jeff had one of the lowest SAT scores in his state, but look where he is now!

I have been called a “try hard” on many occasions.  The best part is that when this criticism comes forth, it actually brings a smile to my face; I have worked so hard and set myself apart from others so much that others have noticed my actions, become jealous, and brought forth words that they believed would hurt me.  I clearly recall one recent incident this year when I dressed up for a student congress meet.  When I dress up for meets, I dress like a “try hard;” I am one of the few people in my school that wears a suit to events, and I feel that it shows just how much I care. However, one kid did not like it and asked me, “Why are you such a prep?”  Like the phrase “try hard,” the word “prep” is often used in negative connotation to those that dress nicely and put forth effort.  At this, I simply smiled, ready to laugh because he thought that this would hurt me.

To succeed, you must be a “try hard.”  Did Steve Jobs lay on the couch all day while someone else created the personal computer?  Did George Washington surrender America to the British because he would have to try too hard to defeat them?  No!  Every person with a success story has one thing in common: each was a “try hard.”

Here are just a few of the “try hards” that were bullied in high school: Chris Rock, Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox, Tiger Woods, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein.  Are these people losers?  If a former president, actors, the creator of Microsoft, and professional athletes are losers, then who are the winners?  Obviously not the ones that called them “try hards.”

The truth is that the term “try hard” is often brought forth by someone who is not compelled to do something great with his or her life.  I have never in my life heard someone that works as hard as me call someone else a “try hard;” they are “try hards,” and they acknowledge and proclaim it!  If you are one calling others “try hards,” why are you not a “try hard?”  Do you not feel that you can do something worthwhile in your life?  Even if you fail at something, it does not mean that you cannot succeed in the end.  Did Michael Jordan give up when he couldn’t even make his high school basketball team?  As my high school band director tells us, “It doesn’t matter where you start out; it only matters where you end up.”

While some teenagers instantly become saddened when they are called “try hards,” I am filled with happiness.  In my eyes, it is better to be a “try hard” than a bum.  If you are being called a “try hard,” this simply means that you are working so hard that others are acknowledging it.  If someone is better than you at something, do not criticize them and make yourself look like a “try not.”  Find what you enjoy and succeed in and follow your dreams.  Soon, others will be calling you a “try hard.”

Author:Brandon Schmuck, Teen Blogger for Youth Speaker, Jeff Yalden

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” Brandon Schmuck is a senior class president at Rockwood Area High School. He is an ambitious teen with a dream: to change the world. He plans on majoring in electrical and computer engineering and gaining a background in speaking, writing, business, and the arts. He dreams of becoming an influential business leader and changing the lives of millions through his words and products. He is inspired by his parents and his two younger sisters to be all that he can. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar as part of his high school’s jazz band and hitting up the greens during the summer. He loves to write and express his opinion and is an active member of student congress, speech, and Future Business Leaders of America. Online, he has an active presence as a teen blogger for youth motivational speaker, Jeff Yalden, and operates his own personal blog. He enjoys having an impact on those around him and is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, SADD, and Spanish Honor Society, where he helps at local food drives and school events. Brandon was first inspired by Jeff’s words at Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, where he heard him as a guest speaker. After hearing him, he knew that he had to bring him to his area. Despite the small size of his school, Brandon managed to gather the funding to bring him, while arranging for a neighboring school to come hear him also. Jeff’s words had an enormous impact on his school; students there were inspired to live their lives to the fullest and make the right decisions. Every day as he walks through the halls, he sees the impact that Jeff’s visit had on the students, as many of them continue to carry his messages with them by wearing his t-shirts. Prior to Jeff’s visit, Brandon published an article on his personal blog and his school’s website, describing what he had heard during Jeff’s speech at PFEW and how he managed to raise the funding for his visit. After reading it, Jeff hired Brandon as a teen blogger. Brandon admires the impact that Jeff has on others and hopes to someday carry the same impact himself.

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