Is Your Glass Half-full ?

Kobe Kaisei Girls' Middle School

@ gGood morningh

On waking up one morning last year, I suddenly found Ifd lost my voice. gOh, no! Whatfs the matter?h I tried to speak, but nothing came out.

The doctor diagnosed calluses on my vocal cords and advised me not to shout or sing. No singing? That was devastating news!

I loved singing and had been taking private lessons to fulfill my dream of becoming a famous singer. gWould I ever be able to sing again?h The door to my dream seemed to have been slammed shut.

At times like this, what might seem to others to be a minor problem, can feel like the end of the world for the person concerned. I never stopped to think about the people in this world who have no home, no food or water. All I could think about was my own pitiful situation. My glass was most certainly half empty!

Not wanting to give up on my dream, I practiced abdominal breathing and diction. But the harder I tried, the worse my voice became. It was impossible for me to sing, especially the high notes. Despite my best effort, I wasnft able to escape from the long dark tunnel and I felt envious of my friends, who had beautiful high-pitched voices.

Some months later I met Mrs. Yamamoto, a great voice trainer and suddenly felt a ray of sunshine come into my life. On hearing my story, she quickly asked, gWhy donft you make use of your unique low-pitched voice? Most girls have higher voices but you have a lower voice. Itfs your advantage. Train it and you can become special.h Her words encouraged me. Mrs. Yamamoto taught me how to develop my low voice and improve my singing skills. Gradually, I came to sing even better than before. As I developed my low voice, a surprising thing happened: I suddenly found I could reach the high notes, too!

One day I watched a TV documentary about two special dancers. The lady had only one arm and the man, only one leg. Theyfd each lost a limb in a car accident. However, instead of feeling sorry for themselves, theyfd taken up dancing. Now they were winning the first prize in a China Central Television dance competition. The title was gShe without an arm; he without a leg - Hand in Hand.h It was a breathtaking performance and must have taken tremendous courage and hard work to perform it to perfection. Clearly they had each made the most of their situation to achieve something wonderful. Even after their accidents, their glasses were never half empty, but half full.

Yes, we can change our weaknesses into strengths. These days, we often hear sad news. In Japan, about one hundred people die from suicide every day. If we dwell on our misfortune, life can seem unbearable. After losing my voice, all I could think about was my terrible loss. However, now I realize that I could turn a negative occurrence into a positive one by changing my way of thinking. From my experience I learned that gAn optimist thinks the glass is half-full, while a pessimist thinks the glass is half-empty.h

Despite my doctor telling me that I can never be completely cured, I still truly believe that my glass is half-full.

(3-24 Speech in 66th Contest, 2014)

(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun

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