Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Be Yourself"

"This above all: To thine own self be true."

This famous quote was said by Polonius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. This phrase has inspired many forms of society, including politics, sports and music. It means to know yourself and be true to yourself. Following this little piece of advice will bring you peace and happiness. Also, being honest with yourself will lead you to become more honest with others, allowing yourself to be more credible and have more integrity. Being yourself and not trying to emulate someone else's personality will help you to find your own identity and allows you to live your life exactly the way that you want to live it. You will be more independent and more capable of making your own decisions. Remember that you do not need to follow in someone else's footsteps, that you have complete control over your own life. While we cannot control our environments or the actions of other people, we can control ourselves ("To thine own self be true"). The meaning of this quote is shown through many different mediums.

This phrase inspired Chris Cornell, the song writer and lead singer of Audioslave, to write the lyrics to "Be Yourself." This song was based off of personal experiences in his own life. The song explains how everyone is different and unique (Chris Cornell). Everybody has their own idea of what's right and wrong and finds happiness in their own way . The refrain goes on to say "To be yourself is all that you can do." Cornell says that it "came from a lot of things that I have gone through in life and a lot of changes and all the horrendously stupid mistakes I've made in my personal life, and wanting to be able to make up for those things" (Chris Cornell). It is not worth it to try to fight against who you are; we should just accept ourselves and become the best that we can possibly be. This song accurately depicts the meaning behind Shakespeare's famous quote.

"Seven Pounds"

This quote is often the theme in many movies, too. In "Seven Pounds," Will Smith plays the role of Tim Thomas, a very unique and independent person. Throughout the movie, Thomas stands up for what he believes in. He is just doing what he thinks is right and does not care what others think or say about him. After causing a car crash that killed seven people, including his fiancée, Thomas decides that to truly be happy he needs to dedicate his life to helping seven people dramatically improve their lives (Seven Pounds). He donates body organs to terminally ill people, some whom he does not even know. Tim Thomas does these things to help himself find inner peace, because he feels so dragged down by the guilt of causing the accident. He lives independently, often isolated from others and always on the move, trying to help others. Throughout the entire movie he works as hard as he can to become the best person that he can possibly be. He finds his inner self, and, right before he kills himself to provide two vital organs for people, he is finally happy and at peace with himself (Seven Pounds).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman was a hard-working linebacker who played for the Arizona Cardinals. In May 2002, Tillman was offered a $3.6 million contract. He turned this contract, feeling called to enlist in the military after the 9/11 attacks (Darnton). He left his seemingly perfect life- a multi-million dollar deal and newly married wife- to do what he felt was the correct path for him. Many people just didn't understand how someone could just give up the celebrity life to endanger their own life. Tillman did not care what others thought, though. He wanted to help his country in whatever way he could, which was through fighting against terrorism, not football (Patrick Daniel Tillman). Tillman knew himself well and knew what he expected of himself in life. He knew the possible consequences of going into the military but was so driven to help his country. Most people in the world would not have made the same decision that Pat made, but this is what made him unique. Sadly, while in Afghanistan, Tillman was killed by friendly fire. He is deservingly widely regarded as a national hero, one who was independent unmatched in his courage (Pat Tillman Biogrpahy).

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I personally have found that following this quote will make my life better. When I entered high school I, like many others, wanted to find a small group of people that I could fit into. I saw other people try to change their own personalities so that they would fit in better with a particular group of people. But I could not bring myself to change my identity for others. I figured out that I could just be myself and fit in with many different people. If someone does not accept me for who I am, then that is fine. But if someone did accept me for someone who I was pretending to be, then that is I would not feel right about it. I learned through my high school experience that staying true to yourself really is the key to being happy.

Ronald Reagan

The theme behind Polonius’s quote has also been seen in politics. Ronald Reagan is regarded today as one of the greatest presidents in American history. According to a 2001 CBS news report, Reagan received the most votes in a poll asking “Who do you regard as the greatest United States president?” (Lester) Reagan had some of the most unconventional ideas in presidential history. His plans were completely different from those of his predecessors. The policies of the presidents before him consisted mostly of raising taxes and increasing government spending to fix the country’s problems. Reagan’s policies, known as “Reaganomics,” were seen as unorthodox to the eyes of the public. He wanted to run the government his own way. He chose to follow is own route rather than imitating former presidents’ polices, saying “Only by reducing the growth of government can we increase the growth of the economy" (Niskanen).
Reagan’s presidential ideas were based off of minimizing the influence of the government, rather than the previous ideas of increasing its power. He wanted to cut government spending, decrease taxes, and reduce regulation (Niskanen). These were huge changes in the American government and were a huge risk. But Reagan was confident in himself and knew the potential of his plans. In the eyes of many Americans, Reagan’s original ideas helped America to get through some difficult economical problems (Lester).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The story of Jesus Christ perfectly shows how Shakespeare’s quote has been applied in history. In the Bible, Jesus was born “the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54). Throughout his life, Jesus did everything in his power to spread the word of God. He faced many hardships by those who did not believe in him, but continued his preaching because it was what he wanted in his life. Even in the face of death, Jesus stuck to his beliefs. He was arrested by the Jews after saying that he was the Messiah, and he knew that they would kill him. According to the Bible, Jesus sacrificed himself to pay for the sins of everyone (John 3:16). He could have saved himself, but he did what he thought that God would have wanted of him. During his entire life, Jesus knew exactly how he wanted to live his life, and he did this with passion and devotion. In the Bible (John 8:14), Jesus said, “I know from where I came and where I go…”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"The Worm"

This meaning of this quote is evident in sports, too. Throughout sports history unique individuals have emerged into the spotlight. Some players never change their personalities, even after becoming multi-millionaire professional athletes. One example of a famous athlete staying true to himself is the story of Dennis Rodman. Growing up, Rodman (also known as "The Worm") had a rough childhood. After his father abandoned the family when Rodman was only three, Rodman became shy and lazy (Dennis Rodman Biography). After being kicked out of the house by his mother, he seemed like he would get his life back together. He went to Junior College and later was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. But, after the team disbanded, Rodman’s true personality was shown to the world. He became very frustrated with the way that the NBA handled its players, saying, “This business is rotten” (Dennis Rodman Bio). He began to take on the “bad boy” image that he is now notorious for, constantly dyeing his hair outrageous colors and covering his body with piercings and tattoos. He spoke out against the media, the NBA, and other players on various occasions. He instigated fights on the court and, on one occasion, was suspended by the league for head-butting a referee (Dennis Rodman Biography). Many people regarded him as one of the most bizarre athletes during the time, but Rodman enjoyed being himself. He once told reporters, “There's one thing everyone should understand: I like my character” (Dennis Rodman Quotes). Many people did not like Dennis Rodman because of his unusual on and off the court antics, but Rodman liked himself, and that was all that mattered to him.

Rodman may not have been accepted by the public, but his view on life is what Shakespeare’s quote is really about: As long as you like yourself and are true to yourself, then what others think about you does not matter. Shakespeare’s famous quote from Hamlet tells everyone to just be themselves, and these seven examples all show that. Following this quote will help you keep control of your own life, allowing you to live it exactly as you want. Acceptance is something that everyone wants from other people. But acceptance from others is not important; it is only important that we accept ourselves. Being yourself is difficult sometimes, especially when trying to fit in, but it is always better than pretending to be someone that you are not.