Rough Draft: Persuasive Research Paper


Success: Just a Courage Away

 “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway,” answered John Wayne, as the interviewer began to draw the meeting to a close. To many people, courage is taking up the responsibility to do something that could be risky. But to me, courage plays a determining role in a person’s search for success. It seems that all societies only care about is fame, money, and success. Human beings have somehow taken this subjective idea and evolved it into a word that can only be defined by money, fame, or earthly possessions. Therefore, at some point of your life, you would have probably asked yourself this question, “What would it take to be successful?” The most important factor in achieving success is having the courage to act upon an ambitious idea.  This is evident in the way Alexander the Great conquered the nations around the Mediterranean, the way Bill Gates dominated the computer industry, the way my group aced our Asian Studies project, and the way James taught us in the Bible to have faith.

Through the book, The Greeks: A Great Adventure, by Isaac Asimov, the story of the great and all-powerful Alexander III of Macedon revealed strong connections between courage and success. Born in Pella to King Philip II of Macedon, Alexander was immediately thrown into a world of riches and power (Asimov 210). Under the wing of his tutor, Aristotle, Alexander fell in love with the works of Homer, especially the Iliad (211). Thus, inspired by the war heroes from his storybooks and having a hunger to expand his father’s empire, Alexander headed out on a conquest to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. After dying from a fever at the age of 33, Alexander’s empire stretched from Macedonia all the way to the edge of India (223).  Although the odds were against him not once, but multiple times, he wasn’t fearful of anyone, even the mighty Persian Empire (214-218). Therefore, with a bit of luck and a stroke of genius, Alexander never lost a single battle and was able to become one of the greatest military leaders of all time.

Rising to become a person who completely revolutionized the world, the affluent Bill gates started off as an ordinary boy. At just seventeen years of age, Bill Gates had already sold his first computer program (“Profile: Bill Gates”). In the next three years, he and his friend, Paul Allen, designed the world’s first computer language program known as Microsoft. Then taking an unimaginable risk, Bill Gates and Paul Allen audaciously decided to throw away his education by dropping out of Harvard and establishing a company for Microsoft (“Profile: Bill Gates”). Today, Bill Gates is one of the richest and most successful men to have set foot on this earth. As of September 2013, he was deemed to be a net worth of 72 billion dollars USD (“Bill Gates”). If he had not taken that chance to chase his dream, who knows where he would be today. If someone else had taken over the computer industry, millions of us may not even have access to a computer.

Ending the year 2012-2013 with an A+ in Asians Studies was something that I had not anticipated. Students enrolled in this course were put into groups and given a topic. The teacher also provided multiple presentation ideas, but it seemed like everybody had already chosen to make an easy, simple poster. I, on the other hand, had a bigger vision for my group.  Feeling a rare sense of creativity incarnating in my bones, I had a desire to make a stop-motion video for my group’s presentation. Stop-motion videos required a lot of time, patience, and effort; things that didn’t appeal to my group members. However, persisting on with my idea, we miraculously managed to complete this project before the deadline. After a period of doubts and nervous jitters, our projects were finally graded. To everyone’s delight, my group surprisingly received an A+ for our project. It was only through our courage to seize this challenge that we were able to end the year on a successful note.

James instructs the world to put action into faith in James 2:14-17. He wrote, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (Bible Gateway). These verses prove the truth behind the importance of taking up action on an idea. There is no outcome or benefit for those who do not act out in faith. If no one is willing to take the risk, then it is surely “dead” because nothing will come out of something that isn’t pursued. Even if one was bound to fail, he or she will never know the outcome if the chance wasn’t taken.

To get the chance to smother one’s face in success, one must tackle an ambitious idea with bravery and fearlessness. This is proven by the stories of the strong-willed Alexander the Great, the vigorous Bill Gates, my audacious Asian Studies group, and the philosophical James who tells us to do something about our beliefs. Therefore, instead of sitting back and watching our mediocre lives fly by, we must grasp opportunities and ideas by the scruff its neck and chase it down as if our lives depended on it.


Works Cited:

“50 Best Success Quotes of All Time.” Under30CEO. N.p., 24 Aug. 2009. Web. 09 Dec. 2013. <;.


Asimov, Isaac. The Greeks; a Great Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965. Print.


“Bible Gateway.” New International Version (NIV Bible). The Zondervan Corporation, 1993. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. <;.


“Bill Gates.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, Sept. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2013. <;.


“Profile: Bill Gates.” BBC News. BBC, 26 Jan. 2004. Web. 04 Dec. 2013. <;.


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