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What can you accomplish in 10?

What can you accomplish in 10?
By Ella Thomas

10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months, 10 years- what can you accomplish? This was a prompt presented by the Atlantic institute for their annual art and essay contest. I spent a very long time trying to perfect my essay.

Everything Ella - Ella Thomas

But, as nature goes, I got sick right around the due date and wasn’t thinking about the fact that it was time to turn it in. Since I didn’t get the chance to send it in, I really wanted to be able to share it somehow. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. I hope this will persuade you to make a difference no matter how long it takes.

What is time? Time is always changing, and we are constantly losing it. But that doesn’t matter. It’s what we do with our time that really counts. Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Teach for America, American Red Cross, International Justice Mission, and Human Rights Campaign; these are just a few of the countless organizations dedicated to spending their valuable time and energy to benefit others. Although this isn’t something they are able to accomplish overnight, sometimes all it takes is a few days to provide much needed change to your community and your world.

“We are all here on earth to help others; what the others are here for I don’t know.”-W.H. Auden.  One of the best things you could possibly do with your time is to help others. Hope, health, wealth; these are a few of the luxuries that we may take for granted. Many people do not have these pleasures. That’s why it is our job to provide them. Countless individuals will say that changing the world is impossible, but they’re wrong. All it may take is 10 years, 10 months, 10 weeks, or even just 10 days to bring about great change and even greater accomplishments. 

Try simply thinking about 10 days. Although it may not sound like much, anything is possible. Take, for example, 13 year old Blare Gooch. After witnessing the destruction of the earthquake in Haiti, he decided to make a difference. All it took was a few days for him to collect over 25,000 teddy bears to send to the damaged country. Although this is a rather extreme example, it doesn’t take much to change a person’s whole life. Simply stopping to give someone a little extra change, or smiling at somebody and letting them know they matter can give them the motivation they need to get everything they can out of life. No matter how hectic your life is, you can always take just a few days to focus on the needs of others. 

Now, try looking on a broader scale. 10 weeks, 70 days, 1,680 hours, 100,800 minutes. There are endless possibilities of what you can achieve. Not only for others, but for yourself. Studies have shown that if you have the motivation, you can change your whole personality in just 10 weeks. Whether you are shy and would like to be more outgoing, or you have a temper and would like to become more level headed, the key is to step outside your comfort zone. If your goal is to be more beneficial to others, then you could travel to a whole other country and provide aid. There are countless non-profit organizations that are devoted to helping the less fortunate in countries overseas. For example, Africare is a program that contributes the necessities of food, water, health and emergency aid to 28 countries in Africa. Taking just a few weeks to make the move to a different country, or even somewhere closer to your home will not only help others, but give you an eye opening experience beyond your imagination.

Even more rewarding experiences can come if you think even bigger. Take, for instance, 10 months. There are so many different things you can do in such an extensive amount of time. Its all about putting yourself out there. Don’t wait for the opportunities to come to you, go out and find them yourself. You can’t spend all of your precious time waiting, once you lose it you can never get it back. You must stay motivated. Just think of all the change you will bring to the world. Don’t just focus on the goal, set targets for yourself along the way. What if you want to try to give 10,000 dollars to a local charity? Sounds impossible, right? Well, that’s because you are only thinking of it as one big number. What if you only collected 1,000 dollars a month, or 33 dollars a day? It still may sound a little big, but its much more manageable. That’s the key, to make yourself think of it on a smaller scale. Anything is achievable when you really put your mind to it.

In the time we live in, we tend to expect immediate results. But, to get the outcomes we really yearn for, it will require you to put in the time and determination. 10 years is a very long time. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. As Thomas Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves”. One thing that is a huge issue in our world is the environment. This is one of the many things we can help fix in 10 years. On average, this is how long it takes for a tree to grow to its full potential. Just think, if we were to start planting just a few trees, in 10 years we may have a full forest. Up to 28,000 species can go extinct in the next quarter century due to deforestation. This is something we can change. If we start now, we can get rid of this fact. There is no need for deforestation to be such a problem when all of us posses the power to fix it. It may not seem like much, but soon enough it will make all the difference in the world.

Whether you spend 10 days collecting supplies for the less fortunate or you put in a decade of hard work to see the best results possible in the end, you are changing someone else’s life in unimaginable ways. Even if you work to change yourself, that can have a massive impact on the lives of those around you. The next time you pass someone on the street who may need a little help, or witness the destruction of our fragile environment, just think about all the difference you can make if you just put in 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months, or even 10 years.

And that’s everything with Ella! (for now…)


Ella Thomas is an eighth grader at Crews Middle School. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact Ella at