What True Success Is

1, 2, 3, A, B, C.

Isn’t it fun reminiscing those times when we would shout alphabetical letters and numbers, or run into the hallway like no one would be disturbed, or get our first-ever perfect math score and hear our parents brag about us to their friends? Things that happen to us at the beginning of our lives, specifically during childhood, often greatly impact our entire existence in this world.

For me, I always reminisce about the day I was about to enter Kumon. I was a kid who burst out with emotions as I was nervous because I was not good at anything. I wasn’t so lucky and spent a good amount of time figuring out what I am best at. I was displeased with my academic performance. I had been left like the light at the end of the tunnel was non-existent. On the other hand, I was proud because I was finally about to set myself out of my comfort zone and take on the challenge. Yes, I was just like you since I also didn’t know what future lay ahead of me. It felt like a new beginning. I was ironically hopeful, and I felt comforted by the sunrise that day had provided me.

In every part of our life, there is always a beginning. In my first phase in Kumon, it was easy. Everything was going smoothly. Unfortunately, I felt weak because I had a hard time solving simple mathematical problems as a first year high school student. On the other hand, staring at the mathematics chart with the pictures of the students that have leveled up, I realized that I was already a fourteen-year-old student who couldn’t solve algebra yet. I took inspiration from those toddlers who were already taking algebra. From that day on, I decided to do my worksheets as fast as I could. I knew I was doing excellently at each level, and I was able to achieve my goals. Yes, there were times I felt bothered to repeat my worksheets, and I wanted to skip levels; however, Kumon taught me that I needed a lot of patience to ascend. I was getting frustrated as I reached higher levels as numbers mixed up with letters, and as I was analyzing them, I realized that it’s more than x and y’s.

Kumon commenced my intelligence, like a syringe injecting all the knowledge within me.

When I got my first Kumon Advanced Student Honor Roll award in 2018, I was inspired to do better and quickly finish my Kumon worksheets. I also became an honor student. I participated in our math class, and I started to get perfect scores during my exams. I became more confident in school.

I was once like a tabula rasa: empty. But Kumon fed me information. In reaching my goals, Kumon pried my ability to help me explore more.

My parents persevered in perpetually lifting me since school was bustling with activities. I wanted to hang on and tried my best to synchronize my time, but I knew I had to rest. To ascend, you have to rest. Resting does not lead you to failure as long as you do not stop.

I’ll tell you; there are a lot of ways to reach success. A lot of people will define what success is. Still, your fate is within your hands. It’s time you define and know the ways of it.

Kumon showed me what true success is. It’s not just about medals and plaques. It’s about the lessons you learn and the skills you develop along the way.

These are what I have learned in Kumon that have helped me reach my success today.


This may be cliché, but it is very important to set a target. This is how I started and how I set my journey, formulate the goals I needed, and create plans to make them tangible. As I look back, I now notice that I could cross one after the other as I worked through it. This also helped raise my self-confidence as I saw my own skills and competency developing as I achieved the goals I set.


Success comes with persistence. Even if things seem to be getting tougher, mistakes are made, and everything seems merely feel impossible, you must keep going no matter what. Dig deep and find the grit and the guts to persevere. The things we’re proud of are the ones we’ve got to fight for. Struggling isn’t fun, but they make us better. This is how we grow to be strong, compassionate, and empathetic.


Boost your chances of success by doing your homework. Know exactly what you need to do, and look for the odds to help you go forward. Remove any unimportant behaviors that contribute to disturbance. Be more self-aware, engage with someone who can support your strength,s and find ways to compensate for your weakness.

Imagine how much easier putting the pieces of success would be if you took a step back and saw what real hard work is. When you are stepping forward, life will give you obstacles and put you on the edge of giving up. You must overcome that and think of just how ready you are for what you are facing.

To whoever is reading this: I hope that I inspired you to do better and see things from another perspective. I just want to say, “Hey, kid. You’re already up there. Do not base your level on how high you are. I know that you’re already there and about to reach your goal. I know that someday you’ll see a Kumon page praising you because you did great! Remember this and take this as a challenge: Inspire kids like I do, because as you read this, I know that your turn will come.”

Ysabela Dencel L. Nilo
San Francisco Mabalacat Center

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Kumon is the world's leading after-school enrichment program. We offer two subjects: Math and Reading in more than 300 Kumon Centers nationwide.

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