seni012 3 / 14 Oct 13, 2011 #1Prompt: Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence. I've probably read my essay about 100 times already and at this point all the words have jumbled up to form one big, indistinguishable mess. Thus, I would like the opinion of a third person. Be as harsh as possible in your critique. Thanks!"Discussions on Youth"Whenever my parents and I get in a heated discussion, the debate always ends with a sigh on both ends and with my parents telling me that I was never this stubborn as a child. With every hint of pedantry in my tone I reply, "Research suggests that the reason why teenagers become so intractable suddenly is because their brains are maturing and their pre-frontal cortexes have not yet developed". This suffices to put a smile on their face and they buy my credible excuse. While it is easy to blame all my teenage turmoil upon the adolescent brain, I believe that in reality, human character is more complex than neuroscience can define it. However, it is true that the teen years are marked with discord and role confusion. It was during this time that I met Dr. Daisaku Ikeda who created a profound impact on my life and connected with me when no one else did.I feel obligated to mention that I use the word "met" loosely. Till this day I have never interacted with Dr. Ikeda or Sensei as I call him, either physically or by phone. Yet I use the word met because I interacted with him through his book, "Discussions on Youth". This book is a compilation of lectures that he targeted specifically for "The leaders of the future". While there was no physical confrontation, we shared an intellectual relationship through this book. We eliminated all the small-talk that occurs in a regular conversation and Sensei cut straight to the sophisticated conversations that influenced my life.It was simply amazing how an 83 year old Japanese person could understand the problems of an American teenager and guide me through these problems. He was the guidance counselor that my school never offered and the answer to my problems (yes, I am still talking about the book). Whenever I was displeased with a situation, I could turn to this book and I would find a lecture that would pertain to my dilemma.There is one quote in particular that completely changed my outlook: "Life is defined by how it concludes, not by how it begins. There are no irredeemable mistakes in youth". He explained that as one goes downstream a river, there are many rocks and waterfalls that will impede you. But if you trust the river and continue downward, the ocean will not be far.I realized that everyone makes mistakes but my nature caused me to cower out of situations in the fear of committing mistakes. When I could not back out of a situation my fear of failure manifested itself in the form of a blunder that would hinder my success. However, this quote gave me courage of making blunders, to not be afraid of the fifty foot waterfall. Instead, I started looking forward to the ocean that lies ahead.