Vince Lombardi quoted, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.”
As we work through the challenges of the day we often feel overwhelmed or things just don’t seem to be going in the right direction. Sure we have goals that we want to achieve – both personal and workwise. Goals like, “I am going to lose 10 pounds by the end of this month,” or “I’m going to complete one eBook this quarter.”
Certainly, such goals add value to your overall purpose in your life and business. But it is one thing to state those goals and think you have the possibility of reaching them. Your intentions are honorable, but intentions are not good enough. You need to take the necessary steps towards actually achieving them.
One of the factors that separate those who wish and those who do is determination.
What is Determination?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, determination can mean many things from “a judicial settling and ending a controversy” to “the act of deciding definitely and firmly,” For me, determination is all about a mind set to endure despite the challenges we face and the to stop at nothing to reach our goals. It is driven by our passion and our sense of responsibility to accomplish something good for others.
Let’s look at some ordinary people who have done some extra-ordinary things in their community out of sheer determination. (The examples are real people whom I personally know, but whose names are held in confidence.)
Jim and Mary who climbed out of poverty, a dysfunctional family environment and toxic friendships to landing on their feet in a thriving bricks and mortar business and all their children advancing in education, some in the trades and others graduating from university. It was hard for them but they knew if they were to succeed, they would have to go against everything they encountered in their past life. Yes, they learned from the hard knocks of life but determination pulled them through.
Bill, who had spent several years in prison because he was a serial safe cracker. Most of Bill’s friends were convicts or ex-convicts. Bill left his former ‘safe-cracking business’ but it wasn’t easy. He told me that he couldn’t go into a building “without casing the place and instinctively knew where the valuables were kept.” It took dogged determination for Bill to finally break his habit. He went on to establish a thriving ‘rehabilitation group for ex-cons.”
Then there are more well known public figures.
J.K. Rowland: Known for the best-selling Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowland appears to have it all. She is a well established author, has turned books into movies, and a recently established amusement park dedicated to her character! A pretty impressive profile.
However, J.K. Rowling wasn't always like this. She battled debilitating circumstances that could have broken her spirit. She faced homelessness, divorce, and depression all while trying her raise her child.
What led her to achieve such success? Determination. She was determined to overcome these challenges and write here dream novel to change her circumstances.
Oprah Winfrey: This billion-dollar mogul was once told she was "unfit for television news." She was fired from her reporting job and left with nothing. Did that stop her from pursuing her dreams? Nope.
She hosted one of the most successful talk shows of our century and now holds the title of one of the only female billionaires. Her determination pushed her to where she is today.
Rick Hansen: A Canadian track and field athlete, activist, and philanthropist for people with disabilities. Following a pickup truck accident at the age of 15, Rick, as he is affectionally known, sustained a spinal cord injury and became a paraplegic.
He is famous for his Man in Motion World Tour. Hansen was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, a torchbearers in the 1988 Winter Olympics and in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Nick Vujicic: He was born with Tetra-Amelia syndrome, a very rare disorder whereby someone is born with an absence of all four limbs. Nick had an uneasy childhood, regularly bullied, and as he grew into adulthood even attempted suicide several times.
Despite his difficulties he completed a Bachelor of Commerce, a double major degree in accountancy and financial planning. Nick has traveled to over 70 countries, established an NGO called Life Without Limbs, launched a documentary film, Live’s Greater Purpose, published several books and is a renowned motivational speaker. Determination brought Nick Vujicic fame and fortune.
Characteristics that Give Determination Life.
What are some of the major tenants that surround the spirit of determination? Or What are the underlying characteristics that give determination life for the people mentioned above.
“When someone tells me "no," it doesn't mean I can't do it, it simply means I can't do it with them.” ― Karen E. Quinones Miller
A persistent attitude is necessary for reaching success. Because one door is closed others are open to you. With ‘closed door thinking’, you are leaving valuable opportunities untapped. To latch onto the opportunities open to you persistence is necessary.
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Just consider the patience that these people exhibited to achieve what they did. They didn’t reach their level of success overnight. No doubt they experienced setbacks but it was a patient attitude that brought them through the difficulties. A patience attitude will help you stay focused on your prize.
“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go if you really want to go.” ― Langston Hughes
If you want to achieve a goal, you have to understand how to overcome challenges with a positive attitude. This requires innovative thinking sprinkled with optimism and hope. A positive attitude pushes you to think about solutions, believing that you can find them, and then acting towards getting there. Positivity is a characteristic that gave these people hope and optimism to succeed. If you want to succeed you also need to clothe yourself with the same characteristic.
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” Michel de Montaigne
People with determination have learned to grow in self-esteem, self-reliance, and self-trust. They don’t let the opinions of others stop them. Rather, they dig deep within themselves to become truly aware of who they are and what they are capable of. In the process they become an inspiration to others. Each of the examples mentioned are people who have embodied these characteristics and found the strength within themselves to overcome the challenges they faced.
You too need to dig deep within yourself, become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, turn weaknesses into strengths and don’t let others or the challenges you face discourage you. Find another avenue, go around them, over them, and become the person you were meant to be.
“Some people are so special, so beautiful and have so much to offer this world. Sad thing is they just don’t see it. They need positive reinforcement. Tell them. ‘If you could see only half of what I see in you, then one day you’d realize how truly amazing you really are.” Marc Mero
No one is an island unto themselves. We all need a support system and a hand up. This may come through trusted friends, a coach or mentor. Someone touched each of the people identified above somewhere in their journey. The person may have been a pastor, a spouse, a physiotherapist, a schoolteacher, a business coach.
The point is, no matter how self-sufficient we are, we need others to help or guide us along our journey. Yes, you need the determination and all its characteristics to succeed, but you will also need, not those who tear you down, but those who build you up and have confidence in your determined effort to climb higher and achieve more.
Why is determination important?
Determination is what separates the dreamers from those who act. It is the motivating force behind reaching success. If you have a positive goal, stop at nothing to achieve it. Don't allow distractions or challenges to knock you off of your course. Rather, keep going and do the work. Like the farmer who tills the soil, plants seed, tends to his garden and reaps his harvest, you too will garner the benefits of your efforts.
Thanks for reading,
Be well, stay safe and always remember your personal growth and development matters.
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