Are You Determined To Be Determined?

Determined to be determined! (Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery)

Is determination overrated? I have been told that determination is important, but no matter how determined a person is to accomplish something, determination alone,  just isn’t enough. I realize you usually need more than determination to be qualified and reach the goal of attaining a position, job, profession, vocation, … On the other hand, too often, if you are not determined to become qualified, then you won’t stick with the program that enables you to reach your goal. Is determination enough? No! Is determination necessary? Usually!

DETERMINED rider Edmond Abdelnoor pumping hard to keep lead. Location: US Date taken: April 1952 Photographer: Yale Joel

When thinking about determination and what it means to me, I can’t help also thinking about passion. You see, often times when I’m determined to accomplish something, I develop a passion for the accomplishment. What I mean is, without a lively or eager interest (passion) for attaining the accomplishment, I find it difficult to remain determined. For example, recently I was being trained for a part-time job and I was required to read a rather large manual and then go over it with three different representatives from the company that was hiring me. I was determined to complete the reading and be prepared for the training, but until I became passionate toward learning the material and accomplishing the training, I was unable to maintain my determination.

Another way of looking at this is to think of determination and passion as an attitude. It was important for me to have the right attitude before I was successfully trained. Isn’t it interesting how important attitude is when we want to successfully accomplish our goals in life?

Perhaps, at this point, it would be useful to formally define determination, passion, and attitude.

Determination: “Direction or tendency to a certain end.”

Passion: “An intense emotion, compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something.”

Attitude: “How one mentally feels.”

Please note, that you have control of all three of these. In other words, you can control the amount of determination and passion you have for something. You also are completely responsible for your attitude.

This Driver Is Adjusting the Carburetor of His Van at a Service Station after His Vehicle Failed the Carbon Monoxide Test at an Auto Emission Inspection Station in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. He Was DETERMINED to Pass So He Could Leave for School Out of State City Employees in the Safety Lane Told Him What Was Wrong and Instructed Him How to Adjust It. after Two Tries the Vehicle Passed and Received an Inspection Sticker. 08/1975

Determination, passion and positive attitude are important attributes to help fight off the natural fear of not being able to accomplish a major goal. It’s often easier to succumb to the negative feeling of disappointment – of not reaching the goal – before you have given a reasonable amount of effort. What happens is you create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failing before you even start. Ouch!

So what should we do in order to avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy of failing? We should develop determination, passion and a positive attitude toward successfully accomplishing our goal(s). I once read the following statement about recovering from strokes: Determination is half the battle. I have heard that statement used in many different situations and in many different forms. Sometimes, determination is replaced with focus. Determination, focus, passion, positive attitude, etc. – they all are implications that our desire to reach goal is important.

I remember a coach that I had for baseball who would say before every game, “this game will be won by the team who wants it most.” His point, of trying to get the team to “want it more,” was an attempt to make us have more determination than our opponents. Of course, there is more to winning a game than determination, but there is little doubt that determination, along with passion and a positive attitude toward playing and winning is important.

So, are you determined to be determined? If you are, then you have reach at least half of the goal of winning. Tommy Lasorda, a great baseball manager, is said to have declared: “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” I think the message behind his statement has been modeled time and time again throughout history from individuals to groups as large as countries. Consider the accomplishments of Olympic athlete Jesse Owens, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the Allies that won World War 2, etc….

Determination, along with passion and attitude, may not always win against great talent, but it is the factor that causes many humans of ordinary ability to accomplish extraordinary feats. If you think you are lacking in a certain talent, try being determined to be determined in order to make up for what is lacking. It’s been proven, throughout history, to be helpful.

I hope you are determined to share your thoughts regarding determination. :-)

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