All of the people who have accomplished great things in life have one thing in common. They never sat and waited for things to happen to them; they just went out of their way with an intention of pushing things to happen. They were courageous enough to try new things that had not been tried before and as a result became trail blazers in their own fields. They were determined and self motivated. Leonardo da Vinci sums it up thus: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” Determination is the spirit of never giving up no matter how big the obstacle you encounter looks. You keep trying until a time comes when you overcome the obstacle.
Termites might be tiny insects but they are a good example of what determination can do; they can easily bring down a great house. They don’t spend time sizing up the greatness of the house. They just get down to work and start chewing at the foundation of the house. It might take long but finally the house will come down crumbling. It is obvious that if you do nothing you will be nothing. Therefore, anybody who is out to achieve big accomplishments must always be ready to be proactive and face any challenges that might be encountered in the process. To do this, one doesn’t need to be pushed by anyone but rather the force that drives such a person comes from within and this is what I am calling self motivation. The first black American president of the USA, Barrack Obama once said that, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
HOW TO STAY DETERMINED AND MOTIVATED
(a) learn to make quick and wise decisions
Any successful person learns how to make quick and wise decisions, when faced with challenges. They not only make the decisions but stick with them up to the end no matter what. Anybody who is unable to make decisions or easily changes their decisions once challenged can never make a good leader. Making shaky decisions is a sign of weakness and lack of self confidence and determination. Therefore, for you to stay determined, you have to be prepared to make decisions and stick with them even though they may not be popular.
People who make wise but unpopular decision earn immense respect later, when they are proved right. This is a trait that people admire in a decisive leader since any leader is supposed to offer direction. However, while at it, it is important to explain your decisions so that you don’t come across as dictatorial. While making decisions you would rather be assertive than dictatorial since people don’t like decisions being imposed on them.
(b) Focus on the main goals
In any venture, there are short term and long term goals. The long term goals are the main goals and hence more important. It is very easy for people to relax after achieving their short term goals and lose focus on the ultimate prize. Great achievers never lose sight of the ultimate prize. This helps them to keep going even when short term achievements may tempt them to relax. These people understand that, though the short term goals are the building blocks towards attaining the ultimate prize, they are just but the means and not an end.
We can get a very good example from runners. Their concentration or focus is usually the finishing line. It doesn’t matter for how long you lead in the course of the race but what matters is whether you touch the finishing line before the others! Even though how you fair on in the course of the race may determine how you perform at the end, the final dash towards the finishing line is the most important. In the marathon, we see people running very fast and leading in the first few minutes, and then they start dropping out. These are people who have no sight on the finishing line. The focused runners have a strategy whereby they reserve their energy for the last dash when they approach the ultimate prize. Somebody watching them making this last dash may think that they just started running! That is due t their staying focused on the finish line.
(c) Have clear goals
Not having clear goals is like a policeman looking for a suspect that he doesn’t know how he looks like or how he is dressed. Such an exercise can be very frustrating and it can prove to be very difficult for one to remain determined. Having vague goals can be a dream killer since one will not be sure what he or she is working towards. How can you even know whether you are making any progress? It is therefore logical that nobody can be determined to do something without being sure of what he or she wants to achieve.
Clear goals make somebody focused and provide the encouragement to keep one going whenever the short term goals are achieved. Without them, one might be like a driver who drives to a random direction without knowing his or her destination. Such a driver might end up going round and round in circles and most likely end up in the middle of nowhere.
(d) Indulge in constant self evaluation
Evaluating one’s progress is very important since it enables the person to celebrate the progress and become re-energized to carry on or realize that they are not making any progress and put in more effort. It is the reality check that reminds people where they are coming from and where they are headed. Self evaluation will always remind you of your desire to achieve your ultimate goals.
(e) Develop a good game plan
Antoine de Saint-Expury, a renowned French aviator and author once said that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Any person is capable of having big wishes, since we only generate them in the mind, but few are able to turn their wishes to reality. The difference between those who turn their wishes to reality and those who don’t is determination. Perhaps, nothing explains the futility of wishes that are not accompanied with action, better than the famous English saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”
One can imagine that, when this proverb was coined, the most popular means of transport for the rich was horses; since vehicles hadn’t been invented. Therefore, owning a horse was not only prestigious but also a sign of affluence. In a nutshell, what the proverb means is that, if it were possible to just wish and get what one wanted then even the poor could be rich. It therefore goes without saying that great achievers have great plans on how to achieve their goals. Once they have the plans in place, determination provides them with the staying power till they hit their targets. It can be so difficult to reach a new destination without a road-map since you will keep on getting lost and eventually your determination will start dwindling. Therefore, having a master plan is one of the pillars that ensure that we stay determined in the pursuit of our goals in life.
(f) Get constant inspiration
People who work towards achieving something without any inspiration are like cars running on empty. People get inspired by different things and persons in life but in most cases, inspiration comes from above you. This can either be from a role model or a supreme being; God. However strong you might be, it is true that the challenges of life sometimes make even the strongest people to lose their determination to carry on. This is the time that one needs to be re-energized by getting inspiration from above.
This can be done through prayer, reading the holy book or sometimes even reading motivational books. Others get their inspiration by attending inspirational talks or simply reminding themselves how far they have come and the possibility of falling back to ground zero.Sometimes inspirations can come from simple acts such as watching nature; for example, watching ants carry bigger loads than themselves. It is therefore obvious that determination is the driving force that takes any successful person to the greatest heights. No wonder Tommy Lasorda once said that “the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”