Unlocking Determination

What it means to unlock the power of determination and how, by understanding its source, we can ultimately awaken to a deeper sense of mission and responsibility. 

As one year gives way to the next, the plan to transform something and make fresh causes can become the main agenda for many; navigating through the familiar roads of habit towards the far-reaching, infinite expanse of the unexplored. Whether the motivation comes from a past mistake, the need to let go of certain baggage, or simply to explore new horizons, what can be said with all of these is the need to establish a goal, or more specifically, an attitude set in the purposeful gear of determination.

Just as a marathon runner is driven by thoughts of realising a personal best, or as a migrating bird trusts a deep-rooted instinct to follow a certain course, life is filled with limitless examples of the power of focus and determination. Even somebody who believes they have little or no determination does in fact have much, as the mere ability to continue breathing predicates the very need to push on. With that in mind, embodying our goal through habit or instinct is vital in achieving the required change we seek, awakening a sense of responsibility for what we has to be done. Any experienced actor will tell you that even the most lame and uninspiring characters have an objective of some shape or form, and what ultimately leads to their clear representation is the discovery of their inner-drive and personal agenda.

Yet, setting oneself a particular agenda is not always necessarily enough to make it a reality. What can at first seem a novel and refreshing idea can soon lose its spark, whether it is because of the reality of the task ahead or that the initial motivation has begun to fade. Therefore, having a strong will is essential in order to unlock the power needed to propel us forward. In the words of Muhammad Ali, “The will must be stronger than the skill’ and in many ways, without having a clearly defined and focussed will, the footsteps we take may well lead us in a direction sign-posted away from our goal rather than towards it, or worse still, causing us to stop all together.

All of this said, the fear of failure is for some enough to avoid setting a clearly defined goal or destination in the first place, allowing instead for a wide range of error; a metaphorical safety-net for the uncertain soul. Yet, if we are conscious of our failings as much as we are of our strengths, the more likely we are to develop the poise and awareness needed to commit to the challenges in front of us. To quote the American poet and musician Saul Williams, ‘Calamity makes cousins of us all’, and it is by being aware of our shortcomings, we can awaken to the reality of our lives, as sometimes it is the unique aspect of a perceived weakness or mistake that our greatest successes and personal victories can be attained.


What can ultimately make the difference then? By choosing to make our goals as personal and clear in sentiment as possible, we become empowered to the essential reason for what we are endeavouring to do. In other words, working out ‘why’ we want to achieve what we want. Some of the most highly regarded paintings, poems and songs were composed of a profound, personal sentiment of some kind, that although perhaps lost to the world, was expressed and immortalized all the same and left to be re-interpreted for generations to come. Dedicating something deeply personal to another individual or group propels us to share our work as a gift, rather than simply a record of our own skill and achievement. Ultimately, lofty art is created by lofty souls, and the loftiest of goals contain at their heart a vision that encapsulates the collective-consciousness of the entire world, reverberating far beyond the reaches of what we are able to conceive.

By contrast, if the ‘why’ is not so forthcoming, having a sense of wonder or curiosity about a specific subject, issue or scenario can be enough to set our inner compass towards what is most important in our world. Once aware of this, the flow of ideas and resolutions start to swell, eyes-set beyond a particular boundary, mind-set on how to get there. If it wasn’t for Alice’s penchant for being inquisitive, she would never have chased the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole or stepped through the looking glass; each time opening her world to a whole new set of possibilities. Similarly, the parable featured in Paulo Coelho’s novel ‘The Alchemist’, where a wise man enlists a young boy to walk around his castle to observe his riches without spilling a spoon containing two drops of oil, gives great insight into the required awareness, not only of the task at hand, but of the reality of what is going on around us. Without combining the attributes of both, our determination will soon obscure or start to wane. To be able to follow our heart, while at the same time taking our brain with us, gives rise to the tools needed to let our determination truly take over. The heart is the engine, the brain the steering and your unlimited self centralised as the pilot,  leads to a journey of perpetual satisfaction and fulfilment.

To close, just by taking a single step forward in a new direction, or peeping through a previously ignored window, we can create the impetus to discover a whole new world of potential. To quote the 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘He who has a why can endure any how’, and by having the appropriate triggers around to remind us why we have chosen a certain path, we will forever have good reason to keep going, regardless of what may stand in our way. Once set in motion, this creates the trust and confidence to keep setting even more goals, determining each time to live the life of our dreams.

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Ed Hunte

Poet and Columnist at Global Poetry. United Kingdom

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