By Eben Gilbert
What if I tell you that your willpower’s not enough? Not enough to make you firm? Not enough to make you determined? What if I tell you that your motivation can’t always be there to push you? To push you far away from your present estate? To push you nearer to your dreams? Don’t look at me like that, darling. See, willpower’s just like a hot coal that soon burns out through use. It never leads you thro’ a long run. It’s like the towering candle that soon perishes to crumbling wax. It tires like you after the day’s work. Its burning heat soon wanes and you find no pushing force again. You can account for one of those times you wanted to cut this so-and-so from your meals only to fall into it after perhaps a week or so; or trying to fix in something to the timetable of your lifestyle only to detonate yourself with stress or pressure or even sickness. Funny! But true it is.
Now we realise those moments that motivation went on holidays. Those periods that the driving force creeps away and the power to climb further dwindles, the strength to do that thing again diminishes. Those times writers can’t place their butt on seat to write. Those times the student can’t burn that his usual night candle. Those times…those times – it continues like that. Those times – many of ’em – come and go, but they’re bound to be realities in many, many moments of our endeavours. And with all these limitations how the hell can one hurtle towards his visions, achieve his dreams, and become the person he needs to become?
Many success stories would tell us of Determination. But what’s really there in determination? I hate theories of doing things; I love the practical aspect; the processes needed to reach the target. And isn’t it vague to tell one “be determined and you’d reach your destination”? All that should be known are the things that’d make a determined man. But then, what constitutes a mind made up? What makes men of firm character? What forms tenacious beings? How the hell are tough minds built?
Let’s make this practical. Let’s dissect this DETERMINATION and know how. Look into that word of capital letters. What do you see? Just look at it…with open mind and open eyes. Tell me what you see. Hey, don’t disturb yourself there. What is there is ‘determination’, Okay. So, let’s make this work. From DETERMINATION we can see DETER and TERMINATION. Deter is a verb which the Encarta Dictionaries says that it means ‘restrain from taking action’. And Termination is that noun that communicates to our minds the ‘ending of something’. Then if we should say DETER TERMINATION, we say what? Yeah, you get it well. It would be no other thing but the termination of deterrents. And you know what, that’s a cross-section of Determination.
There are many deterrents that exist in our lives, and they drag us away from the pull of our dreams and goals. Many, many of them exist, and I mean many of them – ones we can detect and ones we mightn’t. Many like:
- Those negative habits,
- Destructive vices,
- Bad acquaintances,
- Attachment to the gloomy past,
- Harmful thought patterns and mindsets and perceptions.
They are part of those things that deter us, impeding our excelling motion. Deterring these deterrents is a sure way to gaining a lasting determination. Some minds may think “I’m a made-up mind” but soon come to a juncture where they miss the track. Some minds may think “I’m truly determined” but soon come short of their ideals. Determination is weakened in the environment that tracks down our willpower and harnesses our emotions to our detriment. And there’s no better environment that does this other than the current environment that led us to the sort of life we yearn to zoom away from. What has been in a lifestyle that contributed to its failure whether known or unknown to you will still bring failure to another lifestyle when it is incorporated there. Hence, there should be a tweak. Tweak your space. Tweak your attitude. Tweak your environment. Tweak your mindset. Tweak your attention. Tweak and tweak and tweak. Tweak your life in regards to what you’re pursuing and soon that you’re looking for will run to you for you would have already become the quality of the man it can abide in.
There are some impulse decisions we take that could be harmful to our growth and contribute to the weakening of our determination. They come as a result of the way the environment is designed and the association we expose our minds to – friends, social media and blah, blah, blah. My dad has this good habit of drinking water, and I mean enough water every day. But there wasn’t any real magic there as I came to find out. Very few meters from the door of his room lays an old large speaker near the parlour. There wasn’t any way he would enter or go out of his room without casting his eyes on that speaker; and for that cause, he usually places a bottle of water on it. Then, the magic was done. He would always drink water as far as he was either going out of or ent’ring his room. It became a cue to drinking water, a symbol for caring for his health, a tweak to his environment to meet the expectations he longs for. Pulling down the weight of forgetfulness by adjusting his environment to produce a prompt that would dial the button of ‘yeah, I remember…it’s another time’ made him strengthen the arms of his determination to forming this lovely habit which all would culminate to a better health. And wouldn’t a similar tweak somewhere in your life make the magic come alive?
I can remember a verse of the Scripture that says, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience (determination) the race that is set before us.” Here crowns it. Determination in no doubt arises to certain enormous degrees when we ‘lay aside every weight that easily beset us’. Putting out, and yes, terminating these weights that weigh us down in our run guarantees a mind aflame with persistence, with patience, with determination. How great your life could grow when those 10 minutes of Facebook-ing turns to 10 minutes of learning in Quora. But you might be asking, how the hell can I do that when a great grip on Facebook is there? But have you thought of uninstalling it? That could be life-changing for you within a week or so. What are those indulgences that plague you and hit you off-course? What are those wrongdoings that bring epidemics to your made-up mind? What are those weights that stale your progress and impel your forward motion? Take out a clean sheet of paper and begin writing down all of ’em. Set that goal you wanted to achieve but found it hard. Develop a system to cut away from those weights and habits by effective tweaking of your environment and sphere.
To be that ‘mind made-up’, unwavering in decision, unfaltering in character, rigid in strength, standing unmovable till transmogrified into a magnet that’d drag all those needed stuff and successes to yourself, you have to learn and form the habit of terminating those deterrents lurking in your sphere. Adjust those unhelpful mentalities and perspectives, wave off those murky glooms of the past, fine-tune your environment to birth your desires, show those unfriendly friends the door, and rise to the vantage plinth to be your best of selves. Deter the deterrents!