This virtue is all about discerning the path we want to take, the one we feel led to take, then setting goals, and achieving them, step by step.
It often begins with a vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” In the children’s book, Alice in Wonderland, Alice is lost, and asks the Cheshire Cat which path to take. The cat wisely says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Here are some steps to take when practicing the virtue of Determination.
The first and perhaps most important step is to decide what you want to do, or where you want to go with your life and energy. Set your intention. What goal is worthy of great effort? It doesn’t have to be a big goal, just one that matters to you. It could be a personal goal such as quitting smoking, or turning an unhappy relationship into a happy one, solving a problem in our lives, or overcoming a financial challenge.
For me, it begins with prayer and meditation. As Albert Einstein, the great physicist said, “I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.” Aligning our vision with God’s will for us is true spiritual efficiency.
After you choose a goal, create a clear picture of it. Use the full power of your mind to imagine the goal being accomplished. Some people make a “vision board” with images that represent what they are aiming for.
Make a plan, with the steps you will take to achieve your goal.
Take each step with discipline, trust and faith, and finish what you start.
When you achieve your goal, pause for applause! Celebrate your achievement and give thanks for the help you have received along the way.
Here is a true story of a young boy who held onto his dream despite the discouragement of a teacher. When Monty Roberts was a child, his father was a horse trainer in the US.
They moved from ranch to ranch, and he had to constantly change schools. One day, when he was a senior, the teacher asked the class to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Monty didn’t hesitate a moment, and wrote a seven-page paper about his goal to own a large horse ranch. He wrote many details and even drew the stables and a house plan. He received his paper back with an “F”. After class, he asked the teacher, “Why did I receive an F?”
The teacher responded: “This dream is so unrealistic for a boy like you, who has no money, no home, and comes from an itinerant (wandering) family. There is no chance you will reach your great goals one day. I can help you rewrite a much more realistic paper.”
The boy went home and asked his father what he should do. His father answered, “This decision is very important for you, son. So, you need to make up your own mind on this.”
After several days, the boy brought the same paper to his teacher. No changes had been made. He said, “Sir, you keep the ‘F’, and I will keep my dream.”
Now Monty Roberts is known as “the man who talks to horses”. He owns a 4,000 square foot house in the middle of a 200-acre horse ranch, and he still has that school paper, which is now framed over the fireplace.
Follow your heart, ask for guidance, set your goal, picture it clearly, and never let anyone take your dream away.
Determination can make your dream come true.