This is part three of the “Feeling happy?” series, focusing on your determination to succeed. If you have not done so, please refer to my earlier blog posts, the first one touching upon health, the second one on understanding thyself.
What is “determination”?
Wikipedia suggests that determination is “a positive emotional feeling that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. “
To me, your determination is linked to your “Why”, whatever it is you might be aiming to achieve. Rather than describing it as an emotion, I would call it your driving force, that wind in your sails, that thirst. There is no determination without the purpose, without the goal, without the inner desire to achieve something.
For example, if you really do not care whether it rains or shines outside, because you are not going to step outside until you get that hand-written love letter ready – that’s determination.
On the other hand, hanging around in your pajamas all Sunday, not knowing how to entertain yourself, is slack.
Working tirelessly all evenings till late on your new project, or learning a new skill, or creating a masterpiece, or doing something else super-magical, is determination.
Giving up on your project two days down the line clearly indicates that your “why” was not strong enough and that you were probably more curious about this new thing, rather than determined to succeed at it. And there is nothing wrong with giving up, for as long as you know why you took up that new project in the first place, and why now you are abandoning it. Maybe you have a plan B in store, who knows?
How to become determined?
The first step to your determination is to answer the following questions:
- What is important for you?
- What are your interests?
- What are you good at?
- What are your heart’s longings?
- What would you regret not having done when lying on your death bed?
You may need to take a while, like a few hours, or even better – a few days in a remote location where no one can influence you, to “meditate” on these questions, to look deep inside yourself. You need to give yourself time to find honest answers. How do you know they are honest? Because they feel right, they feel good and they make you feel light and happy when you think of it.
Once you have detected your “What”, ask yourself: why your “what” is important for you. Once answered, ask yourself the “Why” six more times. This is called “The seven Whys method of getting to core issues”.
I offer my version of this exercise for you.
My what is: “To share the ancient wisdom of the right way of living in the simplest way possible, and with as many people as possible”
- Why is it important for you to share wisdom with others?
- A1: Because I feel that this is how I can change people’s lives.
- Why do you want to change people’s lives?
- A2: Because I see a lot of people generally lost and suffering uselessly, without realising that there is a way out, and it is really not as far as it might seem. I was once lost and sad, and I am so glad to have found my way!
- Why were you happy to find your way?
- A3: Because before that I felt lost, confused, frustrated, disillusioned, I felt like I disappointed my parents, like if I were a failure.
- Why did you feel like that?
- A4: Because I was focusing on trying to please my parents, to be a good colleague and a funny friend, but I never focused on myself, on my interests, on my higher purpose, on my own dignity, on my heart’s longings. It was all about pleasing other people, and that was depressing. It is only when I discovered the ancient Vedic wisdom, I learned to look for myself, and I found myself in this world. I learned to understand people better, to understand myself better, to identify what is important and what is not, I learned about the different qualities of character and how to develop good ones and deal with the bad ones. I learned how to live in peace and harmony with the people around me. I learned to follow my heart’s callings. And this is what makes me feel happy!
- And why were you only trying to please others?
- A5: I suppose I did not know any better. I was a single child in a soviet-era family, and I had to obey parents’, grandparents’ and teachers’ orders, be a “good girl”. Or else I would be punished, including physically. (No worries, Grandma!, I got over it.)
- Why were you raised like this?
- A6: I suppose because my parents did not know any better. I definitely want to be a different kind of parent, partner, and friend!
- Why do you want to be different?
- A7: I want everybody around me to live in an awareness of the fact, that there is a higher and a better state of living, than the misery of blind obeyance and of self-neglect.
So you see that the seven Whys bring you to a much deeper understanding of your true motivation, your true meaning. Notice how far I went off the tangent in answering the questions.
This method is very powerful. Please, do not rush with it, but go through it thoughtfully and thoroughly. This method will help you determine your Why, or in other words, your reason. The deeper you go, the stronger your determination will be to achieve whatever it is you set out to achieve. It will be your guiding light on your good days and especially on your bad days.
Why is it important to be determined?
If Mozart did not practice piano for hours every day for years, or if Schwarzenegger did not work out all day and every day for years, or if Madonna did not sign every day for years, would any of them achieve much?
What made these (and so many other) people successful?
Their determination to succeed. Their desire to change their lives, to grow and become something more, something more impactful, to make a difference. Determined to succeed, they chose to put in daily hard work into something they loved and to inch their way forward.
Their success did not come overnight, but once it came, it did not leave them in an instant either! They owned their success, they made it theirs, because they chose to be determined to make it.
You see, knowing your What and your Why is key to your determination to succeed. And if you put in hard work into something you LOVE, your success will be inevitable.
Working on a daily basis on something you love is not even work. The resistance to “go to work” falls away, and you just practice what you love doing. This is happiness, isn’t it? And believe me, your success will become an inevitable by-product of your life’s journey. Is that not bliss?
I hope I cleared the way for you towards your life’s happiness. Do share with me your Why in the comments below – I am very interested to hear your story!