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The Key to Success is Determination

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way”

Abraham Lincoln

Is there a secret to success? Why do some people achieve their goals effortlessly while others struggle to get started? I’ve witnessed brilliant people make questionable decisions and average folks making it big. So I’ve realized that it’s not about how smart you are, luck, or even your talents. Success is all about mastering yourself through personal development, developing a strategic approach, and most importantly fueling your efforts with the will and determination to keep you moving forward no matter what life throws at you.

Our world is constantly changing, and competition is fierce. You need to strengthen your determination to keep up, exceed expectations, and come out on top. Above all else, determination is the key to success. Determination means you have the mindset of never giving up. You understand that failure is a necessary stepping stone to win and that setbacks are growth opportunities. When you have determination, you become resilient and unstoppable, meaning you will succeed sooner than later.

Determination does come with a cost. Like most things, too much of even a good thing can be bad, and when you are overly determined to reach your goals, it’s easy to become obsessed with the prize enough that you neglect your well-being and other aspects of your life. It’s not uncommon to see highly ambitious, motivated, and intelligent people fall victim to burnout, desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. So although determination is vital for success, using this unstoppable force requires awareness with a balanced approach that considers all aspects of yourself and your life.

What does it really mean to be Successful?

We all want success, but what does it mean to be successful? Success means different things to different people. Success goes beyond money and wealth. It involves various aspects of life that contribute to overall happiness and fulfillment. For example, we’ve all seen the rich and famous struggling with loneliness and depression.

So what does success mean to you?

If I can break down different aspects of life that contribute to our well-being, it would include the following:

Aspects of LifeProsCons
Money and WealthProvides security and freedomMay lead to a materialistic mindset
Career AccomplishmentsSense of achievement and personal growthCan lead to work-life imbalance
RelationshipsEmotional support and happinessCan be challenging to maintain
Health and Well-beingVital for overall happiness and longevityRequires effort and self-care
Personal DevelopmentContinuous growth and self-improvementCan be time-consuming

Finding out what’s important to you boils down to what makes you happy. Again I have to repeat, what makes YOU happy. Not your friends, family, colleagues, etc. This means you must dig down, get into some self-reflection, and ask yourself if what you want and strive for right now is really what you want. If not, why are you doing it? We often choose our end goal based on what we think may get us what we want, which is usually freedom and happiness, but navigating your journey to success can be tricky. Sometimes the destination looks promising, but the reality may not match your expectations.

Success is more than just reaching the Destination

“Everyone wants to be on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it” – Andy Rooney

I learned that, ultimately, success is not defined by just reaching the destination but rather by embracing the entire journey and process. It requires continuous self-reflection, adaptation, and growth while staying true to yourself. You’ve probably heard that “it’s not just about reaching the top, but also about how you get there .”While this has almost become cliche, it still rings true. Many get lost in their pursuit of success and fail to check in at times to ask “Am I on the right path? Am I being true to who I am?” “Am I enjoying this”?” It’s important to reflect on your actions and decisions along the way and, most importantly, to recognize the little wins you’ve accomplished on your way to the top.

Celebrating the achievements you’ve made along your journey is vital because it helps feed your determination and tells you you’re on the right path. You’ll know because you can feel it! That exhilarating rush of excitement, prolonged enthusiasm, and unquenched passion for what you’re doing means you’re on the right track to reaching your goal. Sure, that mountain climb can require a lot of hard work that, at times, may make you stop to catch your breath. But when you stop, you can look down and appreciate how much you’ve already climbed. The small wins propel you to keep moving forward with a renewed sense of passion for your mission that sometimes we forget when we get lost in the action of climbing.

Self-reflection, adaptation, growth, and staying true to yourself while celebrating the small wins along the way is the journey and process of success. But what other qualities are essential for success?

What does it take to be Successful?

People who have experienced success in any area of their life have similarly exhibited the following qualities: 

1. Effective Communication: Successful individuals communicate clearly with empathy and understanding.

2. Adaptability: They stay flexible and can adjust to new situations and challenges. 

3. Determination and Persistence: Successful people work hard, stay determined, and don’t give up easily.

4. Positive Mindset: They maintain a positive outlook and believe in their abilities to overcome obstacles. They thrive even during tough times.

5. Continuous Learning: Successful individuals look for always looking for new ways to learn and improve themselves.

6. Goal Setting: They set clear and achievable goals, which helps them stay focused and motivated.

7. Networking: Successful people understand that building meaningful relationships and connections is important.

8. Time Management: They know how to maximize productivity by effectively managing their time and prioritizing tasks.

9. Resilience: Successful individuals bounce back from failures and setbacks, using them as opportunities for learning and growth.

10. Self-Discipline: They are committed to their goals and stay the course without giving in to unnecessary distractions or impulses.

Although all are significant elements for success, determination has to be the most critical. When you’re determined to accomplish your goals, you have the necessary ingredient that will fuel you to either achieve success or pivot and change to reach it.

How Determination is the Key to Success

  • “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” – Vince Lombardi
  • “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Take it from these iconic people, determination plays a critical role in achieving success. When you have determination, it’s like a  fire inside you that keeps burning, pushing you forward despite the challenges standing between you and the finish line. It helps you seek out the necessities to accomplish your goals; whether changing your mindset, seeking new tools, or making new connections, determination will fuel you closer and closer to your success. Without determination and persistence, giving up when it gets challenging is almost inevitable.

With determination in the driver seat, you see setbacks as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve. You analyze what went wrong, make adjustments, and keep moving forward. With determination, you become unstoppable. You have the drive and perseverance to keep pushing yourself toward success, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it may seem. So cultivate determination within yourself by feeding it with positive thoughts, surround yourself with supportive people, and never lose sight of your goals. It’ll get you closer to success sooner than you think.

Disadvantages of Determination

It’s easy to see the positives of being determined to reach your goals, but being overly determined can have its downsides and may even hinder success in the long run. We can breakdown determination into several components:

Determination = (Persistence + Motivation + Focus + Resilience + Ambition)

Determination ComponentsProsCons
PersistenceAchieving goalsIgnoring warning signs
MotivationOvercoming obstaclesBurnout
FocusIncreased productivityTunnel vision
ResilienceLearning from failuresInflexibility
AmbitionSetting high standardsNeglecting other areas of life

While persistence is important for achieving goals, it can also lead you to ignore critical warning signs and continue pursuing a path that may not be the most beneficial. Recognizing when it’s time to reassess and adjust strategies instead of blindly persisting is crucial.

Another drawback of excessive determination is the potential for burnout. When we’re motivated to accomplish a goal, pushing ourselves to reach that goal may seem worth the trade-off, even at the expense of self-care and rest. This can result in physical and mental exhaustion, ultimately impacting our ability to perform our best. When motivation is running the show,  burnout usually creeps up slowly until it sets in completely.

Additionally, being overly determined can lead to tunnel vision. While focus is essential for success, too much focus on a single goal can prevent you from seeing alternative paths or opportunities. This narrow perspective may limit creativity and innovation, hindering overall progress.

Resilience is another characteristic associated with determination, but it can also have its drawbacks. While learning from failures is important, being overly resilient can lead to inflexibility. Individuals may become resistant to change or unwilling to adapt their strategies, even when it’s necessary for growth and success.

Lastly, ambition, a driving force behind determination, can lead individuals to set high standards for themselves. While setting goals is essential, being overly ambitious can create unrealistic expectations and put unnecessary pressure on yourself. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and disappointment if these high standards are not met.


Determination is vital for success, but it’s important to remember that determination requires balance. Being too determined to reach your goal can make you inflexible, leave you exhausted, and prevent you from learning and adapting to the situation. Being open to making necessary changes and remembering to look out for warning signs such as burnout or negative emotions is vital to reaching success and experiencing it. You may even find that throughout the process, your goals change as you adapt and grow. Determination is a powerful trait to master because it means you can learn through failure, pivot when the situation changes, and keep working towards your goal without losing the motivation to reach your goals. It’s important to ask yourself why you set specific goals for yourself and to remember that success is not just about the result but also the process and journey to the destination.


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