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by Ron Kurtus (revised 14 Decmber 2017)

Determination is a positive personal character trait where you are intent on achieving a goal. The opposite of determination includes disinterest, hesitation, and indecisiveness. Being too determined to achieve a goal may be obsessiveness or unable to see the difficulties.

After you make a firm decision to proceed on a task or goal, you may run into roadblocks and obstacles. If you have learned the rule that you should be determined to achieve that goal, you will focus your energy and efforts to stick with it until the job is done.

However, if you are not determined, you will often give up and often not get things done. If you are determined to achieve a worthwhile goal, you will reap the rewards, including gaining in confidence.

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Questions you may have are:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Being determined

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A person who is determined has a firmness of purpose and the resolve to achieve a goal. It is a fixed intention or resolution to overcome obstacles.

For example, a person may be determined to graduate from college and get a degree despite financial hardships. Or a baseball player may be determined to catch a ball that seems hit too far away. He tries his best to catch that ball instead of giving up on it.

If there is a possibility, a determined person will try to achieve the goal. Of course, there are some things judged out of your reach. The ball player would be foolish to run after a ball hit out of the ballpark.

The motto of the U.S. Marines, which goes something like:

"The difficult, we do right away. The impossible takes a little longer."

Giving up

Some people give up too soon.

A person may have a goal to do something, but then the task seems more difficult than he or she thought it would be. The person then weighs the desire to achieve the goal versus the work required and decides to quit.

For example, a young man may want to get a job as an electrician. But then he finds that he must take classes and go through a two-year apprenticeship. To him, that is too much work. So, he continues working at McDonald's.

Another situation is if the person does not have confidence in his or her ability to complete the task.

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Some people jump from one thing to another, without even completing what they started. They aren't very determined to achieve their goal.

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There are a variety of benefits from being determined to achieve your goal.


One major benefit of being determined is that you achieve what you set out to do. If it was a good goal, you will reap the benefits of that achievement.

Other people usually can have a positive opinion of you. A person who is steadfast and determined to achieve an honorable goal is admired as having good character.

There is personal satisfaction in achieving what you set out to achieve. And that achievement can make you feel confident, like a champion.


Famous people have made comments on the benefits of determination.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

"Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it."
Winston Churchill

"Never stop. One stops as soon as something is about to happen."
Peter Brock

"Stop looking for your purpose . . . Be it!"
Dr. Wayne Dyer

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing."
Abraham Lincoln

"The Wright brothers flew right through the smoke screen of impossibility."
Charles F. Kettering

"Your opponent, in the end, is never really the player on the other side of the net, or the swimmer in the next lane, or the team on the other side of the field, or even the bar you must high-jump. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination."
Grace Lichtenstein

"Act as if it were impossible to fail."
Dorothea Brand

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog!"

Such sayings can be inspiring.


Some people quit too soon. If you are determined to achieve your goals, you will most likely reap the rewards of your hard work and gain confidence. It also is an indication of your character.

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Be determined to do your best

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Character topics

Character Rule: Be Determined to Achieve Your Goal

Character topics

Character is important

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How others learned character

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Seek knowledge and gain skills

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