We’ve all heard of J. K. Rowling and her famous Harry Potter books. Her life is often used as an example of determination and persistence to intentionally inspire many people who are struggling on their life journey.
What nominates J. K. Rowling to be one of the world’s most determined person? First, she moved to a different continent to live with her husband who ended up abusing her. After divorcing him, she moved back to U.S. as a single mum without a job. She then lived on food stamps and after a while decided to write at night. Before releasing the book that made her one of the wealthiest women in the world, she was rejected by numerous publishers. While feeling exhausted, she managed to find the inner strength to write at night.
When you hear a story like that, you kind of start to wonder what made her believe in herself and what helped her push through those difficult times.
This kind of human strength is deeply fascinating. When things are not working out, for most of us we start undermining and doubting ourselves, yet there are other ways to approach challenging and uncertain situations.
Let’s hear some advice collected from admirably determined people that meant to support us in becoming a like more like our dear friend J.K.
1. Rise Above Your Fear of Failure
Before even beginning a journey towards our goal, we might feel afraid that our effort will not pay off. That stops us from even starting.
Remember this, failure is not a waste of time, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just one step in the direction of your progress. It’s a lesson made of valuable information.
If you don’t give your best in attempting to reach your dreams, you will always wonder if you could have made it work. The thought of not putting a little more effort getting what you want could end up haunting you for a long time. (1)
2. Choose Uncertainty over Unhappiness
Unknown things and situations are scary. But, your current limitations are just temporary setbacks and you can easily overcome them by acquiring new information.
Get curious. The more you know about a situation, the less frightened you will feel.
For example: if you think you are not capable of starting your own business because you don’t have experience, why not calling up someone that you know is an expert in this area? You can prepare as many questions as you can to ask your “expert”.
Being determined doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself, on the contrary. It means being resources and including anything and anyone who may support materializing your “master-plan”. If you want to succeed in something important you will have to educate yourself, join a course, get back to college and do whatever you need to gradually enquire a higher the level of certainty. (2)
3. Embrace the Possibility of Rejection
Everybody experiences rejection. It is uncomfortable, for sure, but it is not unbearable. When is the last time you heard that someone died from rejection?
Okay, this is a little bit extreme, and we sure do get insecure about our worthiness if we get rejected. But, for a second, try to look at it from another perspective. Imagine someone really successful, a person you admire and respect very much. Someone that inspires you.
There is 99% chance that the person you’ve chosen to admire experienced rejection at some point in his/her life. Now, imagine if he/she allowed that rejection to stop him/her from what they were doing? Imagine if he/she gave up?
You wouldn’t even get to hear about this person’s name.
The thing is, no matter how many times you fall, the only thing that counts is getting up, licking your wounds and going forward. (3)
4. Develop Patience
Would you like to do it now or to do it right?
It’s a long road to success. So sometimes we need to wait for a longer period of time to do something properly. If we hurry, we risk to lose everything or end up with a poor outcome.
Once, I was so eager to record a song I wrote that I didn’t wait patiently to do all of the needed steps in the process. When my song was released, I saw a million different things that I could have done better and overall I didn’t feel satisfied with my work.
This is why we need to patiently plan our steps. Focus on one small goal at a time. Not be impulsive. Stay humble and wait for the perfect chance to shine while being fully and truly committed to our “master-plan”.
It’s like fishing. If you’re impatient and keep pulling your fishing rod too early, you are going to lose the fish. You have to wait for the right moment to catch it.
5. Keep your Long-Term Goal in Mind
During difficult times, reminding yourself why you started working on your project in the first place can be helpful. When you feel like quitting, imagine how content you would feel if you manage to achieve your goal. Keep that picture in mind and harness energy from it as much as you can, so that it gets you through the crisis and get’s you away from thoughts about wanting to quit.
Sometimes, designing your own vision board and placing it on your desk or hanging it on your bedroom wall can help, too. When our tired brain wants to “sign out”, keeping our senses stimulated by these reminders can become a crucial support in creating long term determination. (4)
6. Let Go of the Need to Complain
Determined people suggest that developing the ability to restrain ourselves from complaining can hugely help increasing personal effectiveness. Whenever we feel like indulging in self-pity, we must stop them before the whole thing spirals out of control. In order to support ourselves we can avoid phrases like „I will never make it,” „I don’t know what to do” or „This is just too much.”
When we complain we sink deeper in a negative mindset. This stops us from believing in ourselves and causes further reasons for complaints. It’s a vicious cycle.
Our words have power, they are creating our reality. Instead of wasting time on feeling sorry about our current situation, we can use that time to find solutions that will make things better. Fix the problem. Move on.
7. Keep Focusing on Yourself
It can be tempting to try and impress other people. No matter how skilful we get in leaving a great impression, in the end, we are likely wasting our energy on irrelevant things. People may or may not like us, so we shouldn’t focus much on people pleasing and image management. When we can do is to relax and give others a chance to get to know the real us.
When we try too hard to impress people, we may come across as needy or pushy.
And who cares what other people think, anyway? You cannot satisfy everyone's needs and expectations. The important thing is that the people who love you stay by your side no matter what. So, keep focusing on yourself and on what you are doing. You will find that this is a great source of determination.
8. Accept That You Won’t be Able to Control Everything
Would you like to change the world? Okay. But first, let’s see what are the possibilities.
Choose specific areas, communities on which you have an actually impact and start from there. Don’t waste your energy on trying to the change the whole system or the people around you. Accept people for who they are, offer them support but don’t ask them to think or act in any particular way. Work with elements that are within your circle of influence rather than something you are powerless over.
If you feel like you want to change something but you don’t know where to start, look within and begin with yourself. Control your destiny, but appreciate the bigger forces of life working in mysteries ways.
9. Eliminate Distractions
When you are working, it is important to keep your focus.
While writing this article, I just had to check what Jennifer Lawrence said in her latest interview and then quickly went to sneak a peek at my friend’s Facebook photo. I lost so much time that the simple act of looking at the clock drove me straight to panic. My lesson learned- next time I am working, I must make sure that Facebook and internet browsing happens during my time that is designated for breaks.
I invite you to do the same. In the name of determination decide to skip chatting with your friend while you are focusing on important tasks, place your phone outside your reach, postpone answering some e-mails until you finish what you started.
One of the most determined people of the World, a guy named Tim Ferris, talks about many different ways of distracting distractions. It is absolutely amazing to see how much money and time can be saved when introducing some discipline and order into how we work.
10. Turn your Dreams into Goals
What is your dream? Having dreams is important, many great achievements started with only a dream. Unfortunately, it often occurs that we get so caught up with our imagination that we forget to set clear deadlines and actionable steps for reaching whatever is that we dream of.
Determination is useless without a destination.
Choose where you want to go and never, ever give up.
(Read this next: How to Keep a Commitment with Yourself)