Determination has many names. Some call it heart. Fighters call it hunger. Grit is another name for it.

Aside from very few pursuits whether other talents such as excessive brains, beauty, or physical stature wins the day, determination is in my opinion the most important variable that determines whether someone succeeds.

It seems, however, that determination is “undetermined”.

We test for intelligence on SATs to determine college placements. And we test for intelligence on GPAs to determine job placement (don’t deny it πŸ˜› ). But where and when do we test for determination?

Furthermore, is determination genetic or is it cultural? Can it be trained?

In particular, can I say or write something that makes people more determined? The answer to that is probably yes: It is called inspiration.

However, I think determination is different from being inspired. Determination may be thought of as “self-inspiration”. Do you do things because you are inspired by others or can you inspire yourself? (And the third one: Can you inspire others?). It is the same dynamics as leading and following. We say some are natural leaders — and many are natural followers. However, leadership can also be taught and presumably followership(*)can be taught (like in the military?).

(*) Interestingly that word is not in the dictionary.

Can self-inspiring determination be taught though?

In other news, check out the dark side of early retirement.

Originally posted 2010-04-30 09:11:41.