Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.—Calvin Coolidge
Determination is one of those traits that tends to make itself quickly noticeable on a person’s face. Watch Lionel Messi’s face as he’s taking the ball downfield and you’ll see determination; he’s not going to be satisfied until that ball is in the goal. Watch Jason Heyward’s face when he steps up to bat for the Cardinals, or whomever he ends up playing for next season; the ball is going to be hit. And have you seen Peyton Manning’s face when he’s forced out of the pocket by a defensive lineman? He has no intention of going down with that ball.
Sports are not the only place where one sees such determination on a face, though. Watch the dad trying to change the diaper of a wiggling infant while using the baby changing station in a public facility; that is determination. Look at the face of a young woman as she prepares for her first job interview after college; you’re seeing determination. Better yet, admire the face of a young child as they build they attempt to build that tower of blocks higher and higher; physics be damned, they are going to put the red one on the very top, even if they have to stand on someone else to do so.
Determination is what moves the world forward; people who refused to give up even when facing insurmountable odds. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence were determined to form, “a more perfect union.” Lewis and Clark were determined to map out the wilderness West of the Mississippi River. Dr. Jonas Salk was determined to find a way to prevent polio from ruining so many lives. Sure, mistakes, miscalculations, and unexpected changes in condition can at times thwart the best of plans, but those who ultimately win pick themselves up, along with those around them, and keep moving forward.
I have a great number of concerns about the future for a host of reasons I won’t list at the moment; the obstacles we face are significant and the current game plan hasn’t worked as well as we’d hoped. I have been so incredibly tempted to just give up. Don’t worry, we won’t. We move forward, adjusting, changing, re-tooling, and maybe even tearing some things down so we can rebuild. My face is as set as Ben’s. Hmm, I wonder where he get it.