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The Determination Factor

November 28, 2014 by  
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Last week I examined the word determination and talked about how critically important and life changing determination can be in anyone’s life. It really is a huge key in the lives of successful people in virtually every human endeavor. The definition of determination is “the quality of being resolute; a fixed purpose or intention.”  If you want to hear about having a fixed purpose beyond, or at least equal to, anything I’ve ever heard about, then you need to hear the story of Joe Simpson. If you and I can muster just a fraction of his determination as we set any goal for our lives then I am confident that we could each reach our goals.

You may have read the story about Joe Simpson in his book Touching the Void or saw the movie documentary by the same name. But even if you already know the story it is so very worth hearing it again, because there is so much we can learn and profit from his story of determination.  I will have to say that it would be tough to really have as much determination as Joe had because his life was on the line, but I do believe that it’s possible to push one’s thinking to the point that we see that our life, at least part of it, really is on the line.

Joe Simpson was hiking and climbing with his buddy Simon Yates in the frozen mountains of Peru when disaster struck. Joe slipped and fell and slid down the icy glacier. Simon dug into the ice and snow as deep as he could and held onto the rope that tethered them together. But eventually he began to be pulled toward the edge and at the last minute he was forced to cut the rope that held his friend. Joe fell a very long way and ended up in deep crevasse. Simon was certain that Joe was dead and made his way back to camp feeling absolutely devastated.

But Joe didn’t die. With a compound fracture in his leg, his shin bone shoved up into his kneecap, and knowing his life was all but over he still became determined not to die. He stumbled, hopped, and crawled for days to get himself down off a 3000 foot glacier covering more than 8 miles in freezing conditions without water or food. His true stroke of genius was the numerous 20 minute goals he set to help his brain deal with the huge distance he knew he had to travel. He would spot a rock or block of ice a hundred meters or so in the distance and crawled or hopped toward it while keeping track of the time.  Joe Simpson’s great, or I should say HUGE, determination factor and his simple plan saved his life.

You and I need to remember this story and try to implement that kind of determination when we set goals for ourselves. Even though our lives might not literally depend on those goals, how our lives are and what they will be do depend on reaching our goals. There is so much more to Joe’s story and how to use determination to reach even the most impossible seeming goal in Chapter 6 of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living.

 

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