• Cecilia Macaulay

Determination, or something better?

Updated: Jan 8, 2019



When you do things with determination, you get results. There are, however, two sides to everything. This first week of the new year is a good time to gaze deeply at 'determination', as we work out how to get to where we want to be, via the most satisfying and angst-free path.


This time last year, someone at a party asked me 'What are your goals for 2018? I told them I didn't have any dates in my diary...for the rest of my life. They looked at me like I was a bit dangeous. Yet, as expected, I had a full and interesting year.


Some personalities get energized by making things up as they go, and others get energized by a firm plan to a known destination. Some people enjoy writing haiku, to see what comes up. They like things to emerge. Others enjoy origami: follow the steps, and you get to the goal. They like things to converge, on that pre-decided goal.


'Tei' is the Kanji for 'determined' in Japanese. You'll see it in the word for 'Set Menu'.

Teishoku menu, Sydney


定 = 宀 + 止

The bit on the top is a roof with a chimney 宀. It referes to being completly under something.

The other part is a stylized stop '止', or terminus.


Just like English

de = completly under (as in descent, defend).

'Termine' = end goal (as in terminus).

So in both languages, 'determination' is about submiting yourself to an end goal, decided at some point in the past, and not stopping till you get there. No matter what.

So how do we make goals that we aren't going to regret?

Tonight over didnner I asked my 22 year old French WWOOFer what he thought of determined poeple. He said they had a 50/50 chance of having their projects succeed.


My favourite solution is that each big-picture person who likes fuzzy goals and beginning things gets matched up with an an unstoppable determined person who likes the ending bit of the project. Steering AND Power. If they find ways to trust and listen to each other, creative and effectve things get started and finished, and the world becomes a better place.






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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved