Decoding Determination


Motivation is a tricky chord. What is it that drives us to pursue a goal? I recently had a client of mine express perfectly her struggle to understand the concept. She said that just by having the word “drive” in the sentence made her feel unmotivated. Perhaps drive is not a good relatable term.

I laugh because now thinking about it, anytime I do have aspirations to travel in my car, especially if it is for work, I feel drudgery. She put it into a new light for me.

She felt compelled to use the word “determined.” That made a lot of sense to me as a relatable term. It is, in fact, what I relate to in even my own conquests. When having a feeling of determination, I do not feel drudgery, I feel unstoppable. Wow!

So, where does the determination come from? Before I address this question, it is very important to point out the fact the pre-determination is not determination itself. There are no strong, altruistic ambitions that have been executed if we are pre-determined to do so. Determination is action in the moment of cause, while pre-determination is action away from a cause. Sort of a procrastination type of “Oh, well, I can get to it tomorrow” attitude.

Determination comes from two types of human relatability. The first is compassion. This is a sense of connection and interdependence with your friends and family. Wanting for them what you want for yourself. The second is obsession. This brings a sense of separation and independence. When we’re obsessive we lose connection with others around us. Trying too much to be a certain person in only particular situations.

A lot of the ways I grew up as an athlete, and then into the fitness/personal training realm, was built around an obsessive mindset. Meaning, I would have to project out somebody else as an opponent, or threat, in order to defeat and make myself feel bigger. While it worked during competition, it absolutely drained me in being able to socially relate. With this mindset, I never have been able to feel completely good about my achievements. Simply put, my efforts lacked fulfillment.

Moving towards a compassionate mindset has brought me profound experiences. I am more in touch with not only those around me, but my own intuitive guidance. I remember a particular obstacle race I participated in. In this race, I got caught up in a slower pack that I could just not get ahead of. Instead of being obsessive about that thought of being stuck and blaming them, I began helping those who were struggling to get through the obstacles. Boy did that feel great! I let go of even thinking about what my race time was, and received a much greater sense of pride.

Whenever I am obsessed about something, I am chasing a particular type of pride that is quite small, and that is envy. Most of my motivation is fear-based in this pursuit. I am trying more to not be somebody than I am to actually be myself. In fact, that person that we’re not trying to be is ourselves. That person you are trying not to be, IS You! Profound.

Determination that is fulfilling comes from a desire to be able to connect with fellow beings. It is not getting ahead of the pack and being crowned champion. This takes a love-based approach. Our intentions and actions must be addressed in that manner. Otherwise, fear becomes our main motivation and we remain hidden.

By Trey Tompkins

Contributing Columnist

Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for The Record-Herald.

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