What’s Inside of You Part VI

Written by Nguyen Griggs

Dr. Nguyen "Tom" Griggs is a native Houstonian. He holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and a master's degree in Business and Administration from the University of Houston. For the past 18 years, Dr. Griggs dedicated himself to college students' success in and out of the classroom. As a sensei at TNT JuJitsu, he coaches troubled kids to take better paths. He is an instructor in Verbal Judo and has certificates in Advanced Negotiations and Conflict Resolution from Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business.
Dec 31, 2011

Thus far in this series, we have covered a great range of different emotions and personality traits that exist in all of us. This next one trait however, is one of my very favorites. Let me get right to it my friends. Determination is one of the key elements to success. People have pushed themselves to unimaginable heights of achievement, greatness and accomplishment because they were highly determined.

I can think for example, of my dad who came from very difficult and meager circumstances. He lived in the segregated South where because of his skin color he had to endure a restricted life. His life was also arduous because of his family were all sharecroppers which meant daily, back breaking work in the cotton fields and around area. Education and higher-minded aspirations were not in his future. At that time, very few people of color made it past high school.

But my dad told me that different high school teachers and a few other people told him that he was very smart – he was gifted with a high degree of what most of us call common sense. One expression of his intelligence and passion could be seen in his ability to quickly learn about, fix and improve mechanical devices. Things such as lawnmower engines, cars, trucks, tractors etc. were devices that my dad could work on and fix very readily. This is something that would serve him in his future.

As my dad got closer to his high school graduation, he had to make a choice about his future. He could remain in the small town where he was located and live out the rest of his days there or he could take the vocational test for the U.S. Army and go to Vietnam. Obviously, since I exist, he chose the Vietnam route. My dad took a chance you see. He made a choice to go not only outside of himself and the only life he ever knew, but he went into an arena where he had a high likelihood of horrible injury or death. I mean, he chose to go to war for a government that had allowed him to be oppressed and treated as a 2nd class citizen and a 3rd rate human being.

But the power of determination is just that strong. A person who is determined to be something greater than what they are, who possesses a primal focus on success will go to any heights and endure anything to see their goal attained and their dreams realized. Howard Thurman once said, “At the core of life is a hard purposefulness, a determination to live.” No statement could be truer of what my dad had to do to become the person he is now. He wanted to live as a man, a man that could enjoy the same respect and freedoms of every other person. But he knew that where he was physically would not allow that. So he made the choice and left his hometown, went into the Army and had adventures and growing experiences in both Europe and Vietnam.

His tale is the story of many people that we all know. It may be one or both of your parents; it could be a teacher, a friend or it may be you. The power of determination is amazing. Large, heavy objects can fly into space because of the desire, the will of people to make it happen. We have seen diseases and plagues defeated by the willpower of those that wanted the world free of such plights. Never take for granted the life that you have – if anything, your circumstances can help elevate or catapult you to greater heights. The power of determination is immense and far-reaching. Tap into what you have, reach for those dreams and goals and stay in the fight until you have won. Remember, your life is a gift – share it generously and wisely.

P.S. The next post will be the conclusion of this amazing seven part series. We will conclude and then stay tuned as I make you an amazing offer.