I saw him sitting on an evergreen branch outside my window as the Saturday morning sunrise lit up the new-fallen snow as it would a carpet sprinkled with sparkling jewels.
He seemed so tiny and alone, a silhouette against the dazzling eastern sky. As the sun rose higher, I could see he was a small snowbird, obviously apart from his fellows who usually assemble and play in groups. Joyfully, they flit about upon the snow, find pieces of grain, and huddle together for warmth.
Watching him brought memories of a time when I felt very small and alone…
It was my first college year of clinical practice as a student therapist. I had to write and turn in reports
on each patient I worked with in the University clinic.
As children, we often shuttered when a teacher returned our reports with a few big red marks signaling our errors. However, Dr. Wilson, a man who I will always remember and admire, returned my clinical reports. He gave my first reports so many red marks that they looked like they had the measles!
One day, he said, “To write well, you need to read a lot and write a lot – and when you see these red marks, know that they are there because I believe in you. You won’t need to make these mistakes again. Just pay attention to them!”
I began to pay attention to each error, one by one, and one by one, the red marks grew fewer. This experience fortified my determination and strengthened my courage in what I could accomplish.
How can we keep our determination strong down each pathway of achievement we travel? Here are some valuable ideas to think about…
1. Think with purpose; keep your heart and mind focused on the end goal you want to achieve.
2. Take three valuable actions suggested by Paul J. Meyer who wrote, “Construct your determination with sustained effort, controlled attention, and concentrated energy.”
3. Remember the wisdom from an Indian proverb that reads, “Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work.” Use obstacles as learning tools and stepping stones to reach what you envision.
4. Choose your ideal pathway based on your values, make a firm commitment to excellence, and take
responsibility for your choices.
5. Most of all, realize that the Creator gave you some very special gifts that no one can use exactly like you can use them. If you haven’t discovered those gifts, look closely at the activities that seem to light a fire in your soul. You will be very close to some amazing discoveries…
…My little friend waited in the evergreen branch for a while. Soon, several more snowbirds landed at the base of the tree. He gleefully joined them, and off they went to enjoy the morning.
That reminds me of a sixth key in building and maintaining determination: Have patience in all things.
Do what you can now, even if you must wait for your efforts to bring results. Then return your thoughts to your purpose, and you will attract many others of like “feather” to help guide you along the way!