Determination Is Not a Strategy
In the movie, The Guardian, Kevin Costner plays a Coast Guard rescue diver. His protégé asked, “How do you decide who will live and who will die?”
Costner, a highly decorated veteran, answered, “I swim as long and as hard as I can to save as many as I can, and the sea takes the rest.” Let’s call this determination.
No characteristic in business, marriage, family, or ministry success is more important than determination. Without being firm, resolute, and fixed in purpose nothing much will happen. Determination is an essential characteristic of all successful people. Determination is what separates leaders who change the world from those who wished they had done more.
But determination is not a strategy. One determined man I know has never been able to find the success he wants. He cannot believe he hasn’t had a “break,” but he keeps repeating the same mistakes. He won’t study to find the right information. He doesn’t feel the need for a mentor. In short, his strategy is determination.
In my race car, I was two seconds a lap too slow. For months I was determined to drive faster. Six wasted months later, I used data acquisition software to compare my corner entry speed with a faster driver. I was shocked! In my mind, I had “made up” what the problem and solution would be, and with determination had been attacking the problem. Only it was the wrong problem. I had the wrong information. Once I stopped trying to solve my problem with mere determination, I was able to make the correction.
In strategy, we need the right information, the right ideas, the right people, the right plan, the right resources, the right execution and, of course, determination—everything has to be in place.
Let’s not get caught thinking we can “bulldoze” our way to men’s ministry success—or any other kind of success. Instead, let’s get the training we need.
- Want to be a better husband? Read a book on marriage or attend a marriage seminar. Get into a small group with other men and hold each other accountable.
- Want to be a better father? Attend a parenting seminar or join Scouts/Indian Princess.
- Want to be a better businessman? After 100 years of management research, everything you need to know is out there. But it’s not like gold nuggets lying on the ground—you have to mine for it. So get some training.
- Want to be a better men’s disciple-maker? Get a group of likeminded leaders together and attend one of our No Man Left Behind training conferences.
I know you’re determined. But if you really want true success, do you have the right information? Do you know what else needs to be in place? What is a logical next step for you to add strategy to your determination?
Yours for changed lives…
Pat Morley, Ph.D.