One of the key ingredients to living successfully has to be being determined. And this has mostly been a challenge for me.

I remember climbing up the narrow steps to the top of a lighthouse. I made it up to about 98% at the top. Yet that last elusive 2% involved going up a steep ladder. Fear overtook me (yes, I had this thing about climbing ladders). Determination fled. To this day, I regret it.

When Nature Leads The Way

I learned about determination from plants. The blue pea that persists in my garden amazes me. I had discarded the first plant and entire pot ages ago.

Yet, the sneaky creeper’s descendents wait silently in shady corners. The minute I am busy with my work, it starts to snake its way up a bigger plant. Winding up and winding up its host plant, until it reaches to the top.

I pull it out with irritation, only to discover it or its sibling growing ferociously again. My irritation has been replaced by a silent admiration. I realized that this hardy plant has a never-die attitude that I could learn much from.

Like plants that sometimes evolve to suit the environment, I find that I too have evolved. Determination is becoming a friend of mine.

The Early Stages

But I do have to warn you about something. That is if you too are keen on being more determined.

When I first started to focus on determination, my body protested loudly. Let me explain.

There were times when I wanted to work for longer hours than normal. My mind was focused and my heart was totally for it. It was only the body that refused to play nice.

A queasy stress would then surge up, overpowering me completely. Initially I thought I was tired out, etc. Blinded, I usually gave in to the body’s refusal to carry on.

Later I learnt that it’s sort of a built-in mechanism the body has when you move out of your comfort zone.

Isn’t it ironic that you need determination to be determined?

Determination Rules

Am I more determined now? I’m getting there.

I give more intent to work on things. And I push through to complete certain things before the day ends.

Admittedly, it helps tremendously that there’s a small group that I “report” to about my progress. My reports clearly show when my determinations spike.

We keep one another’s spirit up through constant discussions. It’s like companion planting in gardens. When you grow certain different plants close to one another, they do extremely well. So, pick your cheerleaders wisely.

By the way, don’t expect cultivating determination to be like cooking instant noodles. Think more along the lines of growing a solid large tree that will live for centuries. It’s time-consuming, for sure. But well worth the effort!

Sheela Prabhakaran is a writer and trainer who has a keen interest in people and nature. Her career started out in publishing followed by many years in Corporate Communication. Over time she has reached out to people of all walks of life through copywriting, writing books and articles. Her training experience includes Business English and Communication. She has embarked on an exciting new spiritual journey which sees her exploring more ways to share ideas on leading a healthier and happier life. She can be reached at