Determination in its purest form stems from “ignited passion.”

There is a certain level of confidence and strength that must be present in order to maintain a determined disposition. It’s not something we can fake. When we are passionate about something and believe in ourselves enough to move in the direction of our goals –  we can wake up the human will and potential necessary to achieve our greatest dreams.

I’m mesmerized by my son’s determination with many things in life, in particular his aptitude and tenacity in sports. He has a quiet confidence about him and a fierce determination that’s captivating. His will to put his all into his sport, whether baseball or hockey, isn’t “put on” or expected of him. This will comes from deep within the core of who he is. It is unbridled passion.

As a spectator, I’m less concerned with whether he wins or loses. We are, after all, talking about little league baseball. And while winning is important to some, my biggest concern is whether or not he is having fun and learning good sportsmanship.

I’m truly intrigued by the seriousness and drive with which he approaches the game. He may be a little-leaguer, but to him it’s important business, and something he enjoys to the ends of the earth. When he goes up to bat he is preparing for the big home run – you can see it in his eyes. Whether he gets that big hit or not, he runs to first base like his pants are on fire. If he strikes out he doesn’t let that dampen his spirits –  he goes up to bat the next time with the same fervor and determination.

My point here has less to do with little league baseball and everything to do with the human spirit and its amazing capacity to keep pushing forward when things are uncertain or challenging.

These three powerful human characteristics can help us view our dreams and passions through a more hopeful determined lens. They can help us ignite our own determined disposition.


The human spirit is strong and resilient, and can overcome some of the most tragic circumstances. There are countless stories, historical and current, in which people have faced unthinkable challenges and yet they carry on. They are somehow willing to tap into something deep inside themselves that keeps them moving forward. I can’t help but be moved and inspired by this amazing trait we are born with. It’s something we can draw on to overcome adversity and help us reach our dreams.


Some of the most rewarding learning experiences in my life have resulted from facing challenges that require courage and raw determination. For me, it isn’t about winning or losing, or achieving a certain result. It’s about refusing to stop in my tracks at the first sign of fear. It’s not allowing obstacles to prevent dreams from becoming a reality. At the end of the day, it’s about finding that inner strength we all have, and summoning the courage to align it with the things we are most passionate about.


When we give ourselves permission to ignite the passion in our lives and believe in ourselves regardless of the outcome – we give ourselves one of the greatest gifts in life.

What would happen if you gave yourself the gift of looking at what some of your passions are? Perhaps you are already pursuing some. Other passions may be long forgotten, or may appear too big to achieve.

See what happens when you practice thinking about these passions the same way a young child would. Emulate the child who believes in his heart that the home run is not only possible, but something he will achieve. Imagine what we could do in life if we approached our dreams, passions, and talents with the same determined mindset.

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  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: