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Principles for Personal Growth

THE ROOT OF DETERMINATION is deter, which originally meant to frighten from. It means to set limits using fear or doubt. You deter your kid from going into the street with fear, for example.

When you deter yourself from getting sidetracked or interrupted or blocked from your goal, you are “determined.” You are demonstrating determination. And determination is a powerful force.

The reason water comes out the end of a hose with such force is that the water is deterred from going in any other direction. The hose itself deters the water. It limits the water from going in every direction except one.

This tells us something practical about determination. To increase your own determination you would increase your firmness in maintaining the set limits. You would block other outlets for your force, and by doing so, you would become a force to be reckoned with.

Another word with the same root is deterioration which means to make worse. In practical terms, it means indulging in those sidetracks and interruptions rather than fearfully turning away from them. A hose that has deteriorated has leaks in it. The water coming out the end has lost some of its force.

When you set a goal, what will help you achieve that goal? Duct-taping the holes in your hose. Turning away (with fear) from things that leak out your force. For example, turning off the phone. Turning off the TV. Turning away from temptations and indulgences. Focusing your attention on your goal.

You could just let water flow where it naturally goes. It will flow downhill randomly, following the lay of the land, following the path of least resistance, and it will end up at the lowest level, where it will pool and stagnate. If there is a particular destination you prefer, the work of getting there is the work of blocking the water from flowing in any other direction — blocking your energy, attention, effort from going in any other direction than toward your goal.


Author: Adam Khan
author of the books, Principles For Personal Growth and Self-Help Stuff That Works

and creator of the blogs,, and
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