The Best Determination Quotes to Help You Muster Up Motivation

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By Melissa Hereford

READ MORE: Career advice, Inspiration, Quotes

Do you have a favorite quote about determination or perseverance? We've rounded up the best self-determination quotes that offer intrinsic motivation that'll give you the determination to succeed and achieve any individual goal or life dreams. Here's some success inspiration to get you going. Good luck!

You don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for.

"I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it." — Estée Lauder

Without determination, you will almost certainly fail. Everything is stacked against you. People say no and seem to move mountains into your path.

If you want to succeed and make your dreams come true, you must look at that mountain and visualize a tunnel under it, a path over it or a way around it. You have to persevere, to rally your courage, not just once, but day after day after day after day.

"You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else."  — Chris Evert 

Imagine a gymnast getting on the bars to practice over and over again, falling, getting up, making her way back to try, try again. She does this 10, 20, 40 hours a week.

When an athlete doesn’t win, she thinks, "I'm going to practice more. I'm going to try a different way. I'm going to do it again." You can apply that philosophy to the times when you feel ignored or dismissed at work. When you don’t get the resources for which you asked, find a different way around that mountain.

Negotiation skills will help you build resilience.

Resilience and determination are negotiation skills. Negotiations are any conversations when you have to agree on something with another person. And oftentimes you want very different things: You want another resource for your project, but your boss wants to keep headcount low. You want to turn in that report in two weeks, but the project lead wants it in one week. You want to scope a project to be sure it’s thorough, but the sales person wants it tomorrow.

Here are three ways to build grit in the face of resistance, to find the courage to keep going and to stick with it, even when you want to give up. 

1. What you think: Be determined.

“My father was a CPA, so I knew the law of averages. I knew that if I kept asking, a yes had to come.” — Cathy Hughes 

Cathy Hughes is the African-American entrepreneur who founded the media company Radio One (now known as Urban One). When the company went public in 1999, she became the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation. As of 2014, the company under the previous name Radio One (until May 2017) was the ninth-highest earning African-American business in the United States.

When she started out, Hughes was a divorced single mother with a dream. She brought her young son with her to the office and he slept and napped under her desk as she worked late into the night.

When she needed a bank loan to purchase her first radio station in Washington, D.C., Cathy got 31 rejections. It was bank #32 that gave her the loan. Can you imagine being so determined, having a belief strong enough to take you to another bank and another bank and yet another bank, 31 times? 

Compare that to the last time you asked for more resources and gave up when you got one “no.”   

Cathy’s interview on "How I Built This" was one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard.  

Determination lives or dies in your mind, in your belief in both yourself and your dream.

2. What you say: Ask questions when you get a no. 

"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity." — Eleanor Roosevelt

When you don’t get what you ask for, find out why.

There are always reasons that you can’t even imagine. Sometimes it’s the timing. The bank just made four loans to businesses like yours, it has to do with a quota and not you. Imagine if Hughes had thought, “My idea isn't good; that’s why they said no.”  

Every single person is living a life just as complex as yours. It’s concept called "Sonder: The Realization That Everyone Has A Story."

Once you understand that everyone is living their own story, you can get curious about what’s in it for them, what motivates them, how they’re measured by their boss and how you can help them succeed. 

Asking questions to find out more about why you got a no is the key to successfully negotiating a yes for the next time, or even changing a no into a yes when you find out more. Often, as you ask questions, you start to see that you can adjust things in your proposal.

There are two softeners that open the door for women to ask questions without seeming defensive:

  • "Can I ask you a few questions to be sure I understand?" Faced with this question, most people will happily answer your questions.
  • "Help me understand." Most people are happy to help.

3. What you do: Try again. 

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." — Maya Angelou

Your current situation is not your final destination. You don’t have to decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, you only have to decide what you’re going to do next.  

Determination is a state of mind — a vision to get to the finish line, regardless of the mountains that pop up along your route.  

Have patience and learn from your mistakes.

"It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." — Madeleine Albright

Failing is simply your first attempt in learning. If you are a sales person who lost a sale, what happens if you allow yourself to think, "Oh no! I lost the sale, I must be a horrible sales person!” You have to think, “Well, what did I do this time that I can learn from? What can I do differently next time? I've had success in the past that I can draw from.” 

Successful people all have an awful lot of self-determination, and that's how they achieve each goal. In order to find success with whatever the job at hand is for you, persistence and determination, a sense of direction, patience and hard work will get you there. If you're determined, you can be one of those successful people, too.

What's your favorite quote on determination? Where do you get your success inspiration?

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Melissa Hereford is a negotiation expert who will teach you to respond clearly, calmly, and effectively so you can get more of what you want, all while building stronger relationships. Get your free negotiation script at MelissaHereford.com.

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