A Brave and Determined Spirit

The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit. – Mark Twain 

The human spirit is animated by a powerful and inexhaustible force. To be meaningful, the force of life that courses through the veins of any man or woman on earth must focused through the lenses of industry, application and perseverance in relation to a pattern of achievement. 

Rarely does achievement come without obstacles. Timing is never as we would imagine it. Hidden objections appear often at the most inopportune moment. The path to victory is often windy (both pronunciations of the word apply) and poorly lit. 

Many years ago a friend of mine and I walked the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way), a beautiful path in Heidelberg, Germany that begins rather steeply near the Neckar River. The walk up, earlier in the day, was incredible. The sights, the sounds, the smells all enchanting. But the return trip was nerve-wracking, as the well lit path by day was now pitch black in the moonless night. We had to make it down to meet my godparents for dinner, so the pressure was on to make the descent. Boy was it dark! A good many of our steps were made possible only by the assistance of my hands running along curvy and rugged walls of the stone staircase that lined portions of the path, as the darkness was of the kind that swallows up even the outline of what was ahead. 

View of Heidelberg as seen from Philosophenweg
We made it down, but the memory of that descent – colored with the concern to protect my friend, the fear of being mugged in a foreign land, or perhaps of stumbling and getting hurt – brought me face-to-face with the need for bravery, chivalry and determination when facing a challenging goal. The symbolism of having that experience on a walking path dedicated for centuries to the process of enlightenment was not lost on me. 

Each one of us is at times a sprinter and at others a marathoner. We have both short and long-term goals, and the road to their achievement requires clarity of purpose, constancy in application and varying degrees of perseverance. The larger goals seem to require more of everything, though at times even small, short-term goals can demand the patience of Job! 

Regardless of the time frames, the difficulty of the task, the scope of the project, one thing must always remain steady, namely, your alignment with the spirit of victory. Nothing that comes your way will ever be too large for you to handle victoriously. You may feel inadequate or that you were dealt a bad hand at times, but I would caution you not to give too much weight to such sentiments in your heart. 

Err on the side of bravery and determination and you shall overcome more often than not. If you fail, remember the Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” 

Fortune favors the brave, determined spirit. Have a wonderful day. 


10 thoughts on “A Brave and Determined Spirit

  1. Pingback: Train of Thought « Gregg Hake's Blog

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  3. Steph Briard

    What sage advice – “to err on the side of bravery and determination”, because you certainly need both to succeed. Bravery is so important to get past the things that are daunting and you need to have determination to overcome the obstacles in the road.


  4. Rosa

    I loved your story about the Philosophenweg. Isn’t life amazing? No matter what the experience, there is something of a blessing to be found in it. I found myself thankful throughout the day for the memories of experiences, mentors, little lessons here and there in my life where something of character was solidified. Thank you for increasing the scope through the lens today!


  5. James

    “Nothing that comes your way will ever be too large for you to handle victoriously”

    A great time for this message! Thank you for sharing.


  6. Josh Cannen

    The context in which you phrased “spirit of victory” gave it new meaning for me. It is true that there is a continuum of spirit connected to every victory. I can attest to the signature of its feeling whether I just watched my favorite team win, or just signed on a new client. Some experiences may have more immediate personal meaning for me, but the essence of it is the same. Therefore I have to conclude that victory is a powerful force waiting to become manifest, and I would rather choose to be on its side, period. Thanks for your perspective this morning!


  7. Colin

    There are many great points you make in this post, Gregg. The one I want to remark on is the Japanese proverb of “Fall seven times and stand up eight”. I think that this trait is underrated in the western world. I have seen some amazing things gained through perseverance, but many people think it is a hard thing to do. I think that most of these people psych themselves out mentally before they even really see how difficult the thing is. My solution to this is to develop a never-quit attitude in everything I do, and in this way there is never even a choice to make. Thanks!


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