The Power of Determination
One of the most important and most determining aspects of he our lives is our understanding of how we fit into the world in which we live. The clarity with which one sees their purpose and place in life will determine their ability to focus on and flourish in that purpose. A life that is distracted by a great deal of many things and pulled in multiple directions is a life that does not really accomplish much.
One of the defining traits of the life of Winston Spencer Churchill is the powerful drive with which he approached it and the clarity with which he saw his place. It is tough to pinpoint exactly what most powerfully influences Churchill to make him the dynamic personality that he was, but from his earliest years he was deeply driven to grow, to lead, to follow in the leadership footsteps of his father. His sense of calling gave him drive to pursue, grow, and invest himself into a future life of leadership. It gave him the energy to make the most of every opportunity and pour himself into the things which saw he needed to be successful.
It is remarkable to see how much Churchill’s sense of purpose drove him to accomplish. Churchill was an army expert, a powerful politician and one of the most prominent and successful writers of the 20th century. Manchester notes that in his few years at Chartwell, Churchill wrote more than most authors write in a lifetime¹. The temptation is just to brush this off as owning purely to his genius mind. Yet, when one reads of his education, one finds a young boy who struggled through many of the basic subjects. The power of his mind matured through the years as it was fueled by his sense of calling in life. Productivity was the fruit of a deep sense of identity.
It is truly rare to meet a person that was so deeply driven. Its also a reminder of the fact that we were mere finite creatures and can only accomplish so much in life. The powerful life is the focused life. We must understand that out time and abilities are limited and the only way to make the most of them is to know who we are and what we are here for. A life with no clear sense of identity is a life that quickly goes to waste.
This also causes me to reflect on the infinite power of the sense of identity that the Gospel message gives to the christian. We long for a life that is deeply driven because that longing was built into us by the God who runs this universe. We do not create our sense of identity from within. Rather, we seek for things around us to define us – relationships, career, hobbies, etc. We are always dependent upon something outside of us to give us drive in life.
Its helpful to observe the power of Winston Churchill’s driven life. And yet I understand that its not enough to find simply something that will drive my life. This world and everything in it fades quite quickly. No matter how influential Churchill was, few know his name fifty years after his death. Indeed I want to be driven and productive with my life. I want to mature and focus my life on that which I am called to live for. And yet, I can’t just find that in anything. I want to find it in that which endures through the ages.
(1) Manchester, W. (1984). The Last Lion: Visions of Glory (Vol. 1, p. 864). Bantam.