Determination vs. desperation

At some point in your life, you will need to cut off your options and make a critical decision. You send a message out to yourself, and to everyone else, that you are committed to follow through. There’s no other option for you.

All the epic metaphors come to mind—you are making a leap of faith, your back is against the wall, and the stakes are higher than before. In order to focus your energy, you have put yourself in a position of determination. You are making a bet that you will rise to the occasion, and part of your job is to convince the people around you to believe you.

You would think that a person in this position of determination must also be desperate—a “Get rich or die tryin,’” mentality, but that’s not the case. You are constantly assessing the new direction and path, and looking for new routes that might take you where you want to go. 

Ke Huy Quan’s career is an extreme example; while he had early momentum as a childhood actor, the opportunities dried up just as he decided to start taking acting seriously. He could have burned his metaphorical boats, and bet big on his career. 

Instead, he made the decision to enrol in film school and learn how to work as a choreographer and assistant director. He made a life for himself. 20 years later, he saw an opportunity to return back to acting, and he seized his moment of determination. It paid off dramatically, with Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, and his career momentum since. 

Determination is not desperation, and it’s certainly not rigid; achieving your goal doesn’t always mean you have to take what you think is the straightest path. 

You can be determined, driven, and not desperate at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *