I am reading the book Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness by Rick Hanson (also the author of Buddha’s Brain).

I found a section I wanted to share, because it articulated something so powerful to me in getting what we want in this life.


Hanson believes “determination” is made up of four factors: resolve, patience, persistence and fierceness.

I love this. It was great to see where I feel I have some of these qualities and which I can develop.

Resolve: The author states that resolve is aimed toward a goal. It’s what happens when you are serious about (I would say “committed to”) a goal. When you “mean business.”

I also love this: “Along the way, have heart. Otherwise, resolve can become cold and top-down – like a harsh inner boss yelling at you – rather than warm and bottom-up.” I experience a lot of resolve in myself. I will stay with a thing until the end. But I sometimes lose “heart” and it becomes hard. But when I can have a sense of humor and lightness and still be committed, resolve gets me a long way.

Patience: Patience is the essence of two factors: delay of gratification (the willingness to put off immediate rewards for the sake of a greater future reward) and distress tolerance (the capacity to endure a painful experience without making a bad thing words such as “self-medicating”).

Persistence: “It’s usually the small, undramatic, sustained efforts over time that make the most difference.” I work with a lot of small business owners, working to grow their business and there is a trap many of them get into where they want to make the big leap all at once and when they do not, they think “this will never work.” But I believe the following quote:

“You are what you do every day.” Jon Chu

What is the goal you are working on? What small thing could you do daily toward this goal? This concept is magic!

Fierceness: This is likely the concept that made the most difference to me when I heard it articulated. It is something in us that is fiercely committed, something that often comes out in seemingly life or death situations, but it is in there all the time. This is important for me to remember – I can call on that fierceness whenever I want because I have experienced it. Have you? I bet you have.

Can you remember a time? For me it is easiest to remember standing up for my children when I felt they were not getting what they deserved. I have felt it when advocating for my own healthcare. I have also felt it in my business when working to bring coaching to people who want it but do not have the resources. I know it is there so I can find it when I need to.

What is the most powerful of these 4 concepts for you?

For me it is “fierceness.”

What is the hardest for you? If you know me, you can guess. Patience is, and has been, one of the more challenging qualities for me. What I see though, is that mixing these 4 elements into a beautiful soup is a very powerful combination.

About the Author

Picture of Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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