Extraordinary Determination



The only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is extraordinary determination. — Mary Kay Ash, Entrepreneur


I admire Mary Kay Ash and the business she created, however, I think we need to clarify what she means by the word “extraordinary” that she uses to describe the type of determination needed to succeed.

I think she intends “extraordinary” to mean that it isn’t something that the multitudes do because only a handful (or less!) of people will hang in there, keep going, and give it one more shot.

Usually, the multitudes don’t get past the stage of just talking about their dreams. Of the few who do actually start, many will quit at the first sign of trouble. Of the even fewer remaining, many of them will quit when the path gets rocky and narrow and is filled with deep potholes and hair-pin twists.

I don’t think she means extraordinary in the sense that it’s super-human. Who has that kind of determination?! Not many–certainly not me! In fact, I’d say of the tiny handful of people in the example above, there may be only one of them that has super-human determination. Only who is like a machine and can keep going and going and going, smashing past roadblocks, pulverizing challenges, and blasting through setbacks.

The rest of the people who keep going–whom Mary Kay says have “extraordinary” determination–are just like you and me. They get scared and intimidated, they trip over their anger and frustration, they fall prey to worry, anxiety, and fear.

The difference between them and us (or maybe it’s just me) is that, while they may give into these feelings from time-to-time, they do it only long enough to process the emotions and get them out of their systems. They have a pity party long enough to clear their thinking so that they can then press the reset button.

Then they get back to it.

That’s the difference: they get back to it. They keep going, no matter what.

While others (perhaps including us!) will continue complaining, whining, feeling sorry for themselves, and generally wallow in unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and emotions…

…in the meantime, the tiny handful has shaken it off and is getting back to it, no matter what.

It’s the “no matter what” part that I think Mary Kay Ashe meant when she used the word “extraordinary” to describe determination.



Your homework today is to review your week. As you do so, keep an eye out for the times when you gave up to soon or gave in too easily. Note where you could have taken a little breather, and then gotten back to it. Resolve to tighten up your determination in the upcoming week. You don’t have to be perfect about it, just do a little bit better than you have so far.

As you review your week, also note when you did stick with it and hang tough. You can use that to build upon as you strengthen your determination.

Celebrate this! This is excellent–go you! Make sure you acknowledge your progress; applaud yourself for the things you did well; pat yourself on the back for the things you did right.

You can do it!

I’m so proud of you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


2 thoughts on “Extraordinary Determination”

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