How Many Victories Die Upon the Altar of Trying?

How many victories die upon the altar of trying? Strange idea, isn’t it?

How often have we said we would try to do something, only to fail in the attempt?

Using the word try is tantamount to saying, “I don’t believe I can do this, but, I’ll try.” Once we utter the death cry of our goals by labeling them try more often than not, we fail.

The antithesis of trying is fiercely passionate determination. When we determine to do a thing with our whole being, we, more often than not succeed. When we focus intently upon our goal, with this sort of determination, not only do we bring our own energy to bear upon it, but, inadvertently the forces at work in the universe respond in kind and lend all energy to our cause. It’s sort of like the story of the woman who lifts the car off of a loved one and thereby save that person’s life. It’s impossible! It can’t be done! But, she did it! Beyond all logic and reason, she did the impossible in the fierce desire to save someone she loves.

This is the kind of passion we have to bring to bear when we begin our journey toward our goals. Furthermore, we must sustain that determination throughout the process until we are victorious. Never mind that it takes longer than we thought it might, we must persevere. This is the most difficult of all things to do.

I have a tendency to never have a plan B. I was once told that I must have a plan B just in case plan A falls through. My response at that time, and it still holds true, “If I have a plan B, than I’m basically telling myself that I really can’t succeed at plan A and therefore must have an alternative plan to fall back on.”

Now this might seem rather foolish to most people, because we are mostly taught to have a plan B, just in case. But it’s my opinion that we don’t have absolute confidence in plan A to start with if we form a plan B. It is our firm determination that fuels our plan and only that which will see it to victory no matter what.

In The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,( Vol 1 pg 953) there is a story about General Li Kuang that goes as follows:

The mighty warrior General Li Kuang, whose mother had been devoured by a tiger, shot an arrow at the stone he believed was the tiger. The arrow penetrated the stone all the way up to its feathers. But once he realized it was only a stone, he was unable to pierce it again. Later he came to be known as General Stone Tiger.


This story, like the one of the woman lifting the car, is indicative of the fierce determination we should have when tackling any goal. If we can focus our energy in such a way, our victory is already guaranteed.

The second part of assuring victory is to never give up in pursuit of our goal. At times, it may seem to us and to others that we are failing or losing ground. It is at these moments that we must remember that the only way to fail, lose or end our forward motion is to give up. If it takes two hundred years, 2 years, 2 days or 2 hours, the secret is to hold a steady course until that victory is won. Appearances can be deceiving and we must not get beguiled, bewildered or waylaid by superficial appearances of events. At those moments when we feel, think or believe we’ve lost sight of our goals, this is the time when victory is close at hand.

I have been moving toward the goal of writing several books, developing a productive and viral website, creating seminars and a newsletter for the past 12 years. My life has taken me on many detours between the conception of the ideas and the accomplishment of this goal. Yet, at every opportunity I’m back on track working toward the accomplishment of this great victory.

I’m not confused, defeated or estranged from my victory, because I know that the detours are merely a materials and tool gathering process for me to accomplish my victory. In analogy to explain this process I’ve used the desire for cake.

In my mind I have a longing for cake. There are no stores or bakeshops for me to go to buy my cake. I am the only one who can fulfill my desire to eat cake. Therefore, I have to grow and harvest the wheat, cane, raise chickens and find sources of the other ingredients to begin the process of formulating the batter for the cake. I must also have a means to bake the cake once the batter is mixed. I than have to produce the oven, fuel, etc. After all this is accomplished, I can place my cake into the oven and bake it and finally, I have cake.

When we have an idea, a desire, a goal that we want to make manifest, even though we may think we have all the ingredients for success, this might not be factual. We have to do whatever is needed to amass the ingredients for our success in order that we my eventually proclaim our victory. I for one am not a patient person. I am intelligent and talented and have no clue why my desires were not fulfilled last week. I have to constantly remind myself of what I know deep in my heart, that this is my mission, my life work, my gift to myself and others to share the unbelievable eclectic volumes of knowledge and experience that I have in so many arenas. The key here is life work. It might take my entire life or as many as a dozen lifetimes to accomplish my victory; my determination is the only means for me to hold a steady course.

In a similar way, your goals may be for a certain period of time in the near or far future, but ultimately, your fierce, passionate, single-minded determination is the only way to ensure your victory.

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