A 200 year old story of Determination

Determination is one characteristic that successful people have that most of the unsuccessful do not. It is usually thought of as being shown by business men and women, athletes and sports competitors, the military.


Fall Colours

Fall is here, the trees in our part of the world are starting to display their wonderful colours. The bean harvest is in full swing, with preparations for corn underway. There is a huge amount to do and not many days to do it in before the snow starts.

Although my involvement in the harvest impacts on my writing and speaking activities, I enjoy the change of focus and change of pace.

Except for very few wet days, our weather has been good, it is great to be outside for most of the day, back in the familiar farm environment where I have spent large parts of my life.

A reminder of the faith and determination that farmers must have to survive the uncertainty of variable weather and the effects of fluctuating commodity prices.

It’s not only farmers that have determination.

I came across a reference to a young woman born in 1779 who not only overcame huge adversity, but had the determination to pursue a goal for her entire life.

Not in the business world, a sporting arena or a military career, but in religion.

Mary Webb was a child in Boston when at age 5 her legs became paralysed and she was unable to walk for the rest of her life.

At age 13, she was drawn to the church and developed the determination to devote her life to spreading Christ’s word.

When she was 21, on 9 October 1800, she formed the first female mission society, The Boston Female Society for Missionary Purposes. One of the first female societies of any kind in the USA and a daring break with the conventions of the times.

For the next 56 years, she encouraged the creation of 200 more societies and worked to improve cooperation between them.

What is amazing is that she did this without any of the modern communication or promotional tools we have today. No phones, email, internet, adapted vehicles for handicapped people. She could not travel easily, she did it by writing thousands of letters.

That is determination.

She is credited with having advanced the cause of equal rights for women long before the feminist movement.

Throughout her life, she avoided publicity for herself. A refreshing change from the publicity seekers of today.

Determination is often forged from the experience of overcoming adversity.

Whether you are religious or not, Mary Webb’s example is a brilliant reminder of how fortunate we are to have the modern communication devices and systems we do today and what we could do with them if we had the determination to do so.

It is also a reminder that successful people can be found in many fields, not just the obvious ones.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  2 comments for “A 200 year old story of Determination

  1. Roberta
    October 10, 2015 at 8:14 am

    What an inspiring story. I had never heard of Mary Webb before. I need to read more stories like this to help keep me motivated. Determination is often more important to success than intelligence.

  2. October 10, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Thanks Peter, this is a wonderful example of humility and determination. Two aspects of our character that will serve all of us well.

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