Freedom Friday: Aretha Franklin’s Life Is A Perfect Example of Determination And Preservation

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 9.20.52 PMDetermination is a positive emotional feeling that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. Determination occurs prior to goal attainment and serves to motivate behavior that will help achieve one’s goal. Empirical research suggests that people consider determination to be an emotion; in other words, determination is not just a cognitive state, but rather an affective state.

It is amazing that folks are celebrating the talents of  Aretha Franklin and appreciating her gift to our culture, but  survived challenges. Aretha’s parents had a troubled marriage due to stories of her father’s cheating.  In 1948, the couple separated, with Barbara relocating back to Buffalo with her son, Vaughn, from a previous relationship.

Contrary to popular belief, her mother did not abandon her children; not only did Aretha recall seeing her mother in Buffalo during the summer, but Barbara also frequently visited her children in Detroit. Aretha’s mother died of a heart attack on March 7, 1952, before Aretha’s tenth birthday. The news of her mother’s death was broken by her father, who had gathered Aretha and her siblings in the kitchen to tell them and that he “could not have been more understanding. Several women, including Aretha’s grandmother, Rachel, and Mahalia Jackson took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home. During this time, Aretha learned how to play piano by ear.

She first became pregnant at the age of 12 and gave birth to her first child then at age 14,  had a second child. Her brother Cecil died from lung cancer, her sister Carolyn  from breast cancer, while eldest sister Erma died from throat cancer in September. Her father, C. L., was shot twice at point blank range in his Detroit home. Franklin battled and won her fight over alcoholism and smoking.

Now stop.. think …

This woman survived and battled wounds that most of us tap out on. Many of us would just wallow and give up. She didn’t.  She had grit. People with grit believe in themselves  and use hard work.

When things did not go according to plan, it was tempting to give up.  Most of us would lose our confidence. This is exactly what most people do because they’re afraid of failure and shirk away from things that are hard and necessary.

Plans make us feel safe, but she was ready when things spun out of  control and still landed on her feet. She learned to change course and adapt in some way. She changed her style of music. She made new deals.

She constantly kept going.

That is a lesson for each  of us should take. Determination allows you to remain focused on long term goals so you can adjust your behavior accordingly. Often, this requires you to keep emotions in check to prevent them from sabotaging your efforts to keep moving forward. Even in her health struggles she kept it moving.

Dig deep down and find the things that you can’t walk away from; that is your true north. When you are pursuing that kind of goal, it won’t matter what other people say because your inner vision is far stronger than any external obstacle you will come up against.

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