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Symbols of Determination and What They Mean 

Symbols of determination can inspire and motivate us to pursue our goals with unwavering persistence. From the mighty oak tree to the never-ending spiral, symbols of determination can be found in nature, art, and everyday life.

Determination itself is the inner drive to achieve something despite obstacles or challenges. Grit, perseverance, and resilience allow us to keep pushing toward our aspirations.

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In this article, we’ll explore the various symbols of determination and their meanings. So, keep reading to find out the hidden meanings behind these special symbols.

1. The Lotus Flower

Pink and White Lotus Flower

The lotus flower has long been considered a symbol of determination, rising from murky waters to bloom into a beautiful and pure flower. This flower is considered one of the most powerful symbols in Buddhism, representing spiritual growth and the journey toward enlightenment.

The lotus flower has a regenerating ability. Even when its leaves and flowers are damaged, the lotus can grow new ones.

This resilience of the lotus and its ability to bounce back from adversity make it a perfect symbol of determination.

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2. Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragon

The Chinese dragon is a legendary creature that has symbolized power, strength, and determination for over 5,000 years. Unlike the fierce and terrifying dragons of Western cultures, the Chinese dragon is seen as a benevolent creature that brings good fortune and prosperity.

A dragon symbolizes the Chinese emperor and the royal family in folklore. Dragons represented agricultural success since people thought they could influence the weather and ensure a good harvest.

The Chinese dragon continues to be a powerful symbol of determination, reminding us to have the courage and strength to overcome any obstacle.

3. Phoenix

Phoenix canvas print art
Phoenix canvas print art. See it here.

The phoenix is a mythical bird that has long been a symbol of determination and resilience. In ancient Greek mythology, the phoenix was said to live for hundreds of years before being consumed by flames and rising from its ashes, reborn and renewed.

The phoenix has been a symbol of renewal and determination in many cultures throughout history. In ancient Egypt, the phoenix was called the Bennu bird and was associated with the sun god Ra.

The Chinese also had a mythological creature called the Fenghuang, symbolizing beauty, grace, and determination.

One interesting fact about the phoenix is its association with fire. The flames that consume the phoenix symbolize purification, burning away the old and making way for the new.

This association with fire also makes the phoenix a symbol of transformation and change.

4. Ailm

Celtic Ailm Conifers Shield Pendant Necklace
Celtic Ailm Shield Necklace. See it here.

Ailm is a symbol of determination in Celtic mythology. It’s represented by the pine tree, which has long been associated with strength and resilience.

The pine tree is an evergreen, which means it keeps its leaves throughout the year, making it a powerful symbol of endurance and determination.

In Celtic culture, the pine tree was seen as a symbol of wisdom, stability, and longevity. The pine tree’s association with determination and resilience is also reflected in its medicinal properties.

The oil extracted from pine needles is used in aromatherapy to treat stress and fatigue, while pine bark extract boosts the immune system and fights inflammation.

5. Griffins


It’s said that griffins are winged lions, making them mythical animals. As a hybrid of two of nature’s mightiest animals, they have always stood as a symbol of tenacity and grit.

The griffins of Greek mythology protect treasure troves of gold and gems, earning them a reputation as fearsome treasure defenders. As protectors of the divine, their likenesses were often used in architectural embellishments of religious buildings.

In medieval times, griffins were seen as symbols of courage and determination, often appearing in coats of arms and other heraldic symbols. They were associated with chivalry and were believed to be able to bring victory in battle.

6. Stoicism

Stoicism for Inner Peace
Stoicism book. See it here.

Stoicism is a philosophical school of thought emphasizing the importance of resilience, self-control, and determination in adversity.

Developed in ancient Greece by philosophers such as Zeno of Citium and Epictetus, individuals have practiced Stoicism throughout history to find inner peace and strength.

One of the key tenets of Stoicism is the idea that individuals have the power to control their own thoughts and emotions, even amid difficult circumstances.

Everyone has embraced this idea, from Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius to modern-day athletes and business leaders.

7. Axe


The axe symbolizes determination and strength, representing the power to cut through obstacles and achieve one’s goals. This powerful tool has been used throughout history for everything from chopping wood to clearing land and building structures.

In many cultures, the axe has a deep spiritual significance, representing the power to conquer and overcome. In Norse mythology, the god Odin wielded an axe named Gungnir, which was believed to have the power to cut through anything in its path.

Like the person wielding the axe, we must be focused and resolute in our efforts to overcome obstacles and reach our desired outcomes.

The axe is a powerful reminder of the strength and determination within each of us, waiting to be unleashed.

8. Raised Fist

Raised Clenched Fist Resist Protest T-Shirt
Raised Clenched Fist T-Shirt. See it here.

The raised fist symbolizes determination and solidarity, often used by social justice activists and political movements worldwide. This powerful symbol represents strength, resistance, and the fight for justice and equality.

The raised fist has a long history, dating back to the labor movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Workers would raise their fists in solidarity during strikes and protests, showing their determination to fight for fair wages and better working conditions.

Today, the raised fist symbolizes determination and resistance by various social justice movements, including those fighting for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental justice.

9. Geranium

Geranium Unique Salmon Colour
Geranium Unique Salmon Colour. See it here.

The geranium flower symbolizes determination and strength, known for its hardiness and resilience.

This flower comes in various colors, from bright red to soft pink and white, and it’s a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements.

In many cultures, geranium is seen as a symbol of determination and perseverance. The flower’s hardiness and ability to withstand difficult conditions testify to its strength and resilience.

10. Hei Matau

Hand Made Bound Maori Matau bone carving Necklace
Handmade Hei Matau Necklace. See it here.

Hei Matau is a traditional Maori emblem of willpower that stands for power, success, and fortune. Hei Matau is shaped like a fishhook and is a potent reminder of the value of sticking with a task until success.

The fishhook has a deep cultural significance in Maori culture, as fishing was a vital part of their traditional way of life. A fishhook is a survival tool, symbolizing the importance of respecting the ocean and the creatures that live within it.

Like the fisherman who uses the fishhook to catch his prey, we can use our determination and strength to achieve our dreams and overcome obstacles.

11. Kujichagulia

Kujichagulia Self Determination Kwanzaa Celebration Mug
Kujichagulia Self Determination Mug. See it here.

Kujichagulia is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration of African American culture and heritage.

This symbol means self-determination and is a powerful symbol of the determination of African Americans to define and shape their own destiny.

Kujichagulia has its roots in the struggle for civil rights and equality in America, as African Americans fought to assert their identity and culture in the face of oppression and discrimination.

The principle emphasizes the importance of self-reliance and self-respect, encouraging individuals to take control of their own lives and create a better future for themselves and their communities.

12. Bull


The bull symbolizes determination and strength, known for its powerful muscles and unwavering determination. In many cultures, the bull represents power, courage, and perseverance.

In Greek mythology, the god Zeus transformed himself into a bull to seduce princess Europa. The bull is also associated with the god Dionysus, who was often depicted riding a bull in his processions.

In Hindu mythology, the god Shiva is often depicted with a bull named Nandi, who is seen as a symbol of strength and determination. Nandi is also considered a gatekeeper to Shiva’s temple, representing the importance of discipline and perseverance in spiritual practice.

13. The Dara Knot

Personalized Dara Knot Necklace
Personalized Dara Knot Necklace. See it here.

The Dara Knot is an intricate Celtic knotwork design that has long symbolized determination and strength. This knot features four interlacing loops, representing all things’ interconnectedness and the life cycle.

In Celtic mythology, the Dara Knot is associated with the oak tree, symbolizing strength, endurance, and wisdom. The oak tree was considered sacred to the Celts, and its wood was often used to build important structures such as houses and ships.

The Dara Knot has a rich history and cultural significance, with its intricate designs appearing in many forms of Celtic art, from jewelry to tapestries.

The knotwork patterns were often used to decorate important objects, such as swords and shields, and were believed to have magical properties that could protect the wearer in battle.

14. Sea Turtles

Sea turtle

The lifespan of a sea turtle is long. Sea turtles are renowned for their extraordinary perseverance because of their habit of traveling great distances to deposit their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched.

In Hindu mythology, the god Vishnu is said to have become a giant sea turtle to support the world’s weight on his back.

In Native American cultures, the turtle is associated with Mother Earth and symbolizes wisdom and protection.

One interesting fact about sea turtles is that they use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate across the ocean. The sea turtle’s determination reminds us to stay focused on our goals, even when the journey is difficult.

15. Tigers


Tigers are powerful and majestic creatures that have long symbolized determination and strength. Found in many parts of Asia, tigers are known for their distinctive striped fur and powerful muscles.

In many cultures, tigers are seen as symbols of courage, resilience, and determination. In Chinese mythology, the tiger is one of the 12 zodiac animals associated with strength and bravery.

In Hinduism, the goddess Durga is often depicted riding a tiger, symbolizing her strength and determination.

16. Golden Eagles

Golden eagle

Golden eagles are majestic birds of prey that have long been a symbol of determination and strength. They’re found in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia, and are known for their sharp talons and powerful wings.

In Native American culture, golden eagles were revered for hunting skills and seen as symbols of power and strength. They were believed to have the ability to fly to great heights and were often associated with the sun and sky.

Like the eagle, we can rise above our challenges and obstacles with focus and perseverance, soaring to new heights and achieving our goals.

17. The Scarab Beetle

The Scarab Beetle

The scarab beetle symbolizes determination and rebirth, representing the power to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger than before. This ancient symbol has a deep history, dating back to ancient Egypt.

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the scarab beetle was seen as a symbol of the sun god Ra, who was believed to roll across the sky each day like a giant ball of fire. The scarab beetle symbolizes Ra’s daily journey, representing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

In modern times, the scarab beetle has become a popular symbol in fashion and jewelry. Many people turn to scarab-inspired designs to tap into their inner strength and determination.

18. Iron

craft iron

This versatile metal has played an important role in human history, from creating weapons and tools to constructing buildings and infrastructure.

Iron is seen as a symbol of strength and resilience in many cultures, representing the ability to withstand pressure and overcome challenges.

In Japan, for example, the samurai sword was made of iron and was seen as a symbol of the warrior’s strength and determination.

This symbol reminds us that like metal, we must be strong and durable in facing obstacles, using our inner strength and determination to overcome challenges and reach our desired outcomes.

19. Elephants


Elephants are often used as symbols of determination due to their remarkable resilience and strength. These majestic creatures are known for their unwavering persistence, even in adversity.

In the wild, elephants must overcome various challenges, such as droughts, predators, and human encroachment on their habitats. Despite these obstacles, they can persevere and adapt to their changing environments.

Furthermore, elephants exhibit remarkable determination in their social behaviors. They’re highly intelligent and social animals that form strong bonds with their herd members and will fiercely protect their young and vulnerable members.

Wrapping Up

Symbols of determination are powerful reminders of the human potential for resilience, perseverance, and strength in adversity. Each symbol carries a unique history and context, from the scarab beetle of ancient Egypt to the thunderbolt of Greek mythology.

Still, all these symbols share a common thread of representing the power to overcome obstacles and achieve one’s goals.

The stoic philosophy of ancient Greece and the sport of axe throwing both serve as emblems of resolve that people have used for centuries to draw from their own reserves of grit and perseverance.

These icons encourage us to keep going even when the going gets tough, to rise above adversity, and to come out on the other side more powerful and resolved than before.

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.