Who/what is persistent, dedicated, and methodical in pursuit of a goal?
March 10, 2021 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Help me come up with a mental image for my alter ego: the relentless, goal-slaying version of me that I wish I could channel more often. When sparked, I am relentless in pursuit of my goals. I'll get up at 5am to work on my goal, work on it during any breaks in my day, and come home to work on the goal some more. I'll collect data and track my progress to hold myself accountable. I'll live and breathe the thing I'm trying to achieve. What person or thing displays these characteristics?

I've thought about superheroes, animals, and movie/book characters, but nothing seems to fit. All suggestions are greatly appreciated!
posted by saltypup to Religion & Philosophy (33 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The monster in It Follows.
posted by phunniemee at 6:32 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Kyle Reese:
Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:38 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]

Badgers are so tough and persistent, we verbed them! Also cute and stripey.
posted by farkleberry at 6:41 PM on March 10 [9 favorites]

Sherlock Holmes?
posted by praemunire at 6:43 PM on March 10

posted by pompomtom at 6:47 PM on March 10

TVTropes: The Determinator
A character — good or evil, male or female, young or old — who never gives up. Ever. No matter what.

There is no stopping the Determinator. They do not understand tact. They do not Know When to Fold 'Em, and it's a waste of time to tell them the odds. No one can reason with them. They'll do whatever they have to without question. No price is too great to pay for success, up to and including their own life. Do not expect them to realize they might be better off letting it go, even if they can barely stand. If you're ever kidnapped or lost with no hope of rescue, they'll be the one who will find you. Their adversaries will shout, in exasperated rage, "Why Won't You Die?!". For them, there is no line between "perseverance" and "insanity."
First one that came to mind personally: Kim Wexler from Better Call Saul
posted by Rhaomi at 6:57 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]

I think you may be describing John Wick.

Or maybe Marcus Aurelius:

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” --- from "Meditations"
posted by forthright at 7:01 PM on March 10

Not to show my internet age, but...honey badger?
posted by wintersweet at 7:17 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Interesting suggestions so far!

I'd love more suggestions for heroes--good guys who use their relentlessness, dedication, and meticulousness to do something good or achieve the seemingly impossible. The TVTropes page in particular is helpful, and I love the idea of the badger. Any others in this vein?
posted by saltypup at 7:25 PM on March 10

In that case, perhaps the story of the 47 Ronin?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:32 PM on March 10

Leslie Knope comes to mind.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:35 PM on March 10 [14 favorites]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
posted by space_cookie at 7:51 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]

This may seem weird, but Grace in Greenleaf.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:59 PM on March 10

Alexander Hamilton in the Hamilton musical - the man is NON-STOP, to quote the Act I closing number. And possibly Lin Manuel Miranda in real life when you look at all the projects he has been involved in!
posted by Mallenroh at 8:19 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]

posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:43 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]

I was going to say ants. But also the Borg.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:45 PM on March 10

A mongoose killing a snake. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a nice fictional example.
posted by Redstart at 8:54 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]

Not totally unlike a badger, and an indomitable hero of a tale: the wombat of Ursula Vernon's Digger.
posted by clew at 9:29 PM on March 10

I've seen the characteristic called "grit". But if you want a type of person who does that... I'd just call you... determined! :)
posted by kschang at 10:05 PM on March 10

Beatrix Kiddo.
posted by davidmsc at 11:42 PM on March 10

This fits Gollum to a T.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:48 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]

Serena Williams. Wayne Gretzky. Any of the people profiled in the documentary "In Search of Greatness"
posted by at at 1:04 AM on March 11

Iditarod husky Balto [ahem] TOGO.
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:56 AM on March 11

Tarot cards are good for exactly this. You don't need to believe in them as tools for divination or anything woo - they just represent different characters, behaviours and situations. I find it useful to keep one or two on my desk that represent the quality I am seeking to develop or express at any given time.

For the characteristics you mentioned, I recommend:

- The 8 of Pentacles (not my hand).
Explanation here and below:

The card symbolizes someone who is completely focused and absorbed in what they are doing. The town that is far in the background means that he successfully isolated himself from the distractions so that he can fully concentrate on his task. The Eight of Pentacles refers to that moment in your life when you are dedicated to completing a certain task. You are fully-immersed, and you are committed in delivering the best version of your work.

- The Chariot
Explanation here and below:

The Chariot Tarot represents overcoming obstacles through determination, focus and willpower. With this Major Arcana trump card in your tarot spread you will be feeling motivated, ambitious and in control. Now is a time to go for what you really want. The Chariot is not without its challenges, there may be many obstacles in your path but if you stay focused, keep your composure and are confident in your abilities, you will be successful!

- Queen of Wands (to use a court card)
Explanation here and below:

In general, the Queen of wands may depict a person of extreme focus and fiery passion. She is courageous and individualistic, though at times she may appear self-centered. They have a positive and an uplifting energy; they represent someone who is willing to be by your side and stand up for you.

Here is a list of major arcana and minor arcana with the card explanations.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 7:03 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]

I'm Mr Meeseeks! Look at me!

"Meeseeks are creatures who are created to serve a singular purpose for which they will go to any length to fulfill. After they serve their purpose, they expire and vanish into the air. Their motivation to help others comes from the fact that existence is painful to a Meeseeks, and the only way to be removed from existence is to complete the task they were called to perform."
posted by dazedandconfused at 7:10 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables
posted by akk2014 at 8:12 AM on March 11

ghost dog. selected quotations from hagakure:
According to what one of the elders said, taking an enemy on the battlefield is like a hawk taking a bird. Even though it enters into the midst of a thousand of them, it gives no attention to any bird other than the one that it has first marked.
Even if a samurai's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should still be able to perform one more action with certainty. If one becomes like a revengeful ghost and shows great determination, though his head is cut off, he should not die.
captain ahab also comes to mind. hmm, also the protagonist of the martian movie.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:02 AM on March 11

Does it have to be a guy? Mattie Ross, the central character in the truly memorable novel (and at least two movies), "True Grit," seems to me to be exactly what you are describing.
posted by flowergrrrl at 1:24 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]

The Energizer Bunny?
posted by moons in june at 6:11 PM on March 11

For me, I've always named that part of myself The Soldier, although he has also been The Vulcan and has worn a variety of other masks and titles. He's been in my life since honest-to-God young childhood. For me, as I've grown older, I've learned that The Soldier was there to keep everyone going and protect a more sensitive part that wanted to stay inside -- and that as important as it was to have a Soldier to keep going, it's important to remember and honor the other side that they're present to protect. If none of this applies to you, perhaps it may be of virtue to some future reader of this thread.
posted by metabaroque at 7:47 PM on March 11

Sonic the Hedgehog. You have to stop that little dude to even see the good stuff along the way to the goal.
posted by nosila at 6:23 AM on March 12

Harriet Tubman
posted by Julnyes at 11:28 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]

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