Despite his detached disposition, Squall carries within him a passion to excel. He has mastered the gunblade, a feat not often seen because of the weapon's difficulty of use. He gains the respect of the headmaster of Garden, if unwittingly. Quistis, previously his instructor, speaks of his abilities and intelligence. He is dedicated to the "right way" of things: specifically, following orders, even when tempted to do otherwise.
But for what purpose? What drives him? What brings this strength of will about?
Squall has been living in a self-imposed social exile for a long time. He avoids contact with people if at all possible. He snuffs those who try to approach him. He doesn't let himself get drawn in. His social life is nonexistent.
These are gaps in his life: spaces that other people typically satiate with social interaction, spaces that hadn't existed for him at one time. In the hope of furnishing these rifts, Squall turns his focus to another area of his life, an area that, from this loss, naturally rises to the top, if indeed it hadn't been there before: a sure focus on himself. He throws himself into his education, his goals revolving around material accomplishments, including mastering the gunblade and becoming a SeeD. Nothing else matters. He can dedicate his will to these tasks completely.
Things begin to change.
You probably don't know,
but everybody in this Garden
looks up to you.
They like you.
Thrust into the role of leader, Squall finds himself at the mercy of the expectations of his classmates, teachers, elders and friends. He realises he's become a role model. He knows it's up to him to encourage and direct those around him. It bothers him that he's being confided in, that he's in the spotlight.
Headmaster Cid is instrumental in this. It's his having taken advantage of the confusion of the situation that forces Squall into a position of leadership. When Squall expresses doubts, Cid counters with a kind but firm disapproval. When Squall makes only the slightest bit self-centered comment, Cid admonishes him in his fatherly way. Ironically, Cid guides the leader down his path of leadership.
We're going back to
Garden. We have to
let everyone know.
Acceptance: Squall recognises that, whether he likes it or not, he can no longer be focused solely on himself and his own interests (in this particular case, Rinoa). He is now responsible for a greater dominion than his own being, and acknowledges it. In his speech to the survivors of the final strike against the Sorceress, Squall expresses a newfound focus of will:
...I don't want to have any regrets. I don't want anyone to look back and regret this day.
So just this once, I want you guys to give everything you've got!
For yourselves and for me!