Take the High Road
When it comes to being happy and successful in life, the scenic route of enlightenment has no shortcuts.
“When the reward is the activity itself — deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best — there are no shortcuts. The only route to the destination is the high road.” — Daniel Pink
Aspirational thinking means taking the high road and playing the long game.
The high road represents behavior that makes you a better person and the world a better place. You enjoy the act of reaching for an aspiration, because the act and the progress made is its own reward.
You are embarking on a life adventure. There are no shortcuts, nor do you care to take any. Every step you take, every new level you unlock, brings closer who you desire to be and reinforces your new identity.
Your adventure begins cautiously, tentatively.
This is new and unfamiliar territory, yet exciting and filled with promise. Each step brings validation and confidence.
Progress is slow at first but success compounds. Your steps get quicker, bigger. Before long, you look back on your progress, astonished at just how far you've come.
While taking those first cautious steps, consider the following key elements of making aspirations a reality:
You are most vulnerable at the beginning, and these elements will be your shield and armor against uncertainty. They will also serve as kickstarters for your adventure.
I find that examples aid in understanding, so let's consider one of my core aspirations.
I am a writer who shares his knowledge to help others improve.
Notice there are two important elements: What and Why. The What is my aspiration. The Why is my intrinsic motivation — something that is a reward in and of itself.
Let's apply the three elements to my aspiration as an example in the next few atomic essays. I encourage you to follow along and do the same for each of your aspirations.