There are many things to which we aspire, but in an attempt to help two friends I discovered that there are two aspirations, if attained, assure the attainment of all others.
The two aspirations are having fun and helping others.
I’ve seen this happen far too often, a person becomes so focused on attaining an aspiration that their efforts become an obsession. I’m sure you’ve seen it as well.
Obsessions are not fun. They force us to forego things we enjoy in pursuit of what inextricably draws us into behaviors that we must perform. We no longer feel that we have a choice, our aspiration becomes our master and we become slaves to that master.
Conversely, people who choose to do things that are fun, that bring them joy, not only enjoy life more, they become exceptional in their field and enjoy greater success because they’re having fun.
There’s no stress involved in having fun. You willingly invest significant amounts of time pursuing your aspiration because you’re having fun which means that you’ll become more knowledgeable and more effective than others in your field which, in turn, assures greater success and the joy it affords.
You remain the master. You decide how much time and energy to expend in pursuit of your aspiration while continuing to enjoy family, friends and the satisfaction of helping others. This brings us to the second aspiration: helping others.
We experience immense amounts of satisfaction from helping others. We get a sense of value, self-worth, the world seems brighter, people happier and life more worth living, because we’ve helped someone in need.
Contrast that to the feelings we experience when we aren’t helping others. We feel isolated, lonely, our fears, anxiety and frustration grow as we become more focused on ourselves and what’s missing in our lives. We focus on what’s missing because, absent helping others, we question our value and purpose for being. It’s not a pleasant way to live.
An additional bonus of helping others is that they want to return the favor which means that in our time of need, and we all experience these times, there are people ready and willing to help us. This should never be our motivation for others readily see that our goal is to effect a quid pro quo transaction rather than a selfless act of kindness. How they perceive our motivation determines whether or not we get this added bonus.
As new aspirations arise ask yourself these two questions:
- Will I have fun pursuing this goal?
- Will I be serving others while pursuing this goal?
If so, you’ll find that the likelihood of success goes up exponentially. A ‘no’ to question #1 indicates that you’re not likely to persevere through the inevitable challenges you’ll face while attaining what you aspire, so why start down this path?
If the answer to question #2 is ‘no,’ we’re likely to give up on our dreams, at times, even before we get started. Too many of us have gotten used to giving up on our dreams, yet have worked doggedly to help others achieve theirs. That means that if our aspirations are aligned with the welfare of others we’re more likely to attain what we aspire.
For our kids
As kids express interest, an aspiration for achieving something, ask them the two questions:
- Will you have fun pursuing this goal?
- Will you be serving others while pursuing this goal?
In doing so, you’ll help them make conscious decisions about whether or not to pursue an aspiration. Conscious decisions produce intent and commitment
Conversely, decisions made without considering the questions above, typically set kids up for frustration, disappointment, a sense of having failed and, ultimately, a hit to their confidence.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts in a comment.
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