Reflections: Need To Hold Oneself To A Higher Standard

Recently I have thought a lot about where I aim. What I mean by this is in order for me to become the individual I wish to be, I need to have some kind of target which I aim at otherwise I would be lost. Without a target, I would lack a sense of direction. So, having established a need for a target, the natural question arises is simply, what kind of target is this? What is my aim? Who do I wish to be?

The simple answer is, I wish to be great. To be all that I can be. My aim is high and not low, for a low aim seems to be a waste of life’s opportunities and experience. A small aim seems petty, it seems concerned with petty pleasures and desires, and with it, the accomplishment of small aims seems to lack a true feeling of fulfillment, for I know that my lack of effort that is required cheapens this accomplishment.

This is an easy notion to understand because there is a clear difference in accomplishment when you finish something that you found difficult compared to finishing something that was easy.

Attempting to do something great is accompanied by a sense of fear or stress because of failure. When you aim low, that chance of failure lessens and with it, the fear and stress also go down. But when the aim is high, then not only is there the notion of failure but also of effort. Reason being, a high target cannot be reached through minimal effort. It requires the sacrifice of comfortable things and a comfortable attitude, and this is a deterrent to a higher aim.

However, if the aim is high and one can reach it and accomplish something that is truly difficult for that individual, the reward is equally high. What I mean by reward is not necessarily material or external, but it is the internal reward that I aim for. The knowledge that I can accomplish a difficult task. That may seem like a simple understanding, but what comes with this accomplishment is a molding of one’s character that becomes more disciplined and seeks to work rather than shying away from such a thing. The reason being, higher aims require one to develop and change their character to meet that aim.

These aims then become a higher standard by which you live your life by. The standard which is kept simple and straightforward and easy to understand. This standard is one that involves sacrificing the pleasures of the present in order for the development of a good future. In order to stay firm on this path of sacrificing petty pleasures, one has to be disciplined and equally important. One has to control the thoughts that enter and leave their mind. For negative and pessimistic thoughts, lower one’s aim. Hence, the standard now involves discipline of action and thought and an optimistic view that one’s effort will cause a better future and a sense of trust that the sacrifices in the present are worth making. Another standard that is required is a constant attempt to seek the uncomfortable. The reason for this is that by staying comfortable, you only change minimally, if you change at all. The comfortable approach is one that is aimed at the low. When you become uncomfortable and attempt something new and difficult, you challenge your mind, which will come up with a million different reasons as why you should abandon this cause and stay comfortable, and when you can overcome this, you can tame or at the very least, resist the mind, then you realize that these things that you were avoiding, that made you uncomfortable, we’re not all that bad, this realization opens up the world to you and with it more experiences that result in a fulfiller experience of this finite life.

So, if you keep your standards low, you will adapt to meet them. If you keep your standards high, you will adapt to meet them as well with effort. However, it is the internal growth that differentiates one adaptation from the other. The internal growth is accomplished when that target is high and the aim is constantly readjusted towards this higher target.