“You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.” (James Allen)
Based on this quote, it would seem that the trick is to have the controlling desire and dominant aspiration be aligned. It is when my controlling desire is not in line with my dominant aspiration that trouble starts.
I can think of several areas of my life where this quote is pertinent. Yesterday I launched a new blog at Bobby-C’s Health Journey. That blog is about the journey I am starting to lose weight and be healthier in my life. My dominant aspiration right now is to weigh a lot less than I do today, and to become more healthy. On a day to day basis, though, my controlling desire will be to eat, or to be sedentary. That is going to be my struggle. How well I control that daily desire will ultimately define how well I reach my aspiration.
I see this same dynamic play out at work every year. At the beginning of the year teams and individuals set objectives. Some of the objectives are meant to be aspirational so that we are challenged to do new and exciting things. These require that we set aside time from other objectives because the nature of the aspirational goal is outside of what we would normally do. All too often the more aspirational objectives are devoured by the controlling desires of the day. It is easier to answer seemingly urgent email, and to address short term problems than it is to work on long term goals. Back when I was teaching time management we referred to this as the tyranny of the urgent.
When mid year reviews come along, we look at all the objectives. Teams and individuals usually are doing well on the more short-term goals, but suffering on the longer term objectives. We all redouble our efforts for a few weeks, but when the end of the year comes we are right back where we were. The short term has outweighed the long term.
Being able to wrestle my controlling desire to support my dominant aspiration requires that I live a very intentional life. I cannot allow the momentum generated by my daily desires to interfere with pushing my shoulder to the flywheel of my long term aspiration. It means that every day, and in every decision, I must be thinking about that aspiration, and making sure that my actions which are influenced by my controlling desire do not govern my life.
For the past 12 years I have been allowing my controlling desires to actually control me. I have allowed myself to sit on the couch eating, rather than being up and active. I have allowed ease and comfort to control my diet. As a result, I am where I am. To move forward means I must make new and better choices every day. I must re-train myself to have my controlling desires be completely aligned to my dominant aspiration. Only then can I succeed.