Unlock Your Potential By Creating A Higher Self To Aspire Towards

Unlock Your Potential By Creating A Higher Self To Aspire Towards
Photo by Larisa Birta / Unsplash

I think everyone should have some higher self they aspire to.

Don’t laugh--unless you do--but I aspire to a made-up character I call, Aidan The Worldsinger:

He’s a mix of Elend Venture, Hoid, Mark Watney, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Nicolas Cole--characters from fiction and real life.

These people all embody qualities I want for my highest self: love, zest, wisdom, open-mindedness, curiosity, and self-discipline. When I'm about to hit snooze, instead of waking up early to write, I ask, what would Aidan The World singer do? When I'm tempted to skip a workout for a Lord Of The Rings Movie Marathon, I ask, what would Aidan The Worldsinger do? When I'm pondering whether to finish the whole jar of peanut butter, I--eat the whole jar of peanut butter. We all have our weaknesses. Don't judge.

Why is aspiring to a higher self like this valuable?

Because energy flows where attention goes.

Like a beacon guiding ships through the night, focus illuminates and fuels your path forward. Aiming your beacon toward a higher self energizes you to realize that highest self. Conversely, aiming your beacon on trivial goals or competition over scarce resources can lead you astray. The game is in keeping your focus locked on your highest aspiration.

Many of history's worst acts come from someone’s beacon going astray.

One less extreme but still heartbreaking example of this came during my Sophomore year of college. 

I'm talking with the TA for my statistics class during office hours. After I get help, a student taps me on the shoulder looking for assistance with the same problem. I help her for 20 minutes, then turn to ask the TA another question. I feel another tap.

"Wait, are you a TA?" the same student asks, alarmed.

"No," I respond.

"Then why did you help me?"

I remember standing there baffled. I wasn’t angry. I felt more sadness and compassion that this student had lost their way. 

The student’s beacon was focused on getting the best grade possible. And because the class was curved--the better other students do, the worse she does--she saw no reason students should help each other. She lost touch with the class's deeper purpose, to train us in a skill that would help us advance human knowledge through scientific analysis. As a result, her energy was used trying to get the highest number on a glorified piece of paper.

To avoid this happening to us, we must aspire to some higher self. 

History has found many methods of doing this. Christians aspire to God himself. The Stoics aspired to the Stoic Sage. Buddhists aspire to the Buddha. I picked five people I respected deeply from fiction or real life, assessed what qualities and aspirations they have I would like to follow, and then created a funny image.

What matters more is not how you do it, but that you aspire to something that truly embodies your best self, hopefully, a self that wants to make the world a better place. 

Imagine your highest self. What incredible journey awaits you as you strive to embody this ideal each day? The path is yours to create.