Aspirations: Reality or my biggest bluff

 Aspirations: Reality or my biggest bluff

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing I have done and I have done that hundreds of times over, many times over with regular continuity                                                                                                                                                                                                                           — Mark Twain

If fear motivates us to move away something horrible, aspirational messages tempt us toward something desirable. Marketers often talk about the importance of being aspirational-offering someone something they desire to achieve and the ability to get there more easily, with a particular product or service.

We often have read or heard the following:

  • Six steps to lead a happier life.
  • Work those abs to your dream size.
  • Be a world-class speaker in six weeks.
  • Be fit as a fiddle in four weeks.
  • Get your dream job in four weeks.
  • Be ravishingly fair in 12 weeks.

The entire above are simply phony, seductive, no result messages – are manipulative to the core- who tempt us with the things we desire to have or to be the person, we wish we were.

Though positive in nature, aspirational messages are most effective with those who lack self – discipline or have a nagging fear, insecurity, and that they don’t have the ability to achieve their dreams on their own- which,  at various times for various reasons, is every one.

I always joke that you can get someone to buy a gym membership with an aspirational message, but to get them to go three days a week requires a bit of inspiration.

Someone who follows a healthy lifestyle and is in a habit of exercising does not respond to – Six easy steps to losing weight. It’s those who do not have their lifestyle that are most susceptible. It’s not news that a lot of people try various diet, fads, regimes, in an attempt to get the body of their dreams. And no matter the system they choose, each comes with the qualification that regular exercise and a balanced diet will only help boost results.

In other words, discipline.



Gym memberships tend to rise about 12% every January, as people try to fulfill their New Years’ aspiration to live a healthier life. Yet only a fraction of those aspiring fitness buffs are still attending gym by the end of the year. Aspirational messages can spur behaviour, but for most, it lasts seldom.

Aspirational messages are not only effective in the consumer market; they also work quite well in business-to – business transactions. Managers of companies, big, small, medium, all want to do well, so they make decisions, hire consultants, implement systems  to help them achieve that desired outcome. But all too often, it is not the systems that fail but the ability to maintain them – pursue them with integrity, candour and continuity. And that was their chasm.

I can speak from a personal experience here – I have implemented a plethora of systems, practices over the years to help me achieve the success to which I aspire, only to find myself back to my old habits two weeks later. I aspire for a system that will help me avoid implementing systems to meet all my aspirations. But I probably wouldn’t be able to follow it for very long.

This short term response to long term desires is alive and well in the corporate world also.

An executive coach and mentor friend of mine, Harpreet Ahluwalia – Excalibre Inc, was engaged by a $ billion company to help it fulfill its slated goals and aspirations. The challenge was, she explained – no matter the issue, company’s managers were always drawn to the quicker, cheaper, option over firming and implementing a better long term solution.

Just like the habitual dieter — they never had time or the money to do it right the first time, but they always had the time and money to do it again.


Your call now, folks!


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