“You become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration”

James Allen said that. Allen was the author if the inspirational essay/book As A Man Thinketh.

This quotation is powerful and meaningful to me so it’s one that I review every day.

It reminds me that there are two opposing forces at work in our lives everyday: There’s the “me” who doesn’t want to change, who is lazy and cautious and prefers the status quo; and there’s the “me” who takes fearless risks to reach higher than my own aspirations.

These two forces play tug-of-war in my mind every moment of every day.

The first “me” has controlling desires that want to keep things as they are so it thinks about small things, meaningless things, and is full of self-doubt and anxiety. “Just get through the day unscathed” it says and it seeks out short-term pointless pleasures. The first me skips workouts, eats a ton of salty food, and sleeps all day. Those are the controlling desires that keep me small.

The second “me” aspires for more. It realizes that where I am right now is not where I want to be. “Work hard and enjoy yourself but make sacrifices now because better things are just around the corner,” it says. The second me pushes through workouts, eats healthily, and gets up at 5:00 to improve productivity. Those are the dominant aspirations that help me reach for greatness.

These forces play tug-of-war in my mind everyday. Sometimes the first me wins and my controlling desires keep me small. Sometimes the second me wins and my dominant aspirations help me be great.

I need to figure out who to reduce that first me and increase the second me.

As I think about this further (since I’m only now articulating what I’ve long thought unconsciously)…

Perhaps one way to think about this is to consider what specifically my controlling desires are, tear them down, and build bigger and better controlling desires. Rather than trying to avoid those controlling desires (which I believe are innate), maybe I can reconfigure them so that bigger, better controlling desires aren’t that small. If I’m only as small as my controlling desires then maybe I can create great controlling desires.

And I also need to consider what my dominant aspirations are. I love measuring and testing new things in my business but it’s easy to fall prey to measuring and testing things that don’t contribute to my overall goals. If I can align those then the measuring and testing contributes to my dominant aspirations rather than distracts.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.