On a relentless journey of self-discovery, expanding knowledge, exploring potentials, yadda-yadda-yadda, I'm currently noticing how I (and perhaps many other people) tend to say this one certain word a lot.

That word is "aspiring."

It wasn't much of an epiphany; I just wrote it on an Instagram story and thought, man, why do I use this all the time?

A little back story to that; I'm currently a first-year university student. In this case, like many others, "first-year" roughly translates to "I still do not know what I want to do with my life nor why I am here and I do not trust myself for making big decisions but I can only try my best to not ruin anything in the process."

As of today, my strongest interests include photography, writing, and– well, design, because of my major. Yet everywhere I go, every description/bio I put up, it always trickles down to:

... aspiring photographer / aspiring writer / aspiring content creator / aspiring designer.

To which I asked myself, what is this "aspiring" business and why do I seem to do so much of it?


There are a few things that led to this love-hate relationship I have with the word "aspiring."

From the dictionary, aspiring is defined as directing one's hopes or ambitions towards becoming a specified type of person. It sounds fancy and eloquent, but in actuality it just means that you are intending to do something. You are hopeful on it; wishful or keen, even.

I hear you; being driven by ambition isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, aspiring is good in that it directs you somewhere. The word's usage indicates that yeah, there is a path laid ahead of you. Think about it; all of a sudden, you're not just a kid with a guitar. You're an ~aspiring guitarist~! You're starting out! You're going places!

Or are you?


As much as I love the idea of having a sense of direction, frankly I don't think aspiring gets you anywhere. In fact, I think the word aspiring is rather alluring but dangerous, because it gives you a vivid imagination of what you want to be and the possibility of you becoming that, without giving you the reality check that hey! You gotta work for it!

Consider my current state as an example: I aspire to be a writer. I aspire to read more books. I aspire to get better sleep for better brain function and health.

Reality check? This is my first blog post after nearly two months, and my laptop's filling up with unfinished articles that I used to aspire to submit. I have three unfinished books miserably sitting in my bedroom and day by day I fail to read any more than five pages. My anxiety-ridden sleeping pattern mostly grants me 4-5 hours on a restless night, which leaves me feeling zombified for the day that follows.

Aspirations, it seems, do not help me one bit.


My goal shouldn't slow down because I "already have aspirations." Instead, I should recognize that my goal has barely even started. There is work to be done, and highs and lows to be tackled. The reality of our actions, efforts, and progress are what turn us into something greater.

Aspiring, I would say, doesn't even make the 10%.

Aspiring to be something, then placing your feet forward and making tangible changes, however; that gets you somewhere. That has a lasting effect, and that's what makes it count. I'll say this again: it is not enough to simply "want to" change.

I've used it to identify myself a million times now, but I think it's a good time to ditch that word, and really focus on how I can outgrow that nest of aspiring. I used to love how it shows people what I'm striving for, but I gotta say I don't love it because it makes me forget that the path is there to be walked on. Not to be marvelled from a distance before I even take the first step.

So I suppose, from now on, instead of describing myself in aspiring nouns, I'd rather prove what I am through real, visible work and progress. And it takes a lot to dedicate myself to so many aspirations, so maybe above all, I'll just aspire to be a functional human being without completely losing my sanity.

As a generation, I truly hope we don't settle for just "aspiring" to be things. Regardless of what we're doing, I hope we don't form habits of aspiring to be great without forming habits of doing what is necessary. Shake yourselves up a little bit. Be a little mad. Get a little uncomfortable. Use that discomfort to push yourself to get better.

In other words, let's set a goal to keep making progress until the word "aspiring" is no longer needed.


Until next time.