Ideals are a funny one.  They are the things we aspire towards.  They are the things that we want to spend our life aligned with and the things that hold us back from putting something out before it’s complete, and perfect.  Often, that desire for perfection, or our imagined ideal situation stops us from working with what we have right here, right now.

I can imagine that as you’re reading this right now, there’s something in your life that is far from ideal.  It could be your relationship with your spouse, or partner.  It could be your financial situation.  Perhaps your job?  Maybe even your children, or family?  Possibly you’re health, or level of fitness?  It could even just be the degree to which you enjoy each moment in life. Whatever it is, there’s usually some area of our lives that spring to mind as being far from ideal.

Oftentimes we use that lack in a particular area of our lives, as a reason not to do something, as a reason to hold back, as a reason to withdraw from participating fully, and even just getting out there and giving it a go.  We’re great at making up a hundred and one excuses for ourselves, to justify our lack of action.  Yet ironically, the less ideal a situation is, the more time, energy, and attention we have to put into it, in order to turn things around, and bring it closer to the ideal.

If for example our challenge is finance, and we consider ourselves to not have enough money right now, to be able to buy the perfect house, live the perfect lifestyle, or be where we want to be on our own financial ideal, instead of doing something about it, most people will curl up into a cave, and just try to drown out life outside of the necessities of work.  They may turn to alcohol or drugs to dullen their senses, and make them less aware of the lack.  They may turn to video games, or TV, to immerse themselves in a reality that’s far removed from their real world, and thus help them escape the current situation or dilemma.

For me life is all about tackling those imperfections head on.  It’s all about taking those ideals, using them as a guide to get you closer towards what it is that you’re after, but then just going for it anyways; all out.  It’s about knowing that there’s stuff that’s less than perfect, and figuring out ways to use what’s available to take the next step.

Our ideals inspire us, they make us want to accomplish something, or work towards something, but equally they can hinder us, and make us hesitate from taking that first step.  If we waited until we were the ideal weight, until we had the perfect amount of cash, until we had the best job in the world, we would never arrive at taking any action in life.  For me, ideals are a goal to aspire towards, but we should not have the attainment of that goal be something that prohibits or inhibits our ability to progress, and move forward in life.  For then the ideals become burdens.  They become milestones, instead of goals.  Just how often have you heard someone say, once I lose a bit of weight, I’ll start going to the gym?  Or once I have a bit more money, I’ll start saving?  Or once I start to exercise then I’ll start to eat healthy?

Unfortunately, as much as we might like to believe that none of those small steps matter, or that our ideals are practical and realistic, if there is something in your life that you don’t have, and that you want to have, and you’re not already working towards it, or taking some actions to get you there, then I’m gonna bet on the fact that an ideal of some sort is holding you back.  There will undoubtedly be some “if … then …” story that you have started to tell yourself, that prohibits you from properly going after your goals, or reaching that ideal that you aspire towards.

Often when we examine why we imagine we want something, or we hold some ideal situation, or scenario for ourselves, in our mind, and then see ourselves painfully removed from accomplishing it, there is some thought, or belief that we have that holds us back.  We end up no longer seeing the glass as half full, and start seeing it as half empty.  The world seems less full of hope, our dreams, less realistic, and we resign ourselves to the belief that it just wasn’t meant for us, or that we were just never meant to have a certain something?

That’s the cop out.  That’s the painless, easy way out.  That’s when we decide it’s not worth the effort, and we stop taking steps and actions that take us closer to accomplishing our ideal.  An ideal has not served it’s purpose until it’s made you completely aware of how far removed you might be from your desired destination, and only upon reaching it, will you find the peace and rest that comes with living within your ideals.

By all means, aspire to the grandest, most spectacular ideals that you can imagine for yourself.  But then straight after that, don’t forget to start taking steps to bring you closer to that ideal.  Ironically it isn’t the absence of the ideal that brings people into apathy, or powerlessness.  Usually it’s the grandness of their dreams, and visions.  Of what an ideal life might be like, and how much effort and time it might make.  But put all of those thoughts, and visions aside, and strive to reach towards that unescapable truth.  Learn to take the 1st step.  It’s almost always the hardest to take.

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2 Comments to “Living With Our Ideals”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mamading Ceesay, Farhan Rehman. Farhan Rehman said: RT @farhanrehman Just blogged recently: Living With Our Ideals http://bit.ly/WPho8 […]

  2. Farhan Ahmad says:

    This was a very insightful post. Perfectionists have this problem, but I never thought of ideals in this way.

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