RGS Guildford courtyard with students

Reflection: Aspiration

At the most basic level, aspiration can be summarised as the desire to achieve a goal; however, to me, it is a far more complex idea.  Aspiration to me represents the driving force behind some of the greatest achievements in human history.  It holds the power to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary and allows us to reach our full potential as individuals.

I am sure when I mention the word aspiration, there are several names coming to your minds whom you aspire to be like.  However, woven into the story of our favorite athletes, scientists and actors is a common thread: many of them dared to dream big and as a result achieved greatness in their respective fields.  They reached their status as celebrities and role models not by luck but by aspiring to do what their predecessors could not.

Take Neil Armstrong, for instance, a man for whom even the sky wasn’t the limit of his aspirations.  After years of dedication, overcoming hardships with blood, sweat and tears, he finally completed his lifelong ambition on July 20, 1969, as he descended the steps of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon.  His famous one small step for man came only as a result of countless hours of training both his mind and body.  It was only through his strong desire to achieve his dreams was he able to take the giant leap for mankind and secure his position in the history books.  Neil Armstrong’s story is a testament to his determination and unmistakable evidence for the power of your aspirations.  I urge you all to follow in his footsteps by dreaming big and never letting go, regardless of the challenges you face.

However, aspirations are certainly not limited to such gravity-defying feats.  I encourage you to seek improvement in your life every single day.  Little actions, like aspiring to make that sports team or getting that lead role or even something as trivial as remembering to pick up that piece of lost property, that you’ve got a few too many emails about, are all worthwhile and help lay the foundations on which greatness can be built.   But most importantly, do not be afraid to fail and do not be too disappointed if you don’t achieve what you initially set out to.  In my mind, it is a far greater failure to meet a target that falls firmly in your comfort zone than it is to marginally miss a target that has allowed you to stretch yourself, as the lessons you can learn along the way are invaluable.

To conclude, I shall leave you with a quote that, to me, captures the essence of what it means to aspire for greatness with no fear of failure just as Neil Armstrong did and I hope you all do, by the American author Norman Peele, who told us to , “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.”

Toby Farrant
Senior Prefect