[September 4, 2020] Look at those people in the world that we admire most. Often, these are sports figures; people on a team that possess a positive attitude, which are good sportsmen against the competition and can lift up others. While these folks work for their own personal aim to be the best they can be, there is something more significant to be had.
Not only do such sports leaders work for their own improvement, but they also do so in a way that simultaneously works for the improvement of their team, for the sport, and has its spillover into the broader culture. This is not a philosophical idea; it’s a concrete idea that works across cultures and has historically been shown to be true.
Unlike philosophy or theology, a sport is acted out visually. That is why nearly everyone so quickly identifies with a sports team and individual players. If a person can play well with others – which is the hallmark of a good sport’s member – then that means the leader is a reasonably sophisticated and civilized person. It’s essential to play well with others. Dr. Jordan Peterson notes that doing so is the grounding of ethics.
Leaders and everyone should have s noble aim in life. A “noble” aim is one that gives your life-sustaining meaning; the meaning that keeps away or at least helps us deal with catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. Failure to have such an aim allows us to suffer, and suffering leads to hopelessness and bitterness. When we are hopeless and bitter, we can get mean and cruel, and that is when we hurt others and ourselves.
So what should our aim be? The aim, of course, is about orienting ourselves to accomplish what is most important. Leaders must have a personal aim because that is where they derive meaning. And, without that, things go to hell.
Rule 2 in Dr. Peterson’s book is “Treat yourself like you’re someone responsible for helping.” This is an excellent place to begin to attain a reasonable aim. Look three to five years down the road and look at what you want (being practical, of course, and what you’re willing to make sufficient sacrifice). A reasonable aim is one that is within our grasp, something realistic and attainable.
We know from scientific research into the human mind that once a person has an aim in life, they can begin the formulation of a plan to attain it. The aim helps us also structure our perceptions. Your brain helps show the way, showing obstacles in that path and open pathways. This is how the world reveals itself. And that is why a leader (or anyone for that matter) must have a personal aim.