According to the Oxford English Dictionary, aspiration is an ambition or hope of achieving something, or the action of drawing breath. While the importance of the latter is self-evident for continued survival, the importance of the former is slightly more difficult to quantify.
Most people believe that aspiration is important, but why is it important? What makes ambition important to our education, to development, and to the journey of a person’s life? Here are three examples that show how important aspiration is for every person:
How does aspiration help leadership? (Flip to find out)
Aspirations Improve Academic Performance
Research has closely linked motivation and aspirations together, showing that when students have a greater level of motivation and aspiration, there are very positive results to their academic performance. There have been a number of studies that have explored the role of aspirations in achievement, including a recent longitudinal study that evaluated how aspirations play a role in educational behaviours.
In the study, the researcher examined the different combinations of student expectations, school achievement, and aspirations. Students with high aspirations were found to have higher levels of school achievement, and high aspirations could prevent low expectations from negatively impacting the future behaviour of students.
The importance of aspirations in education are widely recognised. In 2014, the Department of Education published a report on raising aspirations in education for disadvantaged students, stressing the importance of helping students to realise their aspirations.
Aspiration is a Trait of Great Leadership
Great leadership involves a number of traits, but very often, aspiration is amongst them. One article from Psychology Today stated that alongside five other qualities, for a leader to be successful they must raise the aspirations of others. Leaders are responsible for the personal development of others and motivating them towards success.
It’s not just shared aspiration that’s important to leadership, but personal aspiration as well. ‘The 4 Aspirations of Great Leaders’, published by Ken Gosnell, provides four examples of the importance of aspiration to great leadership: finish, awareness, growth, and leadership. The four aspirations help a leader to complete tasks, realise new opportunities, improve, and develop personally.
Aspirations Can Be Anything
Aspirations can be anything that you want to achieve. They can be a place that you want to visit, a new skill that you want to learn, or a life-objective that you want to achieve. Aspirations can even be things that you want to do; as big as learning a new language or as small as watching that must-see TV show that you haven’t gotten around to seeing yet.
While this last point may not seem like an example of the importance of aspiration, it shows that aspirations are very personal to the individual. These personal aspirations can contribute immensely to developing as a person and becoming who you want to be. Personal development is of great importance, it takes you out of your comfort zone, increases your confidence, and boosts your self-awareness.
Aspirations are important for educational success and realising higher education goals; they’re important for great leadership and success in every industry; and they’re vital for personal development, both for the individual and for others. Without aspiration, a person does not aspire to achieve or improve, limiting the possibilities open to them to enhance their life.
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