Your best version is said to be the one you are intending to be. The word ‘pretending’ should be replaced with ‘intending’. However, this intention must be paired with a requisite amount of effective action to become the one you aspire to be. With these actions, the pretence transforms into a journey towards becoming the desired version of yourself. Many of us are fortunate enough to become the person we once intended to be.

What occurs after reaching there? Once you have attained the goal of becoming someone you have always longed to be, achieving the height you have aspired to, what transpires next? Is that culmination the end of the journey? Does reaching the zenith mean you have fulfilled your desires? Perhaps not. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts, said Winston S. Churchill. No one remains at the peak indefinitely. Change is a principle of nature. We are not the same as we were at birth. Each cell in our body has changed countless times by now. The impermanent nature of the universe applies to us, too. No person is content with being and remaining as they are. It is rare for someone not to have any further aspirations after reaching a stage in life. If it happens, it is a blissful state, but it is uncommon.

Once we reach a peak, another, more desirable peak appears before us, and our next intention is to reach that peak, and then another, and so on. This journey of desires and life continues indefinitely. This journey drives our continuous progress and growth. It also fuels our persistent dissatisfaction and what Buddha termed ‘suffering’ due to desires. This suffering, the wish to reach the next peak, becomes the impetus, acting as a burning desire, leading us on the downhill path from the peak we have already conquered. Descending from the peak may seem like a regression, but this descent occurs with an ascent in mind. The aspiration to undertake the next uphill journey to another peak keeps the world in motion.

Starting the descent, we are uncertain if we will reach the next peak, but still, we dare to try. This courage to attempt the next climb has planted humanity’s flag on the moon and at the depths of the oceans. But as Nelson Mandela said, the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Without such courage, we would stagnate at one point in life, lacking the bravery to move forward. This stagnation could occur early in life, resulting in a person in their twenties remaining at the peak they have reached for the rest of their lengthy life. Fortunately, this happens infrequently. Instead, the indomitable human spirit is so powerful that individuals in their eighties still look forward to their next peak.

This perpetual journey, both uphill and downhill, with the ambition to be the next best version of oneself, is inspiring. Let us look up to those who have aspired to higher peaks and have made arduous efforts to reach them as our role models. May we be encouraged by their ambitions and follow in their footsteps.

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