Musings | 3 min read | by Dysco

The life of an idealist: Moving from Inspiration to Aspiration – Benjamin Lane’s Dysco Diary

Benjamin Lane plays at the intersection of business innovation and social change. He is a former management consultant at Bain and has worked with a range of organisations and individuals to build sustainable strategies and unlock their potential. Ben hails from the UK, but has been based in India for the last 4 years. Ben found himself stuck in the “work-life balance” conundrum. Conventional wisdom just didn’t make sense: “Work is part of life…not an opposing force on the scales. I am stuck in a constant rebalancing act, where more of one results in less of the other…”. Instead, Ben is seeking to model “work-life integration”, where both “work” and “life” support and reinforce each other. In essence: doing the things you love with the people you love (and getting paid for it)! He’s looking to collaborate with venues, people and businesses to host workshops around self-development, leadership and unlocking your potential. Chat with Ben on Dysco to know more! 

I arrived in India 4 years ago for what was meant to be a 6 month “transfer” from London with Bain & Company (a consulting firm). About 1 week into my stay I realised that India had other plans for me… It turns out that I had fallen in love… I had fallen in love with the people, the “organised” chaos and the everyday adventure. Cheesy, but true!

Today I work as a freelance consultant and facilitator with a range of organisations (mostly start-ups and growth-stage businesses) and individuals to build sustainable strategies and “unlock potential”.

Most of the stories we hear about “unlocking potential” are those of rags to riches, zero to hero, corporate-slave to craft-beer, financial services to social services, near-death to real-life…  These are stories of truly amazingly individuals who have moved mountains to get to where they are today. They are “inspirational”… They pump us up, stimulate us, make us feel aroused.

However, for me, a few hours later this stimulation subsides and we are often left with little… It might be an issue of relatability – maybe I can’t relate with the rags to riches story, or maybe whilst these stories are “inspirational” they are not “aspirational” for me.

Referencing my (online) dictionary:

  • Inspiration – “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something”
  • Aspiration – “a hope or ambition of achieving something”

This is stimulation versus ambition. Excitement versus action. And most significantly, external versus internal. This is not taking anything away from the amazing stories we hear. But inspiration is something we ingest from outside. Aspiration is something we cultivate within ourselves.

Inspire :

  • The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something
  • Stimulation and excitement
  • Comes from the external

Aspire :

  • A hope or ambition of achieving something
  • Ambition and action
  • Comes from the internal

Furthermore inspiration is often necessary in order for aspiration to grow. But only once we’re filled with aspiration, self-initiated and self-defined, do our lives really begin to transform.

So the question becomes: How do we seek and maintain the aspiration to build an authentic and fulfilling life? How do we tell more stories about the people who are stuck, searching, lost, unfinished? How do we embrace the good and the bad, the successes and the failures?

This is where I am on my journey… It is not a particularly glamorous story – but one of exploration and small imperfect steps. I am quickly finding that there are no shortcuts, but there are tools and practices that can support us in our growth. A core part of my long and winding journey is uncovering these practices and making them accessible and relevant for others. In essence: How do you do the things you love with the people you love (and get paid for it)? How can you build sustainable change, show up as your best self and unlock your potential?

So am I just a idealist millennial seeking meaning in our VUCA world? HELL YES. BRING ON THE EXPERIMENT OF LIFE.