Be The Right Kind Of Ambitious
What does ambition entail to you? Is it the straight-A grad student who’s had her internships lined up since age twelve? Is it the workaholic ruthlessly grinding his way up the corporate ladder? Or the innovative entrepreneur who seeks to actualize his wildest dreams? The nature of ambition and success is highly subjective and personal. This is a good thing, on many levels both socially and economically. In consequence, however, people will often perceive their definition of success as the only definition for success, assuming (albeit often subconsciously) that everyone else is either lazy, ignorant or misguided.
What is Ambition?
I’d like to once and for all, annul these discrepancies by establishing a universally coherent definition of the word ambition. So here goes…
Ambition: The willingness to continually question and assess one’s acceptance and contentment with their place in life; conjunct with the willingness to take action should a resolvable discrepancy between one’s values and one’s current standing, present itself.
By extension, an ambitious person is someone who has to the best of their abilities thoughtfully defined their values and continues on to do whatever is reasonably possible to fully embrace who they are in life. This could apply to a doctor and this could apply to the dishwasher. Provided that after much thought and deliberation, the dishwasher concluded that he truly enjoyed his work, or at the very least was happier continuing on in his dishwashing career than he would be venturing into the unknown or working in a higher stress, higher risk, more social field. Maybe the dishwasher values simple pleasures such as Netflix over sports cars, or at the very least values simplicity and relaxation over all the work that would go into obtaining said sports car.
I’ll digress from my last statement without being too contentious by stating my suspicion that the percentage of lifetime dishwashers that this actually applies too is likely quite small. The reality for most people is that we need to have a sense of progression in our careers and hobbies to feel truly satisfied. A lot of this will depend on our upbringing and personal beliefs however a lot will also depend on our biologically propelled mental and physical constitutions.
Warren Buffett for instance can eat whatever copious amount of junk food he likes and it hasn’t slowed him down, doesn’t seem to affect his mood or energy levels (watch the Business Insider short about his diet for a good laugh). For whatever reason his body just seems to process all the fast food, candy and soda like fuel. Elon Musk and Donald Trump can function on just four hours of sleep. For the average person however, it is probably in our best interest to prioritize a healthy diet as well as six to nine hours of sleep each night.
To properly optimize one’s lifestyle we have to factor in both our personal values and what our physiological constitutions sanction for us. Ultimately our ambitions have to always be adaptable and most of all we have to always consciously analyze and recalibrate the pros and cons that go towards achieving them. Do so and you too can be a true go-getter…like me.
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