Your ambition shows you a direction to steer, a path to take and a destination to reach. Achieving it gives you an intangible sense of pleasure and a tangible progress in your lifestyle. If you don’t have one, you’ll be lost in the chaos of life; Days, months and years just pass away. Your performance gets hampered, as you lack a strong purpose for doing it.
Nevertheless, It’s even more crucial to find your real ambition. Most of us fail to identify the difference between the ambitions preset by the society and the ambitions we heartfully desire.
Differentiate between societal expectation and your desired ambition
For instance, you are expected to pocket a high paying job or get into the best college for masters after you graduate. And that societal expectation becomes your ambition involuntarily. If, by chance you are not aiming for that societal expectation, you’d come across as a lazy mediocre or unambitious.
DO NOT FALL INTO THAT TRAP. It’s completely okay if your ambitions are simple, minimalsitic and don’t resonate with societal expectations. It’s extremely important to identify what truely makes you happy. If you are happy to stay in a modest apartment, happy with just a degree, happy staying at home with your kids, then so be it. Leading a minimalistic life, being peaceful, being healthy also count as ambitions.
How ambitious is too ambitious?
Let’s say a restaurant waiter aspires to be a manager someday. He works really hard towards his ambition and in a few years, he finally becomes a manager. After a few years of being a manager, he aspires to own a restaurant. He works even harder towards his new ambition and one day owns a restaurant he dreamt about. He’s satisfied for a while; happy for a while. He then aspires to turn it into a luxurious fine-dine restaurant, and then open a chain of his restaurants in different parts of the city and so forth.
If we closely notice our own life’s pattern, it’s no different. We are just at different stages but we’re all moving towards a linear growth.
There’s nothing wrong with it. There are a few questions though. Was he ever really happy with what he achieved? Or was he just constantly working towards his next goal? Was he being too ambitious? Should there be a limit to our ambitions? Where does it end?
Now honestly, if somebody asks you, on a scale of 5, how satisfied are you with your current life, would you give a 5? I wouldn’t. I have no complaints, but I am still aiming for something which is not letting me mark a 5. It’s the case with most of us. Most of us can never give a 5 to our lives.
On the contrary, if somebody depicted a picture of your current life, a few years back and asked you to rate, based on how your future lifestyle looked like, you would have given a 5 back then. We convince ourselves, reaching one ambition makes our life a 5. But once we reach it, we assume the next one would make it a 5 and it goes on. We keep chasing the 5, our entire lives.
Everything is a trade-off
Going back to our waiter. Despite his meagre salary as a waiter, he had ample time in his hands to spend with his loved ones. His job didn’t impose much stress on him but his finances did.
As a restaurant manager, he ended up having lesser personal time, greater stress of accountability in addition to his financial stress — irrespective of his improved financial status, don’t you agree?
As a restaurant owner, even lesser personal time, even greater stress levels. His financial stress continued to exist. Sure, his lifestyle has improved, but what about the loans he made to keep his restaurant afloat.
Clearly, after a point of time, everything becomes a tradeoff between things. The trade-off here is, you give up valuable time with your partner, invaluable moments in your child’s life and so many more in pursuit of reaching your ambition.
Life doesn’t always have to be a Linear improvement.
Despite fulfilling your ambitions, the tradeoffs you made, leave you dissatisfied. So, it’s really crucial to identify what you’re willing to trade and for what. You ought to weigh the worthiness of the tradeoff before you do it. You should be extremely honest with yourself and identify what makes you happier and stick to it. It’s okay to stay wherever you are and be satisfied with it. It’s okay to stop running and just celebrate your achievements so far. You can set small tiny ambitions for yourself and be happy achieving them. You don’t have to be bound to the ambitions levied on you by the the society. You are no less achiever if you choose to do so.