Ambition is a Myth

September 28, 2020

One of the things I would pride myself in being is ambitious. I am able to set goals, examine systems, and then structure habits to reach those goals. People make fun of me for the amount I read or the fact that I’m in bed by 8:30 pm, but it all leads to the same fact that most people would say that I’m ambitious.

Now, if someone else my age stayed up until 4:00 am playing video games and watching YouTube videos about playing video games, would they be considered ambitious? Probably not because their ambition to play video games has no positive impact on the world.

But what about someone who stayed up until 4:00 am trying to master the game of chess. Would they be considered ambitious?

They might be because their ambition is devoted towards something culture has reserved for the academic and studious. My argument to this is that although that is what culture has defined ambition by, it does not have positive impact on the world as the argument for why a gamer is not ambitious.

There is a disconnect here.

What then defines ambition? Is it being able to achieve goals one has set for themselves? Or, having those goals have a positive impact on the world in return?

If I read because I want to learn from people’s mistakes so I can use what they learned to help me in my life to attain a level of status or power and a gamer plays video games all night because he wants to become a pro video game player for status and power, who is to say one is more ambitious over the other?

What about if I read for the sake of entertainment and passing time and that’s the same reason the gamer games. Are neither of us ambitious at that point because we are both just wasting time entertaining ourselves anyway?

There is no doubt for the entrepreneurial minded out there that ambition is an attractive thing to have in a partner. One reason being it gives you freedom to work hard and chase your dreams. Another reason is because you can share life with someone who has the same perspective and mindset as you do on the world. In this regard, what do they have to be ambitious in? Maybe they’re ambitious in hanging out with friends to foster and grow a great community. That doesn’t seem like ambition but they chase that goal the same way an entrepreneur chases his start-up ventures.

However, I wouldn’t look at that and say, “wow, she’s very ambitious” even though I think the word ambitious can describe the way she is tackling the goals she has set for herself.

All that to say, when talking about someone and trying to label them, be open-minded. Their ambition might be coming across in a different way that most might seem.

If you have any thoughts on this, send me an email. I’d love to expand the conversation.

FOOTNOTES