We live in an age where we’re told what success should look like. Billboards displaying images of beautiful models and Social Media pictures showing off lavish lifestyles.
It’s no surprise that we’re left to doubt our own position in life as a comparison and whether we should be doing more in order to keep up with the Jones’s.
As a result, the biggest questions arise…
“Am I living my life ambitiously, and is it ok to not have it?”
In this article, we’re going to discuss the meaning of what ambition is and then move on to discussing whether or not it’s something you should be pursuing.
So What Exactly Is Ambition?
If we’re to take the most common definition of ambition from the Cambridge Dictionary, it would be defined as the following:
A strong wish to achieve something…
A strong wish to be successful, powerful, rich, etc…
Both are pretty straightforward definitions that don’t require an explanation.
However, as simple as they are, there are many reasons why someone is driven to do something. And it generally doesn’t get discussed because of its complexity.
The fact is, every person has their own personal drives that push them into doing what they do.
This can be a problem…
While definitions are black and white, the human experience and an individual’s reasons for doing it isn’t and is often grey area.
For some, the drive to be ambitious may stem from a place of insecurity.
Perhaps it’s to prove to themselves that they’re good enough in order to attract the opposite sex.
Maybe it’s to fill a hole in their childhood through years of bullying.
Or maybe it’s because they’re bored and want to pursue more challenges in order to reach the next level.
Not all reasons can be healthy and can be very destructive if we’re to base our success on absolute external factors.
So if we’re to look at ambition as a general term and look at why people are ambitious in society. It becomes painfully obvious that the main driver is due to the things we see around us and are influenced by – On television, billboards, radio and social media.
This then poses the following question:
Why does society push this messaging onto us and expect us to be ambitious?
Why Society Expects You To Be Ambitious
The simplest reason is to make you feel insecure enough about yourself in order to be a consumer of products and services.
They show images of beautiful holiday destinations in order to book expensive travel tickets abroad.
Images of models in perfect physiques in order to make you feel insecure about yourself and to push you into signing up for expensive gym memberships.
TV shows of actors and actresses in roles and stories in order to condition you into believing how life ought to be rather than how it really is.
If we’re to break down the core reason why ambition is such a big deal. It’s because all of us on some level want more happiness, more freedom and more wealth in order to do and buy the things we think we want.
Being in a constant state of need creates an opportunity to be influenced and eventually be sold.
This is perfect for the economy as it keeps it circulating while making you more and more dissatisfied.
This isn’t easy to spot, especially since it’s generally the way most of society has functioned and will continue to function.
But that doesn’t mean it should continue to be for you…
What Ambition Should Mean To You
The first step to change is awareness. Knowing yourself and understanding what drives you, independent of what society expects of you is the first step to being completely independent.
This won’t be easy at first, especially when friends and family are involved and will generally have their own set of expectations.
But in asking yourself the question of whether it’s ok to not be ambitious is a great first step.
Because somewhere inside you, you’re questioning what the point of it is and are challenging societal norms.
This is a good thing!
The first thing you need to recognise before moving on is to understand that independent of your external achievements… You Are Enough!
You must fully embrace this before you can even begin to put yourself in a position of thinking for yourself with complete independence.
This of course is not as easy to do in practice, which is completely understandable.
It’s incredibly important to have a strong personal frame of reference so that regardless of what you see around you, you will be able to decide from a much healthier position based on your own strong core principles.
In short. Ambition in and of itself isn’t a bad thing and can be great depending on the reasons you’re pursuing it.
Doing it for the right reasons and on your own terms is the strongest place to start and will set you up for being much more successful in the long term knowing that you’re doing it for no one else but you.
If you’ve yet to find a reason to be ambitious, then don’t put too much pressure on yourself. And above all, don’t let people and society influence you.
Instead, use this opportunity to explore and find what inspires and motivates you.
- Pursue new hobbies.
- Talk to new people.
- Join clubs and social events.
- Constantly challenge yourself.
You may be surprised to find things you enjoy that you otherwise could never have found had you not given it a try.
Ambition isn’t something to just have. But rather, something that’s created through exploration and living your life to the fullest.
Once you’ve found it, you will then be in a position to keep going with passion and doing it for much healthier reasons.
Reasons that will help you grow into a stronger and more well-rounded person.
Or you could choose to stay where you are and continue to be happy… And that’s perfectly fine too!