Note: Day 14 of the #Trust30 initiative.
10, 5, or even 2 years ago, I had a pretty linear view of my life’s path. I was gunning for promotions, and hurt and dismayed when I felt I was passed over for them. I was blindly ambitious.
I generally viewed my career as a project in itself, to be built, brick by brick, until I’d finally reached the income and status that would finally satisfy me (as if such a thing were attainable).
After suffering some serious pain, I entered the most wonderful growth period of my life so far, and it’s allowed me to (mostly) disconnect from this warped view of reality.
That’s the difference between ambition and blind ambition: ambition is about improving and changing things in the world, where blind ambition is only about improving things for yourself. As I have begun this journey, it’s been comforting to run across and befriend many others who were unhappy, trapped in the hamster wheel of blind ambition, and are now taking control of their lives.
For the past year or so, I’ve let go of my own vision for my future, while I start to rebuild it based on what makes me truly happy, rather than some arbitrary financial goal.
In a job interview, I was asked what career path I was on, and I told the truth: that trying to pick a path hadn’t worked out for me as well as letting go and focusing on building and improving things. I know exactly what I want right now, but I can’t say what’s a year or two down the road for me.
What opportunities am I not seizing? What paths am I not taking? The answer, at least for me, at this moment in time, is work. Instead of letting the list of things in front of me paralyze me, the answer is to pick one and get to work.
I have to be willing to let my work suck, and focus on improving it. I think that as I discover my capability for tackling larger and larger problems, my appetite and ambition will grow, and I have a real shot at making a dent in the world.
I love the distinction between ambition and blind ambition. It is not beneficial to be a social or economic climber whose only goal is to attain personal success at any cost.But that doesn’t mean you have to eschew all trappings of ambition.
Some of the least selfish people I know are wildly ambitious. I’ve already made it a point to seek them out, now my job is to learn from and emulate them.