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Ambition

July 5, 2011
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There are two things on my mind today.

The first is a burning word – Ambition.

It is often defined as ‘an earnest desire for some kind of achievement’. The definition seems to fall short of the burning desire and the sweat behind the feeling. Or the frustration and the sweet sense of achieving something.

Dreams and ambitions are often synonymous and sometimes, against each other. Many see dreams as separate and ambitions as being more career-oriented. But for those like us for whom work and passion are the same… dreams and ambitions merge into each other, forming a higher goal.

They do start as dreams – winning the Pulitzer, for some a Grammy, an Oscar or some such tangible level. As you go on, dreams change. It is not longer about that Pulitzer but simply about making a difference. About being happy with what you are and satisfied with what you are doing.

Ironically, these are the aims that are harder to achieve, particularly as that competitive spirit refuses to die. We’ve wondered so often if life would be easier if we were less ambitious… if we would be content with what the rest of the world seems to be content with. A job that pays the bills, a house that fits the people.

But it was never about making money… about paying bills… it was about being the best, being recognized and appreciated. It wasn’t about the house big enough to fit the people… it was about having your space, your sanctuary.

On this journey you learn important lessons… that the important thing is to stop and look around, to appreciate the journey. Maybe the end result is not as important as long as you earn the stars on the way.

That was where I earned my freedom… when it dawned that it was never about the award. It was about the journey to the award. You know… sometimes you work so hard to make an impression and it falls flat… and then you are just yourself, doing your best and people are just zapped.

I didn’t need the awards, the accolades as long as the people I loved liked what I did and appreciated my work. As long as they understood and connected to it. There is immense satisfaction when a client or a reader appreciates my work. But it never matches the high of one of my loved ones spontaneously reacting to my work.

Oh I still want my awards… but those are no longer the aim. That’s just the cherry on the icing. I know now that I’m truly satisfied when I look at my work at the end of the day and smile, and the people around me are smiling too.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharanya permalink
    July 11, 2011 10:05 am

    I ‘d love to believe what you say about the Journey being the reward.
    But then there’s also this: (from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’)

    “In Disney movies, the ‘good daughter’ always has to have a breakdown and realize that life is not all about following rules and winning prizes, and then take off her clothes and run into the ocean or something like that. But that’s just Disney’s way of appealing to all the people who never win any prizes. Winning prizes gives you opportunities, and that’s freedom – not running into the ocean.”

    • July 11, 2011 6:17 pm

      That’s quite an interesting perspective… And a part of me wants to believe that as well. But after much soul searching, I’ve come to believe that it is all about being able to smile about what you’ve done at the end of the day. I’ve wanted bigger things but when I really asked myself ‘why’, I didn’t have a convincing answer. I could win awards, be mentioned in newspapers (which I already am) but if I haven’t had fun doing all of it, what’s the point?
      So I’ll have fun doing what I want and if there’s an award for it, more the merrier 🙂

      Then again, yes, it is all about having the freedom to make the choice – the key to happiness.

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