A discussion on Ambition.
I've been thinking today about the different driving forces for success. Recently I started to study a masters in mathematics at Cambridge and now more than ever I am surrounded by people who define themselves by their ambition.
Ambition: [noun] "A strong desire to do or achieve something."
The more I think about this, the more I disassociate myself with the concept. I believe I am where I am today because of passion.
Passion: [mass noun] "A Strong and barely controllable emotion."
The two words are similar in their production of work ethic, but their motivations are very different. I love what I do and I try to only do what I love. When I spend my days in textbooks it is because of the beauty of the world I am learning about, the days where the drive is missing I follow my other passions. I like to feel free to follow my heart and immerse myself in the world which exists stuffed full of beauty. Good for me. Now back to ambition.
The above definition gives us two things to look at. Let's look at the 'trivial' example first. "A strong desire to do something." This is a fine statement, but somewhat lacking in motive. There's no attempt to discuss the reasons why we may do something. I feel this weak definition may be perfectly accurate but shines no light on what I'm concerned with. More interestingly we can take the second half: "A strong desire to achieve something." The real question now is what are we looking to gain from our achievements? This is what concerns me.
How does the human mind deal with the constant pressure of needing to succeed? Are we able to balance the important (and complicated) metaphysical needs of our mind if we focus our efforts on a desire for achievements? This is not me passing judgement but throwing out words in an effort to start a conversation. Is a lifestyle fuelled by the need for constant and progressive achievements sustainable? Is ambitionless passion enough to achieve the goals that are necessary to allow us to follow our dreams? @hello wrote an interesting post about the hardwork we put in to achieve our goals and I have just read a post by @gpalmer which starts by discussing the huge spectrums of waking and sleeping hours that our heroes spent perfecting their crafts.
Is ambition positive or just necessary? Can passionless ambition allow for success as well as maintain a healthy, happy mind?
What do you think?