Many of us find ambition to be a virtue; our parents tried to instill the quality in us since grade school and today, we try to convince others we have enough of it to be worthy of all the things we want.
But is there such thing as too much ambition?
Stress and anxiety could be a result of too much expectation and too much ambition spurred by too much pressure we put on ourselves, and when we don’t fulfill our expectations or achieve our ambitions, frustration often ensues. But if you think about it, setting expectations that are too high is a self-centered attitude to begin with. Like, “I want this” or “I’m getting that”. Maybe we’re not actually realistic about our own abilities or about the objective reality to begin with and if we have a clear concept of our capacity, we can be more realistic about our efforts. There’s a familiar saying out there about aspirations and the gist of it is “shoot for the moon, so that even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars.” But why shoot for the moon if it’s seems so simple to just accept the result of landing in the stars anyway? If shooting for the moon is beyond your capacity, shoot for the stars instead. You’ll still be able to demonstrate your ambition without the stress and anxieties of an unrealistic end-goal. And who knows, once you hit the stars in their bulls-eyes, you’ve broadened your ambitions and shooting for the moon is in your capacity.
It might be all of the getting and grasping that we see as major ambitions in modern life that is misguided. The belief that more is better might actually be a recipe for stress, frustration, and ultimately dissatisfaction.
It’s really a question of priorities. What is really worth pursuing? What do we really need? When we see how little we actually need, all the getting and grasping we thought was so essential to our well-being takes a backseat — where it belongs — and no longer becomes the osbession.
We need to consciously decide to not get swept up by the modern trances of how we live; it’s just a revolving door of anxiousness and repetitive stress. Instead of being in the present to enjoy the settled state of being, we find ourselves chasing time. We need to give this joyful state the space it needs to saturate and grow. In turn, it will give us an elevated sense of peace.
All this isn’t to say that it’s silly to chase your dreams; that your aspirations will only cause you stress, frustration, and lead you to an unhappy life. This is to remind you to reevaluation the pressures we place on ourselves from the expectations and ambitions society has defined for us. I, for one, certainly need to revisit my dreams. I need reconsider some of the ambitions I’ve challenged myself and relieve some of the expectations I’ve placed on myself for myself.
So be a dreamer everyday but rather than striving for the modern wants and needs of the world, strive for love and connection for others. Shoot for the stars you can achieve daily — the ones that allow you to thrive in the present — and before you know it, only the moon will be left.
And suddenly, the moon’s not so unrealistic anymore.
DAY 11. Love Ro