Is there a person who isn't ambitious? Are there really people who are very happy with just what they have and are doing? Well, the news is that there is no such person, otherwise they would be stuck in the same place forever!
Not one person in this world is genuinely without ambition or is indifferent to success and recognition because that is simply how we GROW, by pushing ourselves constantly to find our limits and develop our potential. Anyone who gives an impression of not caring about advancement, or the need for others to grant recognition, has actually developed a self-defence mechanism to protect themselves from potential failure or rejection. Such people are most likely to have been hurt in the past, rejected by others they loved or wished to impress, being denied the recognition they openly sought or secretly craved. This experience would have severely damaged their confidence and belief in themselves, making them thin-skinned and wary. Rejecting the ways of the wider world, or their environment, allows them to feel more in control of their direction and development and less vulnerable to future hurt from others. But it keeps them stuck in the past, or a familiar comfortable groove, as they then stop taking risks and settle for much less than they are capable of.
To cope with such disappointments in life or work, many people gradually redefine their status, reluctantly accepting themselves as less competent or less worthy. Some even create their own rules by dramatically changing their lifestyle, by derogating the one they have, and retreating into a more isolated existence somewhere else, often with other like-minded individuals, which puts them firmly in leadership roles. Outwardly, they appear to be satisfied with their achievement or lack of it. However, their sense of injustice is never entirely vanquished, merely repressed to protect their self-esteem. Gradually, many tend to become increasingly bitter and critical of what they have rejected while perceiving themselves to be somewhat superior and above their peers.
Even within religion, those enthusiastic exponents of godliness, glory and goodness, have not been short of their share of ambition and fierce competition. They might be doing God's work without much financial reward but a bishop's mitre, or a cardinal's hat, would do nicely, thank you. Even for the most devoted among us, the ambition is to reach the reward of glory in the afterlife, so something is still being sought, whether on earth or in heaven, for fulfilling expectations and being model Christians, Jews, Muslims or anything else.
Ambition and Hope
In its basic form, ambition represents hope. Without a fully developed sense of ambition we tend to lower our expectations and deprive ourselves of the hope required to expand our horizons, to fulfil our potential, to maintain our spirits and to keep our cherished desires alive. It also engenders competition because our ambition matches us against others and pushes us to our maximum. It may be true that too much ambition can make us cynical bounty hunters without any real commitment, but too little hope removes us from the competitive arena of life, retarding our development. We are then reduced to watching from the sidelines instead of being part of the action or influencing it. Gradually, we settle for second best while we quietly wish our life away with regrets.
If your ambition is low, start raising your sights today by addressing your fears, first of all. You are not really in competition with anyone else. The main aim is the ultimate that YOU can possibly achieve and how much of your potential you can realise, regardless of what is happening to your peers or colleagues. We are all awesome beings with hidden capabilities, but we will never find out just how much until we allow ambition to propel us forward.
Who knows? Raising your sights just that little bit could help you conquer your own special mountain. If it is very high, just allow it to take you as far as you feel comfortable. It might be a wee bit scary, but it will be a great adventure, with lots of fun and learning along the way. Just think how marvelous you will feel when you achieve your own secret ambitions and conquer your particular fears in the process. I can assure you, speaking from personal experience, there will be nothing like it!
Are you achieving your true potential? Why not find out with this quiz? :o)
Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH) 2011
Emotional Health & People Management Consultant
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"