An Antidote for Over Ambition

Maybe you do this too.  It’s sometimes very tempting to become so enamoured with your goals and projects that you allow them to inflate in an uncontrolled, unconstrained way.  They grow in ambition, through successive revisions, made in your own head, into something so gigantic, monumental and gargantuan, that they can’t possibly be fulfilled.  You can grow these plans into something so huge that you cannot possibly begin to even tackle them, let alone finish them.  In trying to make your thing the best thing it can be, you work yourself into a state where even attempting to make progress is utterly daunting.  Sometimes, you can inflate your ambitions to the point that nobody, regardless of how talented and skilled they are, could achieve the goal.  At this point, it’s all too easy to give up in despair.

The reason you allow your planned projects and ambitions to grow out of control might be to do with wanting a quick fix solution to your situation.  You might see putting on a sell out, standing room only, rave reviewed show as your ticket out of your mundane existence.  Your future hit record might be the fix you need to substantiate yourself, in your own mind at least, as a musician.  You might decide that the only worthwhile next move is the big job, the fabulous house or the fame, fortune and success that only a top flight artist can attract.  With those goals in mind, you might look upon your limitations as being much more of an impediment than they really are.

Here’s a possible antidote to all that ambition inflation:  do something that makes you happy, each and every day.  Do it consistently and see what happens.

In the best case, the act of doing something that makes you happy, each day, may build into some sort of momentum that leads to the much anticipated big goal, if only by increments.  You might start a snowball rolling down hill by a few simple nudges in the right direction.  The more of the thing you like to do that you manage to do each day, the more likely it is that all of that activity will lead to somewhere good.  It might not take you to your grand, end goal, but perhaps somewhere equally wonderful and unanticipated.

In the worst case, you’ll be in exactly the same situation as you started in, but crucially, you will have spent every day of your life doing something that makes you happy.  How bad can that be?  That result might turn out to be better than achieving your grand ambition.

Please don’t misunderstand me – a little ambition can be a powerful, motivating thing, but too much ambition can cause paralysis.  If your plans are so elaborate and byzantine that you’re left with a mountain of your own making, which you believe you can never climb, then what’s the point of those plans?  Isn’t it far better to just do something within your grasp, which brings you joy and pleasure and then see where that leads you?  You might build up enough skills, along the way, to surpass your own grand design in the end, anyway.


About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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2 Responses to An Antidote for Over Ambition

  1. Thanks Michael for this. I am very stuck at the moment, with no job nor money, but this gave me a way to approach today, and refocus. Thanks. I have enjoyed many of your recent posts and meant to comment but got deflected onto other things. Don’t feel you’re not appreciated though 🙂

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