You probably know them: people with the wildest dreams and a deep desire to make them come true. Whether it’s earnings that can easily be paid for a second home or the top rung of the career ladder, with all the associated status – they have ambition. But what if you are one of those people without ambition. Is that a bad thing? Or can you feel lucky in some ways?
Or maybe you have just no interest anymore in a 9-5 job in the corporate jungle? So, why don’t you check out the end of this article, where I propose the ultimate and perfect way out?
It’s not that you’re not happy with your work: you’re really enjoying the way things are going. So much so that you actually think it’s fine. You would think that people higher up would be able to cling to someone who is simply happy with what they are doing, yet you are constantly bombarded with having to achieve goals, multi-year plans, and growth opportunities. Tiresome, but also confronting. What if you later regret that you didn’t try harder to “get ahead”? Are there different ways?
A little history
It seems that at the beginning of the 1920s we entered a new zeitgeist that has almost unnoticeably imposed a new yoke on us: ambition! Everyone should have ambition: a dream, a passion, a mission. Television, the domain of the extroverts, has now been definitively replaced by social media.
Social media is the domain of enterprising, ambitious, and passionate global citizens who are able to realize their dreams in an unprecedentedly short time. Gradually they have become our new role models. It is no longer necessary to be extroverted. You must be ambitious now. Everything revolves around (fast) results: personal branding, creativity, strategy, audience, consumers, followers, likes, more business, infographics, competition, … ‘Are you an independent, ambitious, result-oriented professional who likes challenges?
Everything for a career?
Career development is important in the world of higher education. You start somewhere, preferably as high as possible, and slowly work your way up to the top. With every step you ascend, you get rid of some micromanagement and you can praise yourself, also literally, for being a little bit richer. This world is a linear lineup: those who do not participate or stand still, by definition do less well. But is it really all like that?
Misplaced work ideal
Ideas like these exist by the grace of those around us. Because when they are confirmed over and over, they become “normal” and it seems like there is no other possibility. Yet it is not at all obvious that work is so important in a person’s life. The whole idea of working your way up is “just” a 20th-century invention.
It is called misplaced work ideal, an almost religious view of the importance of our job. It is the belief that work is not only necessary for economic production, but also the center of one’s identity and life purpose; and the belief that our well-being goes hand in hand with being at work.
What are you without your job? Do you ever introduce yourself to others without any reference to what you do for a living? It’s a fun challenge when you meet new people in the future.
John Maynard Keynes
Interesting in this context is the ideas of the British economist John Maynard Keynes, who predicted in 1930 that progress would work so well that in the times we live in today we would have workweeks of no more than 15 hours. . Any problem around our jobs would be solved and instead we would worry about how we spend our free time, Keynes said.
The funny thing is that the economists of the time did not foresee that the role of our work has evolved as well. Rather than creating material opportunities and financial security, our jobs have become a way of expressing who we are. We might have to work very little, but we secretly just don’t want to. We have become addicted to the pressure and need – work as an indispensable part of our identity.
Making dreams come true
There is, of course, nothing wrong with having a job and work hard. Sometimes it just has to be done. But we also see that our current culture, in which self-actualization is so important in our work that we suffer massive burnouts, is not exactly one where dreams are realized. That seems to be reserved for a small elite, who can then ‘inspire’ others with those coveted images of that second house and reaching that top step of the ladder. Ambitions, they emphasize, you should have them, and pursue them.
Look, if you don’t like your job then it makes more sense to look elsewhere. But growth is not only found in your work. Perhaps you miss that ambition precisely because you already experience so much wealth and learn lessons in other areas in your life? The next time you wonder if you’re doing something wrong if you’re not necessarily very ambitious, consider yourself very lucky. A deep sense of contentment and gratitude is perhaps the greatest prize of all in the end.
Four disadvantages of ambitions
1. Ambitions can be dangerous. The history of the past 5,000 years is full of horrific examples of how ambitions can cost millions of lives. Extreme devotion to one’s own ambitions can be extremely dangerous.
2. Ambitions can make you self-centered. Personal ambitions can inhibit your involvement, your time for others, and your love for your fellow man.
3. Ambitions can seem threatening. If you are very ambitious, you are also a bit threatening to an employer or colleagues. As an entrepreneur, I am happy with colleagues who have no personal ambitions but who help me to make my dream a reality.
4. Achieving ambitions is not the highest satisfaction. Anyone who makes sacrifices for his or her ambitions knows it: there is no real satisfaction when you achieve them. True satisfaction comes from sacrifices you make for someone else. Love. To give. Selflessness.
Four benefits of having no ambitions
1. Your work is not hindered by your own ambitions. Chasing ambitions take a lot of time in addition to your regular work. If you don’t have great personal ambitions, you can put your time and energy into your daily work. Or in your family, your friends or relatives.
2. It makes you less threatening to others. People with ambitions feel threatened more quickly and are more likely to compete with each other. If you have no ambitions, you are safer for your boss and your colleagues.
Perhaps your strength lies in the time and tranquility you can offer to people who are tired of chasing their own ambitions. Or in connecting people who experience each other as threatening.
3. You have more time and space to enjoy. People who are committed to a dream or ambition must always keep going. They rely on ‘anticipation’: ‘Soon when we have reached the top …’. As a non-ambitious person, you probably have more ‘now fun’ instead of ‘anticipation’.
4. It makes you more flexible in new developments. Ambitions can also blind a person to opportunities and new possibilities. Without ambitions, you can be much more open to unexpected developments, like having your own business.
So: don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the current zeitgeist. Do you have a dream or ambition: commit yourself and go for it! And be thankful for the people around you who can help you. Do you not have a dream, vision, or ambitions yourself? Don’t just think or pretend, but accept it. Look for an employer or company with a dream or vision that appeals to you. Help visionaries or entrepreneurs with your talent and enjoy the satisfaction that it gives. Or become your own boss! This can be done by every one of us nowadays. See my full review of this life-changing opportunity to become an affiliate marketer by clicking here!