“Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.”Oscar Wilde
Ambition—the drive to work hard and dream big—naturally has its advantages. It makes us challenge ourselves. It’s a forcing function for continuous growth and change. It prevents us from being complacent. It helps us build momentum and keep going when difficulty arises.
But ambition has its disadvantages too. It keeps us up late past a healthy bedtime. It pushes us to overwork and stress ourselves out. It keeps our mind focused on the future versus enjoying the present.
We need a healthy amount of ambition to make things happen, but if we become too ambitious, we can over overextended ourselves.
It’s the classic Icarus story. The Greek myth spins the tale of Daedalus and Icarus. Locked away on an island, Daedalus built two pairs of wings, made out of bird feathers and wax, so that he and his son Icarus could escape. When the time to fly arrived, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, but of course Icarus didn’t listen and the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea.
Everything in moderation. Left unchecked, our ambition never stops expanding. We say yes too many times. We take on one too many projects. We adopt too many good habits at once. Basically, at a certain point, we become too big for our breeches. And the original goal collapse.
The key to a healthy balance of ambition by adopting a similar mindset we typically have when buying things. We generally put purchases into two categories: needs and wants. We need food and we want the latest and greatest phone and gear.
When you have a great idea, ask yourself—
Is this a need or a want? Do I need to do this, —as in I feel called to do this and will give my time, energy, and money to try—or do I just want to do this—because it sounds cool.
Watch out—sometimes a want is disguised as a need or vise versa:
- A need is a want that we give priority too.
- A need that’s not necessary or not possible right now is a want.
- Needs can be disguised as wants by the fear we have of doing them.
- A need can often come from someone else’s wants.
- A want that you feel called to do, or no one but you can do might be a need.
- A need is really a want when it has ulterior motives, like fame and fortune.
- * A want can be a short term solution to a hidden need we aren’t aware of or we are ignoring.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #947
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