What would you do with a million dollars? "Nothing."
April 29, 2012 5:20 PM Subscribe
Is Ambition required for Success? Is it possible to be too well adjusted? What if you don't like what you're good at? I have been struggling with the concepts of ambition and achievement in regard to self-esteem and a sense of self-worth (warning: long, vague)
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Lets say you're good at something most people find difficult. You're not bragging, you've been skipped ahead in the field, put into special schools for it, competed with adults in High school (and won) and eventually dropped out of college because you where teaching yourself faster than the classes could keep up and didn't feel like paying for the privilege.
So of course this is the thing you need to do for the rest of your life. It's a calling, something that people have sunk a not inconsiderable amount of time and money into to make sure you are Really Really Good at the thing you are Really Good at.
And what if you don't like doing it?
Not enough to go runaway to the mountains but enough that the prospect of doing this thing for the rest of your life fills you with a foggy dread and you seem to lack the laser focus ambition and striving work ethic of your peers and you wonder how much of your time is being taken up by doing something that, for the majority of the time you're doing it, you're miserable and hating it and wishing you could be doing anything else.
This isn't the skillful lacking conviction, you know you're good and you have faith in your abilities. You just don't enjoy 90% of the thing you're doing on a basic level. it's not exciting or fun or interesting.
Example, I read this quote from Stephen King (“They pay me absurd amounts of money,” he observes, “For something that I would do for free.”) and I just don't feel that. I don't understand liking one thing that much. I don't actually enjoy working on the thing I'm good at (I like some parts, the planning parts, but the bulk of it is a huge drudge) and the rewards aren't that great considering how much loathing and effort goes into it. There are much more consistent rewards in my hobbies or in socialization. And honestly if I couldn't do the Thing I'm Good At Anymore I'd probably just do a few things related to it, it wouldn't be the end of the world, I enjoy doing lots of different things.
There is that gnawing feeling other high-achieving friends of mine have that occasionally perks up in my own heart but having seen them go from nothing to being quite successful and still that ache to work, and I can't relate. If it won't be solved by exterior validation, then why struggle so hard if it'll never be sated? Am I just really lazy? Reading getitdone stuff and ambition-related media is exhausting enough on its own without also feeling like I'm letting down the hours and hours of time spent getting Really Good. What am I feeling and how do I make it stop or at least put it into a context I can better understand it? Is it possible to be a lazy success without being a dilettante?