Tag Archives: ambition

Things you do to not achieve your goals

Probably you have a bunch of dreams that you wish to come true and probably you’ve set up your goals while ago. But months, years passing and you are not even near there. Why is that? Why, despite the huge ambitions and even bigger resolutions, you are still in the place you don’t want to be? Why do you still feel like you are sitting on the bench during the match of your life? It’s not because you’re too lazy or too stupid. It’s because you’re doing too many things that drive you away from the goal.

Stop talking and start doing

People talks, people love taking and this is ok. The problem is that in most cases they talk more than they do. I have a friend who always says action, not talking. And this is the essence of what you have to hold onto to get something valid in your life.

I know many people who love to talk about their achievements, even if a bigger part of those exist only in their heads, or on social media bio. You know, athletes with obesity, writers without a book or businessmen without a business. They live a success that has not yet happened.

People sometimes deceive themselves to feel better or add a certain “surplus” to their lives to improve their image in the eyes of themselves and others. They telling you that they work on some big business project, but in fact, they just scrolling through Forbes articles all day. They’re telling you how amazing their new business website will look, but the only thing they manage to do is upload another selfie on Instagram.

What things you’re doing to not achieve your goals?

Lots of these issues come to motivation, but you know – motivation directed in the wrong way. Because sometimes you can be more motivated to eat a cake than to do yoga, am I right?

Look at your average day, everything you do and spend your time on. What are the things you are not doing to get a dream job, more money or a better relationship?

Achieving your goals will be very difficult until you define that one thing: what drives you towards the goal and what pulls you in a different direction.

Why doesn’t anything change?

You get in your life what you focus on. Fulfilling yourself is difficult when your attention is drawn to the things that stand in the way of achieving your goal.

Sometimes you can avoid doing certain things because you are scared; you scared of the outcome, you’re afraid it won’t come out the way you want it to. When I’m right before ending a writing project I’m terrified that I will blow it. So I start to cook dumplings or learn to bake a cake, which I never normally do. Just to avoid doing the right thing, because I’m afraid it won’t turn out the way it should.

You see my point here. If I want to be a writer, I must focus on writing, not training my culinary skills. This applies to all of us. If you dream of a specific goal, do what will bring you closer to it, not distance it.

What you don’t do to achieve your goal is all that involves sabotaging yourself. It’s your lack of persistence and effort avoidance. Everything you neglect and put aside. All the days that you say, “I’ll start tomorrow”.

Do you suffer from excessive ambition?

Ambition can give meaning to life, but it can also take it away. It can add wings as much as it can clip them. How can we recognize if our driving ambition can be fatal? First, we need to know what drives our action.

Latin “ambitio” means a desire for recognition. We associate it with the desire to achieve success, goals, and development. And in fact, ambition is what motivates us, what makes us want more from life.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

When does ambition start to be a problem?

When, despite the achieved goals, we still feel empty and unsatisfied, and we try to fill this void inside us with something from the outside – e.g. with recognition or splendour.

Excessive ambition is usually caused by comparing ourselves to others and wanting to prove that we are better or at least equally valuable. It is low self-esteem that makes us continuously prove something – to ourselves and others.

Timothy Judge, professor of management at the American University of Notre Dame, states in his research that

“(…) ambition was positively but weakly related to life satisfaction, there may also be negative consequences of ambition for individuals when a variety of dimensions of satisfaction are considered.” *

Psychology distinguishes three types of “I” – “real self”, “ought self” and “ideal self”. The imbalance in our interior leads to the growth of excessive expectations. Tory Higgins’ research has shown that the more discrepancies between them, the more problems. The divergence between the “real self” and the “ideal self” can lead to sadness, depression and burnout. On the other hand, the discrepancies between the “real self” and the “ought self” lead to shame, anxiety and fears.

It is an imbalance in our interior that leads to the growth of excessive expectations – to toxic ambition.

In its extreme form, ambition can be destructive. According to psychologist Sheri Johnson, excessive ambition is associated with the risk of bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Indeed, I can see this pattern among my friends or co-workers. I can see a lot of it in myself -the pursuit of the unsurpassed ideal. So many people broke their lives because their bar was set too high. You know this type of people – they are the ones who say “all or nothing”. If something spectacular was not achieved, they treated it 100% as a failure. And yet from 100% to 0%, there is a series of ninety-nine digits …Is the result not the highest, but on a level above average, also a loss? For many people, it is. And this is what we call a sick ambition. Great results, although far from perfect, do not satisfy them in the least. It’s like those kids at school who cry because they got A and not A +.

Excessive ambition is a way of dealing with complexes through overcompensation. We feel worthy only when we achieve something big.

The best solution to overcome the havoc caused by excessive ambition is to look inside yourself and cultivate who you are. At the opposite pole of sick ambition lies gratitude and self-acceptance. This is where you should direct your thoughts. It is also responding to internal motivation. Only what flows from within can fulfil ourselves. Only desire from within makes us strive in the direction we set for ourselves, not looking at external acceptance.

Each of us is different, and each of us has a different internal mission. Only we can answer what this mission is. So what you choose – the pursuit of recognition, or maybe something truer?

* (On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition )