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Ambition & Effort Must Be Weighed Proportionately, Your Happiness Depends On It
A story about four individuals that aptly take into consideration the entirety of the Earth's population.
This one is about purpose, contentment and hard work.
A Story For You
Nestled in a lush valley, surrounded by towering mountains on all four sides, lay a small but rapidly advancing village. Amongst the varied inhabitants of the village were four unique individuals—John, Sarah, Alex, and Emma, each of whom possessed distinct traits and personalities that could summarize the vast majority of the village’s remaining population. It was as if they were the pioneers of these characteristics and that others, had simply followed suit.
John was a man of great ambition and an unyielding work ethic. Diligently rising before dawn, he labored tirelessly until the stars adorned the night sky. He had started his own business in the village itself, far from the city, because of the lack of infrastructure to commute daily. However, that was not a hindrance to John’s dream of making it big. He believed that success is attained through unwavering determination and tireless effort. And since his family had been in the village for the past three generations, he wanted to pay homage to his birthplace and help in its advancement and recognition across the country.
John was far from content in his journey, but he wasn’t dissatisfied either. He was happily dissatisfied, if anything. He was motivated to do his best, never hesitating to put forth the necessary labor to achieve his dreams. John was at a stage in his life where his efforts weren’t matching the results, but he could’ve been least bothered because of his belief that hard work eventually yielded results.
Sarah, on the other hand, lacked ambition, preferring to spend her days sleeping in and lounging around the house. She held no aspirations or goals in life whatsoever and was content with living a simple life. She worked part-time at the local grocery store and showed no interest in advancing her career, believing that life was meant to be savored.
Sarah was content, more so than John. If John was happily dissatisfied, Sarah was completely and unapologetically satisfied. She enjoyed life to the fullest and only worked when required, not exhausting herself too much because she had found the meaning of her life—and that wasn’t necessarily synonymous with the word ‘ambition’. Her efforts matched the results she got. What more could she ask for?
Emma was an individual of hard work, but she didn’t necessarily have an ambition. However, she didn’t look at herself as someone who lacked direction, she just stayed in the moment and loved the ‘grind’ because she couldn’t possibly laze around the house all day. She needed to be active, even if it wasn't towards a specific purpose. She took up several jobs to keep herself busy and excelled greatly in everything she put her mind to. She didn’t care about being recognized, revered, or successful because her meaning of life was simply to live and be proactive and engaged at all times.
Emma too, was content. She was ignorant towards the future because she believed that thinking about the future made her elude the present. She lived life as it was passing by, utilizing each and every second in the process. Her lack of ambition didn’t stop her from progressing though, in fact, it was a bonus. “Sticking to the process without having an end goal, also gets you somewhere,” she always said.
Alex was a curious amalgamation of John and Sarah's personalities, being ambitious yet inclined towards laziness. He had lofty dreams and aspirations but lacked the drive to actively pursue them. Alex was a skilled musician, yearning to perform on stage, but never took the necessary steps to make his aspirations a reality. He frequently procrastinated, putting off his work until the last moment, but when he did work, he worked diligently. One could only wonder what he could’ve achieved if he started on his tasks sooner.
Alex had it the worst. The concept of being both ambitious and lazy at the same time was an interesting one. On one hand, he possessed a strong desire to achieve great things and make a significant impact in the field of music. On the other hand, he lacked the necessary drive and motivation to take action towards achieving his goals. Alex spent most of his time in frustration and dissatisfaction because he felt like he was capable of so much more but unfortunately, wasn’t able to realize it.
John went on to achieve what he had hoped for—his business took off and he brought recognition not only to his work but also to his village. The result finally matched the effort, and John, who had been slogging for a very long time, was content at last.
Sarah, who was nonchalant in the first place, embraced life without falling into the rat race. She went on to join John’s business as a part-time employee, doing and earning the bare minimum. The minimal effort she put in always yielded a minimal result, but she was happy staying put.
Emma, who loved the ‘grind’, eventually partnered up with John. While John dreamt, made plans and goals, and worked towards a purpose, Emma simply worked every single day without having to worry about what was next. Even John admits that without Emma, the business wouldn't have reached where it was. He needed someone to work without caring or bothering about what the future held.
And Alex, well, he remained frustrated and discontented. His ambition and efforts were disproportionate; while one was exorbitantly high, the other was inversely proportional and that’s a recipe for a very unhappy life. He never achieved his dream because he was too lazy to take the required steps. His talent, skill, gift, was underutilized and all that remained was a man who never realized his own potential.
A Story From You
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being content without being ambitious. Some people live a very beautiful life, not having to worry about becoming the next stalwart, millionaire or billionaire. They too develop meaningful connections with the people around them; they too find happiness in the little things and they too are successful because the amount of effort they put in equals the the result perfectly.
But to assume that you can be ambitious, lazy and happy is a bit much.
Which category do you fit into and why?
Until next time,
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