The earliest memory of my childhood that I remember is the horrified expressions on the faces of my parents as I said those five words, “I want to join the circus.” That was the very first ambition of my life followed by a desire to become a teacher, dancer, magician, miss world, social activist, president of India and the list goes on and on.
Ambition is often described as the desire to achieve something, a goal or an objective of some sorts. Some ambitions may be derived from adolescent dreams, some from parental hopes while some others from mere uncertainty.
In India especially, ambition is very highly regarded; greater the ambition, greater the respect one is likely to get. Ambition has a hierarchy of its own. Being ambitious, being driven by high aim is considered to be synonymous with being confident, audacious, and people look up to you as an upcoming successful person.
As a teenager I was ostracized by my cousins because, as they stated I had become a “hippie” without any ambitions and someone who would turn to be a bad influence in the later years. Well, my lack of ambition was simply because I was in a stage of self discovery, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I always believed in the “universe conspires” theory, though it has always let me down when it comes to romance. But overall, the universe did just fine and the ambition-less girl didn’t do so badly, after all.
The youth today run their life in the pursuit of their ambition. However, as I have observed, they tend to lose themselves in this pursuit. Since childhood the thought of success related to a high ambition is embedded in our minds in such a way that one tends to connect everything else in their life with that ambition. Soon it becomes a part of one’s life that everything one does is in relation to that ambition. Subconsciously a certain kind of web is created that connects each aspect of one’s life to that person’s particular ambition. Ambition becomes the tyranny of life. It consumes a person and the person doesn’t stop till he achieves it. The question to ponder upon here is: Once that particular ambition is achieved, what next?
“Hi, I am Sanjeev. 29-year-old soon-to-be CEO of XYZ Company. Engaged to be married.” Take a second out and seriously think, how many time have you heard Sanjeev’s introduction? Once? Twice? Always?
Now you’re wondering who is Sanjeev? Well consider Sanjeev as a revised version of an R.K laxman’s portrayal of a common man; a man with an ambition of finding a job, a car, money, house, girlfriend or a wife and, in a few weird and exceptional cases, a cat or even Angelina Jolie’s autograph. Whatever the ambition, a common man’s life is always picture-perfect, because his ambition gives it a direction. But sometimes in life there comes a phase when you run out of ambition (when you lose sight of your ambition in life) and life swirls into a meaningless existence.
The relationship between man and his ambition is quite similar to that of a dog and the mechanical hare in a dog race. Sure the dog wants it really desperately and he runs, full of vigour again and again in pursuit of that hare and one fine day manages to finally catch it. But the moment he sinks it’s canine teeth inside, it reality strikes and the fake mechanical hare with its metal bones no more holds his interest and the dog just simply walks away.
For humans after the catch (completion of the ambition) there’s celebrations and partying. The pursuit fulfilled, promises to oneself delivered, expectations satisfied. It’s a wonderful, sweet time. But once the waft of victory fades off, the pursuit of ambition is completed, what’s left is a blank universe. You lose the one thing that defined you, or at least you think it defined you.
Ambition should not define who you are. Well, hell ya! It certainly feels good to have an ambition, and even better when you achieve them. But when the moment passes away that’s when you start to feel the nakedness of nothingness that you have become. You cease to exist; you become the tag your ambition has badged you with.
Being ambitious is not bad. But being governed by one is not good either. Find yourself, not an ambition!
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