Ambition: Why do we care?
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Why do we seem to be so obsessed with this idea?
So the other day I was watching a video from one of my favourite YouTube channels. And they spoke about this idea of “ambition” and how this is something we often want our significant others to have. But why is this the case? Why do we want our partners to be ambitious? Or are we just parroting a trait that we perceive to be a positive thing.
This post isn’t an argument for ambition being a bad character trait by any means but I actually think a lot of us don’t value ambition probably as much as we think we do. Firstly, let’s define ambition. From my perspective, I perceive it as someone who is looking to progress in their career and achieve big goals. Actually, it doesn’t necessarily have to be career driven but I think ultimately it is about achieving accomplishments that your every day human doesn’t.
And when you think about it, ambition is a trait that permeates every aspect of your life. It doesn’t actually make sense to just be ambitious in a specific part of your life. In reality that ambition will probably transfer into everything you do. But when you think about your friends and family, how many of them would you say are ambitious? Thinking about my own life I would actually argue the majority aren’t ambitious. And this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not successful. Some people are happy just to get by and live a stable life. And that’s okay. In fact when settling down and starting a family having that stability is key.
Ambition can sometimes run you into some sticky situations. Because with ambition you’re often taking risks and I think most people want a partner they can rely on. This is not to say that ambitious people aren’t reliable, but someone who is happy in their 9-5 earning a decent living is arguably more reliable than someone who is always looking for new opportunities to progress or make more money. It’s a weird balance to strike.
What are the connotations we make with the word “ambition” that makes it a desirable trait anyway? I think we associate it with success and money. But many ambitious people have been unsuccessful and broke at some point in their life because it is often these situations that drive ambition. And don’t get me wrong, standing by someone that is in hard times but is still trying to push themselves and make something of their life, can often prove beneficial for you in the long run. But that’s just it, it’s the long game. And until that ambition pays off there will be uncertainty and emotional stress along the way. Would you rather just live comfortably for all that time?
Maybe I am speaking in hyperbole when I discuss ambition. I guess all I am trying to say is that you do not have to be ambitious, and actually the majority of people you meet probably won’t be. There are small wins every day that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Someone who loves their family, can pay the bills and supports you emotionally, I wouldn’t consider as ambitious but nevertheless important traits to look for in a significant other.
And I see a lot of rhetoric online about how people want their partner to be making money or at least making moves to always improve their finances. And if that’s something you value then of course that is okay, I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong. But putting too much emphasis on this singular trait can leave you neglecting other aspects of a person’s character which you actually crave.
Maybe I’m just trying to validate myself because I have never really been someone that’s been motivated by money, although I do consider myself ambitious.