The other side of ambition
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”
– Marriane Williamson, A Return to Love
Registration (check) Hotel (check) Flight to Miami (check).
I’m off to Florida in a few weeks for an exclusive leadership and marketing intensive with one of my mentors, Darren Hardy and I couldn’t be more excited or grateful. His book, The Compound Effect, has been a boilerplate of my own personal development for years and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen him. The retreat is a gift from my generous and beautiful wife. We both invest a pretty substantial amount of our time and resources in personal development and have been called driven, obsessed and ambitious on more than one occasion. There’s a saying, “Obsessed is what lazy people call dedication.” I wouldn’t go that far but if the shoe fits.
The other side of ambition.
Contrary to the Rumi and Sark-esque wisdom, I’d argue that acceptance and contentment are often more selfish concepts than ambition. One might argue that self acceptance is about seeking comfort and that means caring more about our own condition than those of others. Being comfortable is more important than contribution. Another teacher of mine once asked, “What’s the point if you see a homeless person in the cold and all you can do is feel sorry for them? When you truly care about contribution, you also care about increasing you ability to give more.”
And you can’t give what you don’t have. That’s just math. The ‘ambitious’ people that I know, ones obsessed with personal growth, want to leave the world a better place and are fueled by a genuine desire to contribute. They know in order to give more, you need to become more.
John D. Rockefeller, a name synonymous with wealth said, “I had no ambition to make a fortune. Mere money-making was never a goal, I had an ambition to build.”
Ambitious? Maybe. But playing small does not serve the world.