This is going to be an interesting concept to talk about.
Being BOTH ambitious AND content.
The two seem like they donâ€™t mix, like oil and water.
If youâ€™re content, why bother being ambitious?
Isnâ€™t the whole point of being ambitious so that you can reach a point in life where youâ€™re content?
When you finally have it all so you can just relax?
But what happens when you reach that stage for a while?
It doesnâ€™t feel good does it? Youâ€™re not moving toward anything anymore. Youâ€™re not ambitious for anything anymore. You want to get back on track toward something, but youâ€™re not ambitious anymore because youâ€™re content.
Itâ€™s a tricky catch 22 to be in.
Letâ€™s track a personâ€™s journey to sort this mess out.
Johnny is not content with life right now. Has no job, money is running out, he needs to find work right away to survive. Heâ€™s ambitious to reach a point where he can have financial stability and save some money for the future.
That ambition eventually drives him to find a career that can provide that kind of contentment for him.
Years later, heâ€™s content.
Nice job, pays the bills, saves, nice apartment, furnishings, nice car, clothes, etc.
But heâ€™s a bit disillusioned.
He has no drive to advance more in his company. He makes more than enough to satisfy his lifestyle. He finds himself apathetic on life, no direction, drifting. He believed this contentment would be â€śitâ€ť for him but quickly finds itâ€™s not. He doesnâ€™t like not moving toward something. He wants to be ambitious but he finds his ambition is gone because heâ€™s content.
Now letâ€™s say Johnny gets married and has kids. The income he makes isnâ€™t quite enough anymore. Heâ€™s not content. He wants to provide more for his family so his ambition kicks in and now he starts advancing in the company to provide for his family.
And now letâ€™s say he does all that. He makes enough to provide his family the best.
That all too familiar feeling he once found himself with comes back to him.
Itâ€™s nice to be content for a while but that something he experienced before eats at him again. That feeling of having nothing to shoot for. Of floating around. Going nowhere. Having no ambition.
Then, one night while flipping through the TV, he discovers how some are helping people in Africa get safe, clean drinking water. He realizes how fortunate he is and gets a small fire burning within him to help those people in Africa.
Heâ€™s ambitious once more, but this time in a different area other than his career. Life is good again. Heâ€™s moving toward something.
Letâ€™s stop the example right here as I want to point out a couple of things.
In the beginning, we are all striving to be content on an individual level. Weâ€™re being ambitious for ourselves in the sense that we have to help ourselves first before we can help anyone else.
If your mortgage is two months late, you have no job, little in savings, itâ€™s going to be hard for you to be ambitious in raising money to help people in Africa get access to safe clean drinking water.
You have to help yourself before you can help others.
So we realize that there is a letâ€™s say, a â€śLevel 1â€ť, in terms of being content and thatâ€™s with regard to being content with ourselves on an individual level.
Now this level will vary for most people. Some may only be content once they make millions of dollars and theyâ€™re living on a mansion by the beach.
Others may be content living in a one bedroom apartment with a stable job.
Different strokes for different folks.
So once you reach that level, whatever it is for you, itâ€™s perfectly normal to feel less ambitious because you â€śmade itâ€ť.
Now think about it.
If your ambition thus far was rooted just for YOU, in terms of bringing you to your respective level of contentment, and now that you finally find yourself there, logically, it makes sense you canâ€™t rely on that same source of ambition anymore for more ambition. Youâ€™re at your destination. Thereâ€™s no gas in the tank left. You donâ€™t want to put any more gas in because youâ€™re already where you want to be.
Now notice what happened to Johnny next. He started a family. He finds his ambition starts kicking in again but this time, itâ€™s rooted in others, specifically, love for his wife and kids. He wants to earn more to provide for them.
Before, he was all right with how things were with regard to himself. Now that things have changed, now that itâ€™s not just about him, heâ€™s fired up once again.
Same thing will happen. Heâ€™ll reach that place and get stuck in limbo. The kids are out of the house, heâ€™s financially secure, now what?
The next thing that gets him going is that mission, that love of service toward helping people in Africa get access to clean drinking water. That proves to fuel his ambition, but this time in a different arena other than work.
Notice the progression here in terms of the levels of contentment he seeks and the roots of his ambition in each journey with regard to each â€ślevelâ€ť heâ€™s currently in
Take a look at Bill Clinton.
He became President of the United States.
For some people, thatâ€™s the pinnacle. Thatâ€™s the top. Thatâ€™s the dream. You have to have a ton of ambition just to get there. Once thatâ€™s over, now what? What can top that?
Youâ€™ll see the answer when you see what Clinton is doing now.
Realize that itâ€™s perfectly natural to first seek contentment for yourself first because thatâ€™s just your survival mechanism kicking in.
After that, your ambition will be based on what you can do for others. It has to be something bigger than you.
Once you reach your level of contentment in that arena, you might pursue something else, not necessarily bigger than what you just did, but it might be in a different area.
This is so important to realize because so many people are at that point in their life where theyâ€™re content, and they feel like theyâ€™re â€śstuckâ€ť.
They canâ€™t advance because they have no ambition. They try to psych themselves up by telling themselves how much more better their life will be for themselves if they do this or that, but they donâ€™t do this or that because the fuel is gone. Life is good for them and them alone.
To get to the next level, to find that ambition once more, the key is to focus on something bigger than yourself. Once you realize and focus on something thatâ€™s not about you, youâ€™ll find your old kick again.
The main thing to realize is that ambition solely based on pleasuring yourself â€“ it will only take you so far.
And too much of it is unhealthy. You develop an unhealthy fixation on yourself.
Now if you think about it, it doesnâ€™t really take that much for you to be content now does it?
It doesnâ€™t take much.
Now if your level of contentment is WAY out there, and what I mean by that is you need a trillion dollars, houses on every continent, Lambos to get to your “Level 1″, the majority of your life will be based solely focused on YOU because youâ€™re so focused on getting that pleasure for you. Itâ€™s kind of waste in the grand scheme of things isnâ€™t it?
Can you imagine if Gandhi wanted to make a million dollars and have a beach house in Hawaii before he decided to do what he did?
Gandhi didnâ€™t have much at all, yet he was content.
And he was ambitious too.
Once youâ€™re content, let your motivational root for being ambitious be rooted in the service for others, of a higher mission, of a higher purpose, in essence, something bigger than just yourself and you will discover, like the other greats in history, the secret to being both ambitious and content.