Monday, February 28, 2011

The Right Kind of Ambition

There are different kinds of ambition, and some are more right than others. We are entitled to have ambition over what we accomplish—the lives we change, the things we bring about, the results of our actions. What we're not entitled to, though, is ambition over the means to achieving those ends. We're not entitled to covet certain posts or positions or prestige in order to effectuate those goals.

What I mean, in short, is that we are entitled to ambition over ends, not means. When we have ambition over the ends, then people come to our aid, and rally to support us. But when we think otherwise, when we treat positions and posts as ends in themselves, then we're thinking purely selfishly, and people will distance themselves from us for it. Being an important person or having an important role should be seen only as a liability to the things that you're yearning to do.

Limiting your ambition to the ends of your action is a freeing feeling. It means you're no longer worried about whether you get a certain position or not, whether you get promoted or not, whether it's even you who's the one that brings about the change that you want to see or not. At any given position, you can contribute what little or lot that you have to advancing the goals that you care about; and if the goal—and not your personal involvement in it—is what you truly care about, then you'll be happy with that.

1 comment:

  1. This post resonated with me, Kunal, with the last sentence in particular. That, I think, is key in trying to decide what to pursue given the vast number of opportunities available in college too. Also, I'm excited to see you're reading from Vivekananda- my dad has read a lot of his work and we used to spend a lot of time talking about philosophy from him and many other Indian scholars.

    ~ Ravi