Do you ever feel like you’re stuck while the world around you keeps moving forward? Going to work becomes a dreaded routine, and your social network feels less than robust. Others seem to be fervently chasing their dreams, but you struggle to find the same level of enthusiasm. In the words of one Reddit user:
“I can’t seem to find a single thing I’m passionate about. My free time is spent on video games, Reddit, and YouTube, just to get through the day and repeat it all over again. I lack ambition because I can’t pinpoint what I truly desire. Money, an extravagant house, a partner, or even a high-profile job – none of these stir my interest.”
If this resonates with you, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in this state of mind. Whether you’re deeply troubled by it or simply indifferent, you might be asking yourself: Is it wrong to feel this way, and what can you do about it? Continue reading for some insights.
Society’s Obsession with “Follow Your Passion”
The notion of “following your passion” has been ingrained in our society. Mike Rowe, the host of the TV show Dirty Jobs, challenges this idea in a thought-provoking Ted Talk. He questions whether dedicating our lives to chasing elusive ambitions and divine missions is really necessary. According to Rowe:
“What if we challenged some of these revered ideas? ‘Follow your passion’ – is that advice truly beneficial? It might be the worst advice I’ve ever received.”
Rowe goes on to explain that you don’t need your dream job to lead a content life. In his experience, many people working in less glamorous occupations, such as animal castration, pig farming, or sewage work, are some of the happiest individuals he’s come across. Our culture often spotlights grand adventures and achievements, but in reality, daily contentment forms the foundation of a happy life.
Why Don’t I Naturally Possess Ambition Like Others?
Popular media and culture often describe your passions and dreams as hidden treasures, waiting to be unearthed within you. This isn’t entirely accurate. Only in the past half-century have people started obsessing over such notions. Before that, work was just work, and as long as you weren’t on the brink of death, you were considered successful. There’s a simplicity and core truth in this concept.
If you find contentment in a job that’s satisfactory but not exceptional, if you’re not a celebrated expert or champion in any field, there’s no need to feel guilty or that you’re falling short. That, in itself, is a form of success. Remember, your life’s value isn’t determined by the dollars you earn, the countries you visit, or the number of followers you accumulate. Focus on your well-being and inner peace, contribute positively to the world, and you’ve achieved something meaningful.
How Can I Cultivate Natural Ambition and Goals?
If you’re looking to nurture ambition when it doesn’t come naturally, there are several steps you can take:
1. Set Goals and Take Action
Becoming a motivated and ambitious individual often starts with setting goals and taking the first step. There’s no substitute for action. Remember that your habits shape who you become. To change, begin to act like the person you aspire to be. It may feel challenging at first, but it works.
Consider creating a structured schedule or a set of achievable goals to ignite your ambition. Utilizing goal-setting apps like Todo Cloud can help you organize your life and keep you on track. However, take measured steps, as overly ambitious goals can lead to frustration. Balance your to-do list effectively.
2. Build Relationships and Join a Community
Even if you’re an introvert, human interaction can be beneficial. Meeting people and sharing thoughts and ideas can open your eyes to new possibilities. Hearing others talk about their passions can be inspiring. Many welcoming communities and groups exist for you to join.
If you feel adrift and long for a sense of purpose, consider connecting with a community, such as a church or religious group. These communities often provide a supportive and friendly environment focused on finding happiness and meaning in life.
3. Overcome Fear of Failure and Rejection
Fear of appearing foolish, putting effort into something that may not immediately succeed, or feeling incapable are common barriers to ambition. Recognize that these fears are based on misconceptions:
- Everyone starts as a beginner, so accept that you’ll make mistakes at first.
- Viewing initial failures as part of the learning process is key to long-term success. Invest in building your skills and gaining experience.
4. Address Depression
Depression can significantly impact motivation and ambition. It can turn an otherwise average job into a miserable one and sap your willpower. If you’re experiencing depression, seek the help of a counselor or psychologist. If necessary, consider medication. Overcoming depression requires a steadfast commitment to healthy habits, including regular exercise, exposure to sunlight, and positive social interactions. These daily practices are essential for a happier and more ambitious life.
Escape the isolation of scrolling through your phone and hiding from the world. Seek help for depression, make friends, join a community, and witness how your natural ambition and motivation can return. A belief system can provide meaning in your suffering and encourage you to overcome it.