Is it better to “go with the flow” or to be ambitious?
“Going with the flow” has become a copout to real commitment in some cases. It can basically become hoping for the best. It can be a mindset of “whatever happens, happens” or “we’ll see what happens,” which is nice, but it can cause an aimlessness and a lack of motivation that leads to apathy.
What people expect to happen often defines what actually happens. Sometimes going with the flow is great. There are wonderful opportunities that come naturally, but more often it takes drive and dedication to find and pursue something, and see it through until it’s finished.
Ambition isn’t something to avoid. It can be an incredibly propelling force that enables people to achieve things they wouldn’t otherwise, and find passion during the process.
It’s a matter of having the right kind of ambition.
Healthy ambition is realizing what you are capable of, and discovering what is meaningful to you. It’s when you enjoy both the journey and the destination, and those around you throughout the whole process.
Blind ambition achieves the goal at the expense of the things and people that truly matter. It’s when the self becomes the center of everything — the ambition itself becomes the goal. It’s when reaching the destination is all that matters. It’s a selfish ambition that is never satisfied.
Ambition doesn’t always correlate with financial gain, fame or accolades. Ambition is subjective — it’s different for everyone. It may look like owning a business for some- one, and being a good parent for someone else. When someone discovers their personal ambition, they unlock a drive in their life that allows them to live fully — not just getting by, but finding fulfillment in pursuing what is most important.
A healthy ambition requires flexibility. Sometimes things go wrong, expectations aren’t always met and disappointments weigh heavy on the mind and heart. Holding things with open hands allows the individual to find their value in something beyond the dream or ambition. When things don’t turn out, the individual can keep moving forward with confidence.
A healthy ambition goes with the flow at times, but not aimlessly.
College students tend to go with the flow of life and see what happens. Many don’t know what they want to do after they graduate, let alone what they want to do for the upcoming semester. It’s understandable to not know what you want to do with your life, but don’t let that turn into an excuse to neglect working toward doing the things that you already know you want to do. Let yourself dream, find vision and take action. The only thing stopping you is yourself.
You are in charge of your own life, so take ownership of it. It’s good to dream, but it’s even better to take action toward achieving that dream. Opportunities are all around, but you have to make an effort to engage in them. Some things won’t happen without ambition.
The question is, how badly do you want it? If you want to do something, do it — and do it well. Dream big, but more importantly, dream genuinely. Finding the things that truly matter is way better than finding things that just sound good.
Be ambitious, but flexible, because there is time, but none to waste.
Andrew Brand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @theandrewbrand