Can Contentment and Ambition Co-Exist?

In the modern world, we are more likely to encounter people who are always busy and on-the-go, than those without much to do and content. However, there is a paradox that exists in our society, because as much as we all want to be ambitious, “successful” and make money, we also WISH we could slow down. Well, can we? It is possible to be content and ambitious at the same time?

Let us first consider the root of our “busy,” problem. The root of this problem is our incessant search for fulfillment. We are running away from insecurities by keeping ourselves busy, motivated to get a promotion or make more money. But, what if we had found fulfillment without having to do all of this running around? Would we then be considered unambitious, unmotivated and lazy? To some, perhaps.

Contentment is the other end of the spectrum, where one might find themselves totally at peace with where they are and feeling like they have everything they could ever want in this moment without promotion, monetary bonus or achievement of a higher status.

Unfortunately, we will continue to battle this paradoxical wanting to have ambition yet be content, but we most definitely can find a common ground if we choose to. I believe the sweet spot between the two is detachment.

In being content with where you are and what you have in the moment, it already sets you up to solve for the challenge of ambition. With being content, ambition acts as a hobby or sport in our already fulfilling lives. When we think of it as a sport we can relate to the want for friendly competition, accomplishment and play but we do not take it so seriously. You know that winning in that game of pickup basketball with a friend will not add lasting fulfillment your life (hopefully for most of us), but it is a fun addition to the day.

Similarly, living life with contentment allows for us to find pleasures in the small things, remain humble in great accomplishments and most important, and always remain grateful for where we are whether our ambitions grows or diminishes.

To answer the initial question whether contentment and ambition can co-exist, I would argue, yes, but in order for this to be achieved, it is important for our mindset to remain in contentment and pursue our ambitions with a detached approach to its role in the fulfillment in our lives.

Today, take a moment from the “busy” day to appreciate all you have. And, isn’t it enough? It’s beautiful! 🙂

The Choice to be Free

I hear the sound of my heart bumping through my ears at the same pace as I feel it pulsate against the balls of my feet.

I stand there, still, free from judgment of myself as I know no one is watching.

“I am beautiful. I am smart. I am bold. I am loving. I am kind. I am caring,”

Mantras I repeat to myself as I am erectly planted with my stems to the ground.

I sway as if in a slight wind, as I feel my body shift weight to one side of my body to the other.

I love being here.

A feeling of calm engrosses me with the exhale of every breath.

If I can stand here alone free from judgment, why can’t I stand in a populated area all the same?

Why am I timid to speak up in a group but have the gusto for constant debates with myself?

Why can I dance alone in an empty yoga room but I am frozen in the presence of others?

Why?

To be free from judgment of ourselves is to be free.

To be accepting of ourselves—insecurities, thoughts, and fears—is to be free.

Do I wish to live a life of freedom and wander, or would I rather be bound by my own mind, shackled in a room which has been hoarded with insecurities, thoughts and fears blocking the door out.

What is the choice?

 

What Do You Want To Be Remembered For?

This morning’s Daily Stoic passage had been titled, “What’s Written on Your Tombstone?” but as a more light-hearted twist, I pose the comparable question, “What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?”

The idea of this question is really to recognize what motivates you in life and what kind of accomplishments are important to you. Do we want to be remembered by having the biggest house on the block? Working the longest hours? Wearing the nicest clothes? All accomplishments as a result of what we have done in life. Or, would we rather be remembered for being the sweetest person in class? Being the most positive person at work? Being the most giving and thoughtful individual in the family? Obviously there are no judges or commemorative plaques to deem you as such, no tangible items to show for it, but this is a reflection of who you are as a being.

The one quote in the passage, which had most summarized this thought is, “We are human beings, not human doings.”

The passage makes me think of a story about a man who made millions of dollars working long hours, but as a result, rarely saw his family and knew little about his son. Though, he had all of life’s glamour.

At the end of his life, this man was recognized for all of the accomplishments that had granted him this wealth. However, his son had no clear memory of who he was. He knew his father had provided for him, given him new clothes and purchased a car for him, but had always been this sort of fiction character in his life. He was grateful for all of the things he did for him, but wished he knew him better.

Written on his father’s tombstone had been “#1 Stock Trader,” for all of his colleagues, associates and friends knew this was his drive in life and spoke of little else.

This passage was quite powerful since it has us question our own life aspirations, why we are doing it and who are we being in the process. Some care more about money and fame than they do the way they treat or care for others. So, money and fame is what they will be remembered for. Ironically, that does not sound like a glamorous remembrance to me.

Upon reflecting on what I would want to be remembered for, I would want to be remembered for being a source of peace and inspiration for everyone who surrounds me. I do have grand career aspirations but my drive is to assist in this mission to be a source of peace and inspiration to my family, friends, co-workers, future family, etc. So, even more important than this doing ambition itself, if all else fails career-wise, simply continuing being a source of peace and inspiration to others is all I would ever want to be remembered for.

So now I ask ya, what do YOU want to be remembered for?