So, a friend and I spent this morning chatting over a cup of joe at our local café. We covered several topics, with the most interesting one being the place of ambition in our lives. He came from the perspective of a businessman faced with tapping his artistic side during the early days of retirement. And I shared my thoughts as a creative working to make a living in a challenging marketplace while enjoying the process of making art.
And we agreed that it takes both art and commerce to craft a life. As for the ambition part, I am not as ambitious as my friend nor very ambitious in general, and I am learning that is okay. My wife is not the ambitious type either but we content ourselves with the knowledge that we share an amazing life together that most people only dream about. If life were to end today, I feel that it has been an awesome experience and one with few regrets.
In my experience, ambition is overrated. Most of the ambitious people I have known tend to mistreat other people in the pursuit of their own agenda. I am not saying that has to be the case but it often is. And I truly don’t know of anyone I would trade places with as far as overall lifestyle goes. For life to become meaningful for each of us, it must suit our particular sensibilities, not those of others. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa.
I like what Louisa Thomsen Brits writes in The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection: “A person who simply lives up to their own standards and appears at ease in their environment, who seems to eschew jostling for a place in social hierarchy and competitive behavior, is described as able to…rest in oneself, be comfortable in one’s own skin. It is a quality that suggests an inner stability of identity that is not dependent on attention or status.” And you?