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By Bianca Castro
I’ll tell you how I feel right now.
Buried under a humongous pile of nothing. Lost in a game I’m not part of.
It’s an eternal struggle to be overambitious. Why? Because I want to go places, all of these places, in fact. The fire in my belly inspires me to see the entire world altogether, but east and west are opposing directions.
We’re taught that ambition is the ultimate good. In this world, unless you’re everything, you’re nothing. You start to feel like one body isn’t enough. You have to choose which way to go, and you can very well spend years on end working toward one direction, only to find you didn’t come out on top. Only to find that it wasn’t the “right way.” Only to not be a success.
No wonder we’re so indecisive, scared. No wonder we trail back to grad degrees we can’t pay for and often, don’t need. No wonder we think we’re too feeble for our dreams, or find ourselves to be intensely imperfect.
The truth is that when it comes to career success, the elevator is nothing but the time machine of real life. It’s nothing but a fragment of our imagination, a piece of our “if only I had that” fantasies. Nothing could ever bring me from ground floor to the 61st floor of my career in merely half a minute. I have to painstakingly climb in order to get to the top.
It’s overpowering to be too ambitious because nothing feels too high, nothing is too hard. My mindset makes it seem like everything is within my reach and anything is attainable. Until it actually is not. Frustration will always find its way to destroy the dreamer that I am.
Being overambitious makes me feel insecure. The tendency is to surround myself with both big and small-time successful people in hopes of getting a grasp of career walk-through’s and making them my ally towards success. While that remains true up to now, sometimes when things get crazy, hearing their success stories — even the littlest one (e.g. Reaching 2000 Twitter followers) — can become too overwhelming. For my insecurities, at least.
Questions start fogging up my mind. They were able to do it, why the hell can’t I? What is the part in me that still is inapt, still is not enough? Why is it that the more I try, the more I feel frustrated in life? I feel like an elastic band, stretched to its maximum capacity until it all of a sudden snaps.
Just like seasons, it changes. It gets better. It gets clearer. Everything starts looking clear once again. To put it simply, I’m being stupid for making all the comparisons that, if you try to look at from a distance, don’t make sense at all. I’m comparing my Prologue to their Chapter 4. And in fact, who am I kidding? I haven’t even given it my best shot yet.
Being overly ambitious sometimes feels like I’m running a marathon that has no finish line. Such fact is absurd on its own, but what’s more absurd is the notion that I don’t even seek for the finish line. I only have a strong belief that if I follow all these directions, I’d reach the finish line. Because that’s what I’m told so.
But the best thing to do now is, when nothing goes the direction you want it to, swerve away from that road even if it initially felt like the rightest direction. Stake the uncertain glory for the challenging unknown, because after all, the life well lived is based on the count of one’s experiences — the good, bad and ugly alike.
Perhaps if our ambition was to be as grounded, as peaceful, as happy, as kind, as thoughtful, as aware as possible, we’d live different lives. Perhaps whatever path we choose – that is the lesson we learn. Maybe the destination is always the same, but we each have our own path to get there.