Curb Your Ambition

We are encouraged throughout our academic lives to strive to be the best; don’t settle for average. When looking at your career options, either when you are starting out or advancing to the next stage, assess your situation. Look at your skills, your interests, and the reality of your situation. Having great debate skills and an aptitude for science does not warrant that you are capable of being both a doctor and a lawyer.

It’s a great thing to be ambitious, but it’s better to stay somewhat tethered to reality. Be realistic. Know your situation and your skills. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Having varied interests and multiple streams of income is great, but that doesn’t mean much if you are overworked.

It is easy to stay focused if you are constantly motivated and inspired to do what you are passionate about. That fire and passion can easily be exhausted if you don’t feel “up” to it. Motivation comes from within. If you want to keep the will to do something, then do something that reignites your passion and interest. When things get too challenging or hectic, it’s easy to quit and move on to another project–or forget about it altogether. What you end up with is a plethora of unfinished projects and that’s enough to kill your motivation.

Getting comfortable is one of the worst things you can do for your professional self. Putting yourself under pressure and to always keep striving to improve yourself will keep you engaged in what you do. This is also a push to get you better at what you do. People tend to enjoy things that they have some proficiency in.

It’s hard to meet your destination, especially if you don’t know where you are going. Plan ahead. What do you want to achieve? How would you go about that? It is also important to remember that nothing is set in stone; plans can change. As we grow and become more in tune with what we actually want, we can make more informed decisions on what our goals are – even if they seem ever-shifting.

When accessing yourself, be honest – brutally and completely honest. Get acquainted with your shortcomings and seek to improve them. Know your strengths and use that to your advantage. This sounds like obvious advice, but it is tried and true. Look at the reality of your situation. Yes, you are passionate about something, but is there a market for it? If not, can you create a market for it? Are you willing to do what it takes to create that? It is not easy, nor is it impossible. Life takes a great deal of sacrifice and ingenuity.