Friday, 8 October 2010

Ambition is a dangerous game.

Living in a house-share for the first time has had a fairly massive impact on my life. For the first time I'm truly exposed to the frolics and foibles of other people, without the option of just saying "jog on" and letting it go. While for the most part who does and doesn't leave pills on the table, and who never turns on the extractor fan is fairly mundane, there are some things which have led me to re-examine my own standing in life.
So we have P. She is a pretty, athletic, intelligent, 19 year old girl. Basically the average student, right?
She is also an obsessive CV booster. For P, to do the work to guarantee her an Honours degree is not enough, she joins enterprise schemes, sports teams, volunteers, dances, attends meetings, rallies, works a counselling hotline for rape victims.... you get the idea. Sleep and nourishment fit round the edges.

Now personally, I have always considered myself a pretty well rounded human, I have interests, I'm competitive, I'd even call myself ambitious. But when I look at myself next to P, I'm a regular layabout.

At what point does ambition become all consuming? Ambition, for ambition's sake seems so meaningless. I want to be successful in order that I can afford a good lifestyle, this in turn will make me happy. But if my quest for success costs me happiness along the way, and all I can do is moan about having two meetings at 8 o'clock, does the means justify the end? Seems to me this is how we end up with 28 year old burned out, divorced executives, who sold out their youth for their future, only to get to the top and realised that they've dropped what they needed on the way.

I need to figure out how ruthless/self-serving I can afford to be, and without hindsight, it's a pretty tough call.

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