23 February 2019

Ambition


Maggie May - Ambition

Ambition is the drive we have to achieve our goals; the determination to see our dreams fulfilled; the ability to think beyond the present and into the future.

Ambitions are what give us our purpose and plans in life - for example, if we want to buy a house or have a baby, we need some money to do that, and therefore probably need to find a job.

If we describe someone as ‘ambitious’, it can have several connotations. Yes, we may mean enthusiastic and committed, maybe someone to aspire to. But it may conversely mean someone who is so driven that they don’t really care about the consequences of their mission. Or they may have their head in the clouds with an ‘ambitious plan’. Or they may be extremely pushy or forceful with their beliefs.

It’s difficult to decide whether being ambitious is a positive thing or not.

When I was younger, I was always thinking of entrepreneurial ideas. Some of them were truly awful, I’ll be honest! But I was forever daydreaming about ways in which I could become successful {whilst making lots of money, ideally}.

I made a magazine {I think lots of us did that when we were younger?} but I didn’t just stop at one issue. I wrote dozens, all with different features. I loved being writer, designer, printer and editor all in one.

In my early teens, I realised that my massive collection of books could potentially make me a penny or two. I started up a ‘book hire’, charging 50p upwards to borrow books. The difference to borrowing them from a library was that I would deliver them to the recipient, and there was no time limit as to when they had to return the book. I had an email newsletter and website, and although it made me pretty much no money whatsoever, I was proud of what I’d created.

But it wasn’t long before cruel jibes from fellow teenagers reached my ears. The comment of one, actually published in a bulletin which was disseminated around the school, was that I was “extremely busy dealing with my roaringly successful book hire business.”

Nevertheless, I carried on with other ideas. I started selling Avon in my teens. I started up a ‘business’ selling handmade pictures, art and frames. Then an online sweet shop. Then finally, this blog.

I’ve been teased. I’ve been laughed at. The words in the school bulletin stung, and I haven’t forgotten them, over a decade later. When certain ventures failed, there were knowing looks {even pity?!} from older adults. It felt like they were unsurprised, and that they saw a youthful naivety to my actions. And they’re right, there undoubtedly would have been. But does that mean it’s OK to chip away at someone’s enthusiasm? If we find an individual who has ambition, and can’t wait to work hard to see their plans come to fruition, who are WE to put a stop to that, to make them feel foolish or stupid for having a go? 

Maggie May - Ambition

This is a bit of a confessional. I have lost count of the times in my life when, as a quieter individual in a room full of people, it is therefore assumed that because I’m not the life and soul of the meeting, I haven’t got any new or fresh ideas that I might want to offer.

Ambition and confidence do not walk hand in hand, contrary to popular belief. You can have ambition without shouting about it from the rooftops. You can quietly but conscientiously work away at your goals without others even knowing about it. The stereotypical view of an ambitious individual being loud, difficult and pushy is wrong. You can have tonnes of ambition inside, whilst to the world you’re not the most confident of individuals - not the first to speak in a meeting, raise your hand or declare your views.

When things haven’t been - what was the phrase, ‘roaringly successful’? - in my life, at times there’s hardly a pause before the knowing looks and disdainful comments begin, extinguishing any hopeful flame that was still burning. We all have ambitions, and everyone will have an ambition that you couldn’t even imagine or guess. Whatever you do, don’t stamp on it. Respect it, and do whatever you can to help that person get what they’re hoping for. Without ambition, we have nowhere to go. And if you have ambitions, be proud of them and what they make you. Don’t let people tell you otherwise.

Images from Over.

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