Between Ambition and Happiness

I once told a friend that becoming the CEO of MTN wasn’t my ambition. We were discussing the future, careers, money, comfort.

I probably didn’t (and still don’t) fully understand the implication of that statement.

I came across as an unambitious fellow content with his poverty while my mates, and juniors, plunged into work and hustling to make money enough for the good things of life.

Something’s probably wrong with me.

In hindsight, I believe she began to reconsider her options right then.

Some of us are taciturn, dreamers of a world of ease, slackers and parasites feeding off the hard work of the brave humans who stretch and reach out for more, every time.

I must not, cannot justify anything I have done or left undone, I’m just saying it as it is. Well, since we always find some defence for how we choose to live, here’s one I found and filed:

Bill Watterson, the cartoonist and creator of Calvin and Hobbes, on the difference between ambition and happiness:

“…having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

Source: Some Thoughts on the Real World from One Who Glimpsed it and Fled
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