The twenty-first century has embraced the very idea of ambition. According to RAE, this term refers to an intense desire to achieve something, especially power, wealth, dignity, or fame. When we make success the primary value in our life Ambition can be insane. We set ourselves unattainable goals, which means that we are always trying to achieve something that we will not achieve,” shares clinical psychologist Elena Dabra. On the contrary, aspiration is understood as a drive to achieve realistic goals and acceptance of one’s limitations, can improve life satisfaction.
One of the most common problems of frustration in society is precisely that goal oriented ambition hard to understand “In a connected society like Western society, especially through social networks, individual accomplishments are not limited to the private sphere. They are shared and help create a sense of status, as in the case of someone who “succeeds” in a business and starts spending the summer in paradise or buying cars These things can ultimately be desired by someone who is not in a position to achieve such accomplishments, explains Jorge Blanco, a sociologist and researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid.
The “If You Want You Can” Trap
This statement is not an axiom, because it is conditioned by some factors
According to the teacher, this situation incorporates a variable out of reach. “We don’t rely exclusively on personal goals we can set for ourselves, but rather are exposed to the benefits of others, which can be unattainable and generate frustration,” he adds.
The supposed empowerment idea spread that if you want something, you can have it. But this saying is not an axiom, because it is conditioned by some factors. From a social perspective, the spread of this motivational phrase constitutes a trap or false hope. This rhetoric is still an elite strategy towards the majority of people who are not in the same position. In this way they continue a way of life and a way of working that makes them believe that they can catch up to their level, by consuming goods and labour. But, although we know that social mobility exists, the top of the social ladder is captured and held for a few,” explains Blanco.
If the goals are not realistic, you have to face rejection. There is an acceptance of the limitations of the individual as a human being
One of the biggest problems with ambition lies in what really counts as success. Dabra reveals, “When my primary value as a human being is success associated with power and the attainment of material things, that’s insanity.” The psychologist points out that in this moment we can find ourselves with frustration and tolerance with frustration …
“You can, but as long as you set yourself realistic and measurable goals, with meaning and logic. We fail at the unrealistic. If the goals are not realistic, you have to face rejection. Then comes the acceptance of one’s own limitations as a human being,” explains Dabra.
Ambitious or average?
We base ourselves on ambition and treat others as mediocre: standards are entirely subjective
Society experiences polarizing discourses in its public expressions, while what abounds is the gray scale between black and white. “Where is the population really, in all that environment. People aren’t usually mediocre, and they don’t become president of the United States. What happens is we don’t like to see or know, and fortunately, we set ourselves up for ambition and treat others as mediocre. Standards are subjective. Absolutely,” explains Dabra.
However, there are more and more areas that are measured in qualitative measures of value rather than quantitative measures, more related to the concept of success revealed earlier. “I would say that, except in very specific cases, specifically nowadays, diversity and the possibilities of each one are evaluated according to their own portfolio of capital. The school is moving towards a model in which not all students are separated from the same pattern, where selection processes are directed companies toward the potential of their employees rather than their current capabilities,…”, suggests Blanco.
How do we channel ambition towards something positive?
Ambition can be considered healthy when goals are proposed based on SMART criteria: specific, achievable, measurable, and temporary. But this kind of work requires self-awareness of capabilities and limitations. “Ambition helps take risks, to be brave, but it also has to be controlled and self-regulating,” Dabra says. According to the psychologist, the problem arises when it is directed towards the most material part.
“If we set the goal, the spiritual… the balance is lost and it works in an unhealthy way,” he adds. Its good use will also be related to giving one’s best in terms of personal potential. “We can talk about something like ‘the well-being of the commons’, a point of equilibrium where ambition does not go beyond a state of sustainable happiness given the basic criteria of well-being: money to make ends meet, enjoyment of family time, able to enjoy holidays, …”, Blanco points out. .
Indeed, in this scenario, excessive ambition tends to be punishable. the reason? “It is understood that it takes a person out of a sense of well-being. For example, a person who does not see their children, does not spend time with them because they work ceaselessly to get a promotion. The fair point of aspiration in performance can be determined on the basis of personal possibilities, maintaining a balance with reasons for true well-being. , beyond mere consumption,” concludes the sociologist.