Ambition aways seems to be a problem for me. After having found a thousand tiny cuts to kill my inert lack of ambition, I’m now learning how to deal with over-abundance and it seems to revolve around these five things:
- Ride the wave. When you feel like your teeth are sharp enough to rip through steel, then keep on chewing. Energy is not infinite, use it while you have it. Be superhuman for as long as you possibly can. Fueled solely by inspiration, this is the momentum before the work. This is the downhill before the uphill return. This is how we crack mountains before we spend years shoveling. Grab on to your board and ride the fucker in.
- Check your muscles. It’s important to always push yourself and to challenge yourself. Never avoid something because it seems difficult & be aware of when you’re skipping something due to laziness. But, like when doing push-ups, every muscle has it’s limits. Know your true limitations and only push yourself slightly beyond them. If you push too hard you’ll blow out your bi-cep or burn out your brain. This will cause you to lose lots of precious time and it’s simply not worth the incremental progress you achieved one day when you could have stopped slightly short.
- Don’t get cocky. Creating is about generosity. It’s easy to feel justifiably frustrated at people’s apathy to achievement but remember that you’re doing this for love and passion and not for validation and acceptance. Stop thinking that you deserve the attention because the wage of work is not recognition, the wage of work is progress. Stop thinking that you’re any different than all the other leaves floating past a person in the river of daily information. Sometimes the blog or drawing that you’re really proud of only gets 15 likes, or 5, or none; that shouldn’t negate your pride. Find happiness in continually amazing yourself because this whole thing is about achievement not popularity. Learn to self regulate.
- Seek honesty. Of course you want to seek honesty from other people but remember you won’t always hear what you want to hear and sometimes you won’t hear things that make sense. 1/3 of people will love you, 1/3 of people will hate you and 1/3 won’t give a shit. That fraction remains, regardless of what you do or how hard you work. I did a survey in my newsletter this last week and I learned that what one person hates another person loves, almost exactly one for one. I also learned that apathy seems to be slightly more than 1/3. So the most important honesty to find is within yourself. You know what’s good and you know what could be improved; you know when you’re being lazy and when you’re working too hard. Keep in touch with that side of yourself and never let one side lie to the other.
- Leave room for cream. Your life should be filled to 90%, the remaining 10% is for growth. Work, exercise, your blog, and whatever else is part of your daily routine should fill the majority of the cup but it shouldn’t fill it to the brim until you reach a level that you are happy at (and I don’t know that I believe there is such a level—the horizon of happiness is forever receding. Learn to enjoy the walk.) If you don’t leave room in your life for progress then you will find that you have no place from which to jump to the next level. And besides, without room, everything gets stuffy and confined; your red eyes burn with static bolts than encroach upon your mental capacity and leave your ambition and passion shriveled in the corner like a cowering dog. Without space, we feel the cold metal bars press against our chest and life becomes hopeless again.
For the record: I suck at all of these; every single one of them. It’s what I’m working on now.