Balancing Ambition and Life

Balancing Ambition and Life

Hi there! As we wrap up August, I can’t help but notice how quickly time has passed. It feels like just yesterday when it was January, but here we are, almost at the end of another month. This last week of August marks the conclusion of the eighth month of the year, bringing us closer to the final quarter of 2023. I would like to talk about ambition and balance this week. It’s an interesting topic that I believe holds importance in our lives but first…

Weekly Inventory Check

We are almost in the last week of August so this seems like the ideal moment for a quick routine check of your monthly assessment. Have you accomplished what you aimed for in August? Consider securing some quick victories in the upcoming days to attribute them to this month. If your to-do list has more unfinished tasks than the finished ones, you need to take a moment and figure out what the problem was and fix it so that your list of accomplished tasks can supersede.

Balancing Ambition and Life

This theme has been on my mind, partially due to becoming a father and also because of a podcast episode I listened to. The podcast featured a woman who left her high-paying job on Wall Street due to burnout. Her story highlighted the danger of being so immersed in work that we lose sight of our own well-being.

She would boast about her accomplishments whenever someone asked how she was doing. She would be like, I closed a 6-billion-dollar deal and the I hold x amount of net worth in my company, etc. But her mother saw through the façade and questioned how she was truly feeling – not about the work she was doing but actually about her well-being. This got her to realize that she was running on empty, chasing after achievements without taking care of herself. The pursuit of success can be endless; more money often doesn’t lead to more happiness, especially beyond a certain point. Based on scientific findings, it’s been determined that for regions like the US and Europe, once your income reaches around $70,000 or higher, the impact of money on your overall life significantly diminishes, transitioning mainly into the realm of luxuries. Prior to that point, certainly, your level of happiness is influenced by your earnings. However, beyond that threshold, the increase in income provides least amount of additional happiness. This emphasizes on the importance of reconsidering our life’s priorities once we achieve this particular income milestone.

This lesson hit home for me. As a new father, I’m confronted with the need to reprioritize my life. It’s not just about money; it’s about finding a balance between my ambitions and the things that truly matter, like spending time with my daughter and wife. Admittedly, I struggle with patience and the desire to constantly be productive. I’ve cultivated moments of stillness through meditation and having offline hours in mornings and evenings, but outside of that, I find myself wanting to take on numerous projects. I am already doing a full-time job, training on the side and also working on a project – currently I am running a podcast series but also aim to start a YouTube gaming project. My wife rightly questions how much I can realistically handle. It’s about understanding that taking on too much can mean missing out on what’s truly important.

This brings us to the concept of prioritisation. It’s a skill I’m working on, as it’s crucial to avoid trading precious moments with loved ones for superficial achievements. Here’s a plan to consider, we’re thinking about using “seasonal plans” or “seasonal projects.” Instead of handling many tasks all at once (which can be tough with a full-time job), you can pick one project at a time. Complete it and then move on to the next one. That’s my approach for the projects I have got lined up. My aim is to focus on each project, making it self-sufficient so it keeps going without my constant attention. I would not necessarily close a project, instead, I’ll work on it until it can run on its own, making money or achieving its goals. Then, I can get others to help run it, reducing my effort. This way, I can clear up mental space for other things. This strategy seems like a good way to manage things effectively.

In conclusion, I believe finding equilibrium between ambition and the meaningful aspects of life is a perpetual journey. As we navigate our goals and pursuits, it’s vital to periodically assess our progress, acknowledge our limitations, and make deliberate choices that align with our true priorities. By valuing the present, fostering patience, and channeling our efforts into projects that genuinely resonate, we can create a life that harmonizes aspiration with fulfilment.

Want More?

This article describes 5 reasons choosing family over work is a decision that deserves respect and why you’re NOT unambitious if this is the road you choose to walk.

This article explains that some amount of ambition is good for your motivation. Without any ambition, you wouldn’t start your own business, set or achieve goals and get very far in life. But an excess of ambition can also be dangerous, putting you at risk of burnout, stubbornness and even a shorter life.

This article is about a woman who prioritises her career over family for eight years and felt that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to feel like we are failing at home when that happens.

Read of the Week

While working over prioritizing my life over work and ambition I came across this book All the Gold Stars: Reimagining Ambition and the Ways We Strive. This book looks at how the cultural, personal, and societal expectations around ambition are driving the burnout epidemic by funneling our worth into productivity, limiting our imaginations, and pushing us further apart. Through the devastating personal narrative of her own ambition crisis, Stauffer discovers the common factors driving us all, peeling back layers of family expectations, capitalism, and self-esteem that dangerously tie up our worth in our output.

Thoughts to leave you with

In essence, the key is to acknowledge our humanity and the limitations of time. Life isn’t infinite, and we can’t always assume there will be more time later. By choosing to build our lives intentionally, we can ensure that our decisions align with our true priorities. Let’s strive to find that balance between ambition and what truly matters, cherishing the present while working towards a meaningful future.

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