Idle hands and the devil or something like that
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Let me start by informing you of one of my ambitions. It is one of my ambitions to maintain this blog. I am uncertain how well I will succeed at this, but nonetheless it is an ambition of mine. I have not written very much outside of academic writing in quite a while, and it is with the hope that I will begin writing again that I enter the blogosphere. I don't promise much from this blog; it will mainly be an outlet for my thoughts on the universe and the order of which may or may not exist.
So, what do I think of ambition? Well, I think it is necessary for, as Jay "Red" Hayes and Jack Rhodes put it, a satisfied mind. At its barest, it gives focus and purpose, in a world which can often feel purposeless. I have a career and have worked hard to arrive where I currently am, however, I have recently been drifting in life, living in a sort of limbo between my past life and my future life. While it can be fun and exciting to allow the waves (wind or whatever elemental force you want to think about) of the world take you where they may, I found that the randomness and undirected (sometimes self-destructive) actions led my mind to drift as well. Focus and sharpness of the mind were often hard to come by, which reinforced the undirected decision making and prolonged the drifting.
I don't wish to suggest that eliminating randomness is the goal. First, I believe that is an impossible endeavor. There is no escaping uncertainty in this world. Second, I would not want to. Along with the negative random events, there are just as often positive ones which can be a beautiful thing in life. Creating excitement, surprise and a sense of adventure in life. Predictability can be mundane. It is about striking a balance. Life is always moving, regardless of whether we are pushing it in a specific direction. The balance is about choosing a path, or ambition if you will, and then embracing the randomness along that path. Of course, you can make any adjustments or start down entirely new paths at will. That is, the path need not be fixed, and in fact, it will not be, since it is subject to shocks which may redirect it, no matter the actions you might take. Furthermore, holding on too tightly to a specific ambition, can be just as destructive, maybe more so, as not having one. My recent episode of drifting is a direct result of a significant change in my own path, and it took me quite a while to realize (and admit) that I was avoiding choosing a new path. The problem with avoiding that choice, and simply "enjoying the ride", is that life will eventually make a choice for you. Therefore, the importance of ambitions is not in their grandeur, but merely in their existence.
Having ambitions help us set goals, focuses our mind and energy on achieving those goals. They provide us with purpose and self-worth. They help us find ourselves. They keep us from endlessly drifting through life. My advice: choose a path, have ambitions. Change it as often or as little as you like, but don't let life, or someone else, choose your path for you. It is your choice to make, so embrace it (and try to enjoy it).