Ambition And Thankfulness
I'm a pretty ambitious person. I set lofty goals for business, push myself, and expect more from people than they often expect of themselves. My ambition is a strength because it drives me beyond what I am otherwise capable—it can also be a weakness.
When a desire for success, accolades, or wealth goes too far it becomes an all consuming idol. One that promises much and yields small amounts of what's expected. This is why you'll often hear athletes who win a championship speak of how it doesn't feel like they thought it would feel to win it. Ambition can become a monster that doesn't allow you to know when you've got it good. It will keep you thirsting for more, always longing for the next goal to be achieved, only to want another.
I used to fall into this trap often. I wanted to be more valued at my job, have more power, a larger following, greater influence, and make more money. While none of those things are bad in and of themselves I was never satisfied with what I achieved.
I would get what I wanted in small incremental spurts that led to further dissatisfaction rather than an enduring since of accomplishment. I became increasingly frustrated at my situation in the midst of gaining a lot of ground on my goals. Unfortunately this brought me to several bouts of depression while I attempted to put the monster back in the closet.
It was in the midst of one of these seasons that I found the remedy. It didn't kill my ambition (I don't think that would be healthy even if I could do that) it just kept it in the right place.
Thankfulness was the water to my depressed, frustrated, and crooked soul.
I started to pray little prayers of thankfulness—that were actually earth shatteringly enormous prayers of thankfulness. I have a wife who loves me, the sweetest baby girl in the world, a great condo, 2 cars that run, 2 big lovable dogs, family that lives close and loves us, an iPhone, and the list went on for miles. I began to pray like this day after day. It was brief shotgun conversations with God that watered the barren land of my soul, and brought about an everlasting green Spring.
Do I have everything I want? No, of course I don't. There are few people who do. Thankfulness made me content with what I do have though. It helps me celebrate (in very fun and beautiful ways) the life giving victories I do achieve.
My ambition is a good thing. It drives me forward, brings out the best in others, and takes me where I want to go. Thankfulness waters my soul so that when I get where I want to go I'm still the person I want to be.
I've come to see that I already have everything that matters most. Everything else is just window dressing. So I thank God for giving me what matters most, never forsaking those blessings. I also plan on making my windows the envy of the neighborhood.