In a 1922 study to understand how ambition shapes our lives, University of Notre Dame’s professor, Timothy Judge examined data that tracked the life of 717 people for 70 years; a period during which the world lived through a World War, put a man on the moon, saw the rise of empires – and the invention of the internet. The study marked participants as less or more ambitious. Not surprisingly, the ambitious ones went on to achieve greater success, which gave rise to the popular belief that ‘a person’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions’.
This however over-looked a vital fact that a person’s worth does not equal his or her wellbeing. For the ambitious ones reading this article, (you know who you are), do you set another goal to pursue, just as you score or ‘get one in’? Do you continue to raise the bar for what you want or need? Be wary of the downside to being ambitious is a constant sense of dissatisfaction with our achievements. Since we are yet to find the one thing that will permanently quench the ambitious minded person’s thirst, perhaps it’s time we shift the conversation from the pursuit of happiness into the happiness of the pursuit?
In 2018, go on a quest to find meaning in your pursuits, enjoy the journey towards your goals, and know that happiness is the by-product of the process.
(Adapted from source: The Little Book of Lykke, by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen).