As we go through life, it’s natural that we take on goals and aspirations. To the degree that these give our lives direction they are positive. Happiness, however, comes as a result of being present in the moment, and enjoying what we have. The modern world places too much emphasis on ambition, and too little on being grateful for the abundance of life and love that is always around us.
Relationships are one of the most important elements of living a happy life. To form positive relationships it’s essential that we know how to be compassionate towards other people. We need to know how to help others, how to listen, and how to be present.
If our ambition motivates us to spend too much time on our own projects, we run the risk of endangering our relationships. Consider the parent who spends all their time at work, or the lover who is too distracted to be truly present with their partner.
Through ambition we find ourselves living constantly in the future, dreaming of achieving our goal, or in the past, condemning ourselves for our mistakes. Learning to let go of attachment to your ambitions means living more free from stress. Paradoxically, this relaxed approach to life gives us greater efficiency and a higher chance of success.
The opposite of ambition is detachment. In eastern philosophy detachment is taught as a path to inner peace. Learning detachment starts with meditation. When we meditate we teach ourselves to be present to the moment.
Next we should be aware of the influences on our way of thinking. Parental or peer pressure can bring about ambition, as can what we watch on television or read in newspapers. Over-ambition is often the result of jealousy. When we are jealous of the possessions or status of others we become more ambitious. To return to happiness we should learn that happiness comes from within, and recognize that another person’s possessions or status give them little more access to happiness than we already have.
Finally, letting go of ambition means learning to be happy being normal. By accepting ourselves as normal, fallible human beings we can begin to recognize all the wonderful things that we share with our fellow man, we can learn to be content with what we have, and we can use that contentment to create fulfilling, sustainable relationships with our peers and loved ones. Happiness is the result
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A book I wrote…
Jack Kerouac"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."