Being Ambitious Is A Myth

Minh-Phuc Tran on Dec 23, 2020

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For the whole past of my life, I had always thought that being successful and being cool is what "being ambitious" means to be. I always wanted to be respected by friends, college friends, highschool friends, relatives, and everyone, as many people as possible - I thought that is ambition. Now, I see that is bullshit. I'm saying this to myself and I hope you aren't in the same situation, but if you are, you know you aren't alone.

So, why is that bullshit?

There is nothing bad about aspiring to be successful, the bad thing is the definition of it. For me and most people starting up, I believe, it is to have a lot of money and to be respectable. It sounded perfectly normal until recently I watched Gary Vee's video and went through a couple of other ideas including Naval's famous tweet. I wanted to be like the people I admired, I wanted to have the money and the status they have - what I had always defined as "being successful". The problem is I skipped the process in between, the even more serious problem is I wanted to skip that process, I only wanted the result. Whereas, for Gary Vee and Naval, they enjoyed the process, their definition of ambition is the romantics of the process, they wanted to create as many assets and value as possible, money and status are by-products. They were successful when they said nothing about their success, whereas I wanted to be successful to be able to talk about myself, I wrote blog posts to get people's attention, I tried to start a company to say "I'm a CEO of this successful company". I wanted to be an asshole. Now you see how it's all bullshit?

I'm still not 100% sure that I understand being ambitious correctly now, but from now on, being ambitious for me is to believe in something good for people and the world, go do it, make it happen, and enjoy the process of doing it. The more value I want to create, the more people I want to help, the bigger my ambition is, there is nothing about me having more money and higher status, me is just another by-product of what I enjoy doing everyday.

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