One of my most painful memories from high school was having to study Shakespearean literature. Seriously, I just didn’t get it! Nevertheless, being one of those things that I had to get through, I devised useful study techniques and methodologies which I knew would guarantee me the marks I so dearly desired. One of those techniques, particularly in the context of Shakespearean plays, was byhearting character traits of the various characters in the play. Macbeth — our grade 11 set work — saw me studying no differently and till today, I can regurgitate all 11 of Macbeth’s character traits. 8 years later, however, one of those traits stands out strongly for me: Vaulting Ambition.
#TheHustle #TheGrind #GrowthMindSet #Success #Money #Power #Business. Look familiar? Perhaps you’ve made a few social media posts using these or similar hashtags, or perhaps you (like me) subconsciously have had these hashtags consume your mind’s feed. Let me relate a personal experience…
I started out my career 2 years ago. Like most young people my age, #CareerGrowth was my priority. I was ambitious! Learning a lot quickly and doing my best to impress, I gained a lot of satisfaction from the validation received by seniors, coworkers, friends and family. I grew significantly in confidence and my ambitions, naturally, grew too. And so I took on bigger challenges by myself. Very soon, I found myself in some very challenging, frustrating, and annoying situations, dealing with difficult people and doing work I just didn’t want to do. Without realising it, I began labelling these difficult people as incompetent and openly vented about them to others. As the problems persisted, my resilience and perseverance fell. I then decided “That’s it, time to get out of here”. Enticed by all of the potential #Growth opportunities in the market, I polished my CV and began interviewing. After every interview, I spent some time reflecting on what went well and what didn’t. With each reflection a realisation gradually dawned on me: in every interview I was able to answer questions by narrating situations in which I had human interactions and experiences. Technical experience and skills accounted for arguably less than 50% of my answers to questions. This hit me hard!
Thinking back to all of the difficult people and situations I’ve had to deal with over the past few months, what I perceived as threats to my #Growth, #Career and #Success, were actually the most significant positivecontributors to my #Growth, #Career and #Success. And so this got me thinking even further, perhaps we’re incorrectly measuring #Growth in a professional context? Perhaps professional #Growth, just like personal #Growth, should be measured by the number of enriching human experiences you’ve had?
Finally, tying this back to Macbeth and his Vaulting Ambition! I truly believe that having ambition is absolutely important and necessary (regardless of age) as it promotes a healthier mind. Ambition, however, can very easily become excessive and misdirected to the point of you rationalising decisions which inevitably end up hurting you and others. What scares me is that excessive and misdirected ambition can distract you from rich human experiences. And at the end of the day, we’re humans living human lives, having human experiences.
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