Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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The Corner at Ambition and Happiness

Someone posted on Facebook something about always wanting more. NEEDING more. Always striving for more. The sense I got from the post, and indeed the theme that ran throughout the comments, was that to NOT be ever–striving for more, to not EVER be satisfied, was the ideal. Anything less was to somehow settle. Settle for less. This was pretty much universally agreed to be a bad thing.

But where does happiness fit in here? If one never has enough, if one can never even be content, how is it that one can ever be happy? Frankly, I spent most of the day looking for the vocabulary to explain this. It’s just another version of the “want versus need” issue, complicated by a misunderstanding of the concept “ambition”.

I am ambitious. I have aspirations. Some of them are grand (reform organized youth sports, save the city of Cleveland), and some of them are quite trivial (own a home in Park city again, buy a watch). The difference, though, is that I’m really quite happy with what I have, who I am, where I am, and what I’ve done right now. I am thankful, openly and consciously thankful, for each one of those things.

W0uld I like more? Why, yes thank you. I’ve HAD more and it was really quite lovely. The only thing better than enough is more, eh? But there’s the rub: the man who knows when enough is enough will always have enough. We could say that one who is thankful for enough is living a life of gratitude. That certainly does not rule out ambition or aspiration, but it does leave a great big open door to happiness. People who are thankful for what they have, even those who constantly strive for more, tend to be quite happy.

I’m really quite happy. You?


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