Ambition is a word often banded around. Everyone is always telling you to “be ambitious & chase your dreams”. This I believe to be true. But with ambition comes a price, are you prepared to pay in order to get what you really want?
Social Programming (Acceptable Ambition)
Firstly, we have to understand how the ‘average’ human works and functions. Generally, our human would have been raised in a manner whereby the aim of life is to settle down, buy a house, start a family and hold down a decent career. All this is pretty standard advice, handed down from generation to generation.
That human, perhaps like you, at some point in the process would have had hopes, big dreams and aspirations. The problem for them would have been a peer group, more than likely crushing those dreams and insisting on getting those normal things like, a home, work and a family.
“Leave those wild dreams behind – when are you going to grow up?”
Jealousy (Ambitions biggest killer)
We’ve all heard that, right? You see, it’s what I call the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality. For example, your friend settles down and forgets his childhood dreams of playing football. You, on the other hand persist with chasing the football dream. As you get closer and closer, your friend becomes unhappy with the fact he quit the dream and becomes jealous of your drive, he then starts encouraging you to give up “settle down and get that real job”.
You’re Looking ill
Another example, and a classic one; you set yourself a goal to lose weight. You’ve always been a bit bigger than your friends, so you decide ‘enough is enough’ and it’s time to get in shape. At first all your friends are really supportive and encouraging. As time goes on though, and the weight starts dropping off, the comments change. “You spend all your life in the gym” and of course that old chestnut “You look ill, you’ve lost to much weight – come on breaking your diet won’t hurt”. All of a sudden, that once vital support turns to nasty comments, why? Simply because you’ve exceeded their expectations. The former ‘large friend’, who people may have joked about in the past, has dropped the weight, got in shape and this now hits a nerve. You’ve just discovered the very first cost.
‘Ambition will always reveal who your true friends are’.
Not everyone can handle someone changing their life for the better or chasing dreams while they are stuck in the grind. It’s that simple I’m afraid. You see, a phrase that sticks in my head is ‘Everyone supports you until you start to exceed their expectations of what you should achieve.
‘After this you will quite often notice support drift and fade’.
Bettering yourself can breed jealousy
An unfortunate part of human nature is jealousy. People get jealous of you bettering yourself. I am sure this is something we have all experienced over the years, from buying a nice car to getting the job you’ve always wanted. There is always someone who will have something nasty to say about the situation. If a new car can provoke that stinky, jealous reaction, just try going after a dream that most are scared to even consider, let alone to see through!
If it’s ambition and dreams you’re after; thicken your skin, because you’re going to be surprised who your real friends are for sure. This is where you begin to realise ‘you’ll have a lot of associates but very few friends’.
“People will want you to do good, but never better than them”.
Spare time isn’t spare time (not where ambition is concerned)
If you like a lie in on the weekend or an early night, forget that. Most of the spare time you have to chase the dream or ambition will be the hours when most people are sleeping or have their feet up watching TV. These hours are your time to strike, hone your skills, sharpen your game and get those little stepscloser and closer to your goal. For the ambitious, TV shows can wait, we already can see the biggest of pictures and recognise how to invest our time. Let’s be honest here, to others, this behaviour can be viewed as pure madness. Leading on to the next priceto pay, you’ll be misunderstood.
If you’re keeping up so far? The current price of ambition is:
- Late nights and early mornings.
- Lots of associates, very few friends
- You will be misunderstood.
- You will be single (unless you’re lucky enough to find someone who understands your lifestyle).
- People will want you to do good, but, never better than them.
‘And because of this you’ll do most things alone’
The Harsh Truth
The road to my goals has been an absolute nightmare, I’d love to sugar coat it and tell you it’s easy, but the truth is, it just hasn’t. The funny part of it all is that it’s not the training that’s been hard, it has been people’s behaviour of changes of behaviour. As the great Muhammad Ali once said. “It is not the mountain ahead that wears you down, it’s the pebble in your shoe”.
For every ounce of perceived success, I also received a ton of hate. From comments on how long I spend training, to people‘pretending’ to be your best mate, purely in the hope that knowing you will benefit them. And in a cruel twist, as soon as your ‘use’ has run out, or it’s apparent there is no gain from knowing you (or the gain they wanted), then the dynamics of the friendship changes.
If they can’t match your skill level, they will seek to attack your character. And even when they can/could help you, they will withdraw any offer!
Being blatantly honest here guys, I’ve seen all manner of malarkey on my journey and on the most part felt let down by the majority of humans.
Has this put me off? No. It’s just made me acutely aware of these behaviours and of human beings (average or otherwise). I would still encourage everyone to chase their dreams. But take my cautionary advice; you’ll learn more about those you thought to be your friends than you may be prepared to accept.
One thing that striving for dreams and continued ambition has taught me well –
‘If doors won’t open for you, make your own doorways’!
- Wing Chun Illustrated columnist
- London Wing Chun Academy Instructor
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