New Essay: Happy Ambition

I just published a new essay on my web site titled Happy Ambition: Striving for Success, Avoiding Status Cocaine, and Prioritizing Happiness. In some sense it’s a follow up to my previous essay on wealth. It also covers some new ground.

These ideas came together over many months, and while they’re still a work in progress, I’m happy to share them now…in part to benefit from additional feedback!

3 Responses to New Essay: Happy Ambition

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    I think Deci’s work on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is quite relevant here:

    The pursuit of extrinsic motivations like status dooms the pursuer to unhappiness, even if they are achieved.

    The path to happiness is to pursue intrinsic motivations like growth and community.

  2. Lavues says:

    Amazing post, this is really nice.

  3. Ndumiso says:

    I have done a lot of “soul-searching” lately and as such have found myself reading lots of books and material with most of it being something that I already know. Although I was not looking for anything in particular, I am really glad to have come across this article.

    Recently I seem to have been having a lot of doubts about my career and wondering if I was doing what I am supposed to be doing. I might not have been intentionally thinking about it, but I have no doubt after reading this that I have been wondering whether I could considering myself successful or even happy.

    I feel ashamed admitting it, but I have no doubt after reading this that I have been driven by status more than I thought I ever was. Even when I thought I had noble goals about changing the world, it’s become evident that I was still trying to improve my position in society. And now that this realisation has hit me, I realise how simple this misconception was. There is a calmness that comes with knowing and realising that there is joy and happiness to be found in loving the process of the work itself.

    I known that achieving bigger and more ambitious goals only brings temporary happiness as it results in the need to have even bigger dreams which seems like a futile experience. It’s funny that in a conversation with a friend recently she was challenging my ambitions and understanding the motivations behind them. We both agreed that I can have an impact on a smaller scale and still feel purposeful instead of doing things to be recognised and then feeling fulfilled.

    I don’t know where this new knowledge will take me, but thank you for bringing much enlightenment in my life at a moment where I felt I had all that I needed to be who I was always meant to be!


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