Is Ambition a Curse?


That’s a loaded question. For me, it is a blessing and a curse and no matter how I slice it I guess I am fortunate for having a need to be successful. But, it comes at some sacrifice. For the last seven years I have been building One River, and I feel grateful for having aligned around a specific purpose: “transform art education”.

At the same time, building a new business is so hard on so many levels. It requires a non-stop commitment to hard work, and that means you sacrifice so many other things and that you are always time poor.

Imagine if you were a young artist, golfer, or journalist just getting started. How do you climb the ladder, build the skills and compete at the highest level without having massive ambition? It’s really hard to be the best in life: parent, student, business-person, friend, community member…. the world places great expectations on all of us and those expectations sit on top of the expectations we already place on ourselves.

So, how do you reconcile the constant push for more in life? You have to look through the lens from different directions and constantly re-clarify your goals and expectations. Without a written, time stamped road map for where you want to get to, chances are you will always feel unfulfilled. But, if you take the time to periodically look at your personal and professional goals and prioritize the work that is most important, you can ALWAYS be happy with your effort and at the end of the day that is the one thing you can control.

Steven Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People changed me. Read more about it here… it is about life success.

I think ambitiously about helping people learn and grow and there are many metaphors that I think about that connect art and life together. Managing ambition creeps into it all if you are going to be happy.