Judge explained that ambitious people who were successful in school and at work lived longer; however, ambitious people who did not find success in these areas lived shorter lives. “So, if one is to be ambitious, one had better insure that they translate it into success. Otherwise, they may experience the negative effects without any of the positive.”
However, despite their successes, he noted that they were not successful in terms of what might be considered the most important variables: happiness and longevity of life. He explained that even though ambitious people ought to have the happiest lives in the world because they attain so much, they were only slightly happier than the “slackers” and lived for about the same length of time. However, those that did not attain successful careers were less happy and significantly more likely to die before less ambitious people.
The study did note that ambition strongly correlated with educational and occupational success. Judge noted, “We think that ambitious people set very high standards for themselves and when they achieve success, they raise those standards further. If this is true, ironically, the very thing that makes people successful is also what tends to negate the ability of those things to make them happy. If an ambitious person keeps raising his or her goals after every success, then it’s a bit like Sisyphus in Greek mythology: He rolls the boulder up the hill, only to have it roll down the hill so as to push it back up again.”
The most interesting line for me is this one -- "Judge explained that ambitious people who were successful in school and at work lived longer; however, ambitious people who did not find success in these areas lived shorter lives."
Ambition is a real bitch of a thing. If you succeed, you get slightly more happy and live longer. But if you gear up on it, and don't succeed, then you get absolutely crushed.
A great girl I've known for years, she had three jobs when I met her, plus being an athlete and hyper-active in all areas of life.
We had a joke between us -- "Life is hard, let's go to the bar."
When one of us would be complaining about... how hard it is to sell, or more costs, or how great work can get rejected, or how ungrateful people are, or all the taxes we'd have to pay after doing a ton of work, or... whatever...
...then we'd joke, "Life is hard, let's go to the bar."
Life's different for ambitious people. You're taking a hell of a gamble. You can't even credibly say it's a smart play, to play the ambitious game. But if you're in, well then. Burn more midnight oil, invent more, enterprise more, recruit more, sell more, do more...
...and even your own damn brain won't appreciate you enough!
Well, life is hard. Shall we go to the bar?
Great post and great links in the two comments above. Thanks, actually helpful since I an in the crisis of meaning stage at the moment myself.
Very true. I have two siblings, one very driven who has ended up near the top of an investment bank, but they got there because they were never content or happy, always going for the next goal, the next deal. The other has retrained, teaches part time, and has always been content and happy, and has the innate ability to "just do enough" and "earn just enough"
I know which one is happier and will live longer
Work life balance. Neil Strauss had a great post on it if you haven't read it yet.
I struggle with wanting to be successful and not hating myself.
Then again.. Entrepreneurs are known to be maniac depressive.. so I guess it just comes with the territory.
In response to yesterday's "Tokugawa’s Generals, and Being a Great Follower," I wrote that greatness is something you define for yourself. I asked, what's your definition of greatness, then? We can think about it. The reader clarified -
I wrote down a list of great men and realized what I meant by greatness. Glory, recognition by other human beings. From conquerors, to musical virtuosos, the great men are those that are supported by the wave of existing people. Great men are those who did something that is today recognized as valuable. Great men are those that are known by "everyone". That is how I think fame should be seen. That is how I am seeing it as of now.
Something that jumps to the eyes is that it requires other people. If you are great then at least someone must be not great. I guess being successful in life is different from being great. If living a successful life is minimally having 2 kids with more opportunities than you had and a strong family then once achieved, your are successful. Greatness I think could be seen as recognized success. Perhaps self-recognized success can make you see yourself as great...
If everyone is successful and recognize that their success and others are great, then everyone is great, hence no one is great. (or otherwise said, to my belief, the word "great" loses value as "awe-some" did) Well that is how I see it. Everyone is successful in something, not all are The Great. Where were the risk-taking warriors? As I now understand, they were fearful. Then again I suppose they had to stop someday throne or no throne. Having acquired the belief that to rebel is a bad ROI.
I wasn’t the brightest student growing up. In the fourth grade, I was reading at a second grade level, and my writing was even worse. There were concerns that I would never catch up, and I would be destined to remain in special-help classes and never truly excel academically.
I got lucky. My parents compelled me to work harder, and my teachers were invaluable to my efforts as they worked with me to improve my skills. Thanks to them, I went from being a poor to an average student. For me, for everyone who had seen me grow up, this would do.
But then something else happened. Something my parents, my teachers, and certainly I never expected. I started to excel. My reading levels began to rise above the averages, and I began enrolling in what my junior high school referred to as “challenge” courses. My English teachers became impressed by my writing skills, and it was during this time that writing became a part of who I am.