Thoughts on ambition

I’ve been thinking a lot about ambition recently and what it means. During my last review I was praised for being “so ambitious” and I was surprised as, to me, this seems obvious as ambition isn’t a conscious choice – it’s second nature – and really it represents a form of dissatisfaction.

This subject has been top of my mind over the last few weeks and I’ve noticed a lot of rhetoric around ambition in various forms. Listening to Emma Gannon’s podcast, she believes ambition is the feeling of being unsettled once a project is finished. It’s the tick box addiction; once one task is completed- no matter how perfectly – you’re thinking about the next challenge. I’ve just started reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (which is amazing) and this passage about life in New York really stuck out:

“Ambition is my only religion” JB had told him late one beery night… Only here did you feel compelled to somehow justify anything short of rapidity for your career; only here did you have to apologize for having faith  in something other than yourself.

The sphere of London’s career climbing community drives us forward; this group of people are constantly striving towards the next step. The city is full of professionals who are experts in their field – the best in the world – and some who are struggling financially or sacrificing quality of life for that incredible job opportunity. To me, the city’s rhythm sounds like a stomach grumbling, aching for satiation.

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