Ambition or acceptance?

Brené Brown and Tim Ferris talk through the battle between striving vs self acceptance.

He sat opposite me. A 19 year old, with all the enthusiasm that comes with it.

“You’ve got to be your own worst critic”, I said, pausing just for a second to let that sink it.

“Because, if you want the things other people don’t have, you’ve got to be willing to do the things that other people won’t do”. Genius, I thought.

A lots changed since then. And a lot hasn’t. I’m cringing as I write this. But also clinging to it, as I still believe it.

Most ‘ambitious’ people seem to have this mindset.

We remind ourselves daily of the fact that we need to hustle harder, push through, and dream bigger if we’re going to #makeithappen

I even have the last phrase tattooed on me. Not the #makeithappen one… I’m not that mental, yet.

Ambition. Excellence. Being exceptional.

These are the markers of those who are successful. The drive to get there is often fuelled by using these like a whip. Criticising your lacklustre performance is the way you get further dammit!

But… it’s also pretty miserable.

If you’re using that ’never good enough’ brand of fuel for your rocket ship, chances are it’ll bring you back to earth in a fiery mess, rather than take you to the moon.

Why is it so hard to let go then?

The worry here (or sure as shit is my worry) is that the word itself, acceptance, tells us everything about why it’s the antidote to ambition. A one way ticket to loserville with no return ride.

How can you be forgiving of your failures and also get to greatness. You think acceptance gets you on the cover of Forbes?! Crazy hippy.

But you can. There’s a lot of power in acceptance. And it doesn’t mean rolling over and dying on your ambition. It’s grey as hell. Like most good things.

How you frame it really matters. This podcast frames it beautifully…

You can accept the things you are, whilst also working to change them. That constant negative reinforcement about what a shit you are isn’t necessary to be ambitious or achieve great things. And that for all our wants and desires to be exceptional, when the real stuff hits us, like losing someone you love, what you’ll want more than anything is the normal and mundane.

I can attest. When you burnout, the last thing you’re thinking about is whether you’re #hustling enough.

You just want to stop crying when you try to get dressed in the morning.

So be gentle with yourself. It won’t dent your ambition. At least I bloody well hope not.

Have a listen here.

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