Dear Alexander #013: The Aim Of Ambition

I sometimes worry you’re voracious hunger for self-education can leave you running in place and going nowhere —like a dog with a leash you desire to explore and continue to learn far and wide to satisfy your curiosity. But be careful about dipping into states of unfocused ambition.

As Maria Popova sais,

“Unfocused ambition is a guarantee of frustration rather than fulfillment…even the mightiest discipline, after all, is wasted without a clear direction.”

“I have been a severe student, all the days of my life — But an immense proportion of the time I have dedicated to the search of knowledge, has been wasted upon subjects which can never be profitable to myself or useful to others — Another source of useless toil, is the want of a method properly comprehensive and minute, in the pursuit of my enquiries.” — John Quincy Adam (6th U.S. President)

Is he describing a version of you? A part of me sais, yes, you have moments of ineffectual busyness that animate you’re days, tricking you’re mind into thinking you’re moving forward when you’re really mistaking activity for achievement that later leaves you lamenting and questioning the purpose of you’re actions.

But maybe you need that. Maybe you need those moments of unfocused ambition that satisfy you’re heart and minds curiosity to set yourself up to ultimately be focused, disciplined and purposeful.

Maybe you don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling like you’re “wasting time”.

Maybe you don’t have to be “ON” and purposeful 24 hours 7 days a week.

Maybe you can take a couple hours a week to let you’re mind wander and be distracted.

Maybe that’s what gives plants the seeds to you’re sanity and creativity.

Or maybe not…

Maybe you need to do a better job at defining a clear well calibrated targets for yourself.

“Indiscriminate action is reflective of too little thinking and planning, and that is lazy. It’s one of the most destructive forms of laziness. If you’re constantly doing thing’s that are not thought through you will end up doing the opposite of the 80/20 principle — you will end up specializing in unimportant thing’s. You will become an expert in doing thing’s that are trivial, well. That is a huge waste of life. So work hard, but only when it is applied to the right thing’s.” — Tim Ferriss

After hearing Tim Ferriss say this, it’s not a question of “maybe” anymore. You definitely need to do a better job at defining clear daily objectives. How?

You already know. Prioritize you’re day before it begins by writing the most critical list of actions you need to perform for that day that will make all other tasks easier or redundant. Moreover, focus on the tasks that will mitigate the most emotional and cognitive processing.

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Self reflective writings & book summaries on philosophy, psychology and human behaviour.

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