I’m not ambitious, and that’s okay

I’ve been told that I’m just wasting my life away—that I lack ambition because I have been stuck doing the same job and I don’t have big goals.

But you know what? I’m perfectly okay with how my life is going…and I mean, totally!

You might be someone like me and you’re here looking for validation, or you might be an ambitious person trying to comprehend this mindset.

So here, I bare to you some of the reasons why I’m not ambitious and why that’s totally okay with me (and maybe for you, too).

1) The hustle is overrated.

Yep, you heard me.

The hustle culture is overrated — and not only that, it’s also harmful!

I’ve seen way too many people burn themselves out trying to do the hustle, and in doing so neglect their health and their family.

They’d have a day job, a night job, and then a weekend hustle.

And with a schedule that packed, it becomes impossible for them to have any quality time with their kids or their spouses…or even with themselves!

They might tell themselves that they’re doing it to build a future for their kids—that they’re noble because they’re sacrificing for the future—or that it will buy them happiness later.

But the sad thing is that, for some, it doesn’t really add that much to their income, and their kids would probably have preferred having a parent who was there for them instead of a mansion in the future.

Ahhh, the glorification of “busy”.

I don’t see anything sexy about working one’s ass off.

2) The “dream job” is still a job.

You might ask “why not work hard to get your dream job?”

The answer to this is quite simple, really.

Why would I dream of work in the first place?

This doesn’t mean I don’t have passions—I do—but rather that my passions don’t involve dedicating my hours to making someone else rich.

Yeah, some people live for reasons other than money. Shocking, I know.

We only have so much time in this world, after all, and I’m not going to waste it stressing over fetching money for my boss. Or to buy a $2,000 pair of shoes when my $100 serves me perfectly fine.

I do my work, get paid, and then use that money to pursue MY heart’s desire. And of course, I sometimes just laze around…because I can AFFORD it unlike some people.

Think about yourself.

Are there any dreams you might have that don’t involve slaving away at the office?

Perhaps you might want to write a novel or start a pet adoption center. Maybe you like gardening or painting.

If you can’t think of any, then think harder. There’s more to life than just labor.

You work to live, and not live to work.

3) I like being in control of my life.

Yet another reason why I’m not trying particularly hard to be “ambitious” is because, as things stand, I’m in control of my life. And I don’t want to lose that.

Pursuing your ambitions can easily push you into a place where you barely have control over your life.

Sure, you might be rich and famous and everyone looks up to you. You might be living the “dream life” that’s defined by the media.

But now you’re in a spot where you have to keep people happy, and to give away your own time just to keep things going. The cubicle becomes your home— your prison. There’s no such thing as lazy weekends anymore.

And hey, who needs that? It’s some kind of slavery that you put yourself into.

You might say I’m not making use of my life the way I should, but I would argue that if you’re too busy, it’s not “living” at all—just existing!

4) I’m not fixing what isn’t broken.

Money is useful, but too many people have made it the one thing they live for.

Thinking that more money would make them happier, they chase it hard. But ironically enough, it only puts them through so much pressure that they end up being unhappier in the end.

Ambition is a double edged sword.

It can be quite soul-crushing if you don’t end up achieving your goals, and sometimes it does nothing but bring you stress.

Some people might be “successful”, but so much more rests on their shoulders that simply playing their role at work is stressful.

Some are even so important that they simply can’t afford to have private lives anymore.

Work can call them in the middle of the night and they MUST pay attention.

And you know what? I want none of that!

My place in life is good enough, and I make sure to live a frugal life.

This doesn’t mean I don’t make plans to ensure my financial security should I get laid off, or that I would deny a raise if it comes to me.

More money is always useful. But I’m not going out of my way to change things up.

5) I live for small moments.

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The thing with having one big goal is, well, what happens when you achieve it?

Small achievements start to seem insignificant, and achieving them stops being so fulfilling.

In fact, I speak from experience here. I once had and achieved a single big goal. But when the euphoria from having achieved it had worn off, I started feeling empty.

And since I felt empty, I wanted to pursue another goal. Rinse, repeat.

I decided to stop overloading myself with goals because, well, what’s the point?

What are we really chasing for?

I didn’t transform overnight, though.

I only got off the hamster wheel and  changed when I took part in Life Journal. Created by teacher and life coach Jeanette Brown, this was the ultimate wake-up call I needed to start dreaming again and then to take action. I learned to stop and smell the roses, as it were.

It’s life-changing for me, and it should be for you too.

Click here to learn more about Life Journal.

So what makes Jeanette’s guidance more effective than other self-development programs?

It’s simple:

Jeanette’s created a unique way of putting YOU in control of your life.

She’s not interested in telling you how to live your life. Instead, she’ll give you lifelong tools that’ll help you achieve all your goals, keeping the focus on WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT.

And that’s what makes Life Journal so powerful.

If you’re ready to start living the life you’ve always dreamt of, you need to check out Jeanette’s advice. Who knows, today could be the first day of your new life.

Here’s the link once again.

6) Fame is not a good thing actually.

Most people dream of going big and becoming rich and famous. Good for them, but here’s the problem: Fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

As Jim Carrey once said, “I wish everyone could get rich and famous and everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that’s not the answer.”

Sure, on one hand, you get plenty of praise and adoration from your many loyal fans. But on the other hand, you WILL get people who will make it their life’s work to hate you.

And not only that, your every action will be up for public scrutiny.

Did you forget to iron your clothes, or perhaps said something a little too spicy for social media? It’ll become news, and you’ll definitely get a flood of haters knocking on your door.

So you know what, screw fame!

I’m confident enough in that I don’t need a sea of strangers saying nice things about me to make me feel good about myself.

It’s not easy, of course. But confidence is, thankfully enough, something that you can internalize with enough effort.

7) It’s not like I don’t have ambitions at all.

When people speak of ambition, they don’t actually mean to talk about ambition as a whole.

Instead, they’re talking about a very specific definition of ambition—that of working hard and making a name for themselves.

But I have my own ambitions, big and small. They’re just NOT what most people think of when people talk of ambition.

In fact, most people would think of my lifestyle as hedonistic, and that I’m wasting time chasing down the wrong things.

But in case you don’t know it already, those things are entirely subjective.

They might think it’s pointless for me to spend so much money commissioning paintings of myself since it’s not going to improve my career.

I, on the other hand, think that it’s pointless to put so much energy trying to get promoted since they can just get fired anytime anyways.

Think about it. If progressing one’s career and getting rich is all there is to life, then why would people earning six figures a month resign and live a simple life elsewhere?

Besides, it’s not like they’re going to spend that money in the afterlife.

Those paintings of me, on the other hand, will live on long after I’m dead (well, at least I hope). Isn’t that a kind of ambition too?

8) I have a lot to work through in life right now.

Something that the “Be more ambitious!” crowd doesn’t consider is that it takes a lot of energy to actually be ambitious.

Plans don’t just manifest out of thin air without any effort whatsoever, and those checkboxes aren’t going to tick themselves off.

No, it takes a lot of energy and effort to actually be ambitious. And not all of us have the free energy and mind-space to maintain it. I don’t, so I don’t beat myself up for not becoming a great artist because I’m still struggling with my bills.

I do, however, do my craft every single day. I write, I make music, I make crafts…they’re just not featured in magazines or plastered in museums.

Am I lacking in ambition? Perhaps. But I’m being gentle with myself, and this gentle-ness allows me to actually DO what I want.

I have accepted the fact that I’m not going to be the person who can have it all. And that I have no superpowers.

There are many events that simply leave us emotionally and mentally exhausted, leaving us unable to dedicate that much time to being ambitious.

If this is the case with you, then you shouldn’t feel bad for being “unambitious.”

Focus on working through those issues first, and maybe you’ll find yourself that ambition that you’re missing.

9) Working harder isn’t everything.

People often use ambition and passion for work as buzzwords to guilt you into working harder for less money.

You might hear “you don’t seem ambitious—everyone else is doing overtime, and you’re not” or even “If you’re not passionate about this work, we’re going to give it to someone who is”

The intent, of course, is to make you work harder, to make you show “passion” and “ambition” for your work by burning yourself out on work and maybe even by doing overtime.

But working harder isn’t everything in life.

A farmer works four times as hard as an IT technician, but they’re going to earn so much less than the technician ever will.

10) It’s not like ambition really does much anyways.

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Without thinking about it too deeply, it might seem like it would only make sense for ambition to result in success. But no, that’s not really how it works.

There’s only so much you can personally do to achieve success, but the successful people won’t tell you this. So much about success actually depends on luck, preparation, and sheer talent.

We can see this in Hollywood. Most of them have developed talent, yes, but that’s because their parents or uncles are already in the business.

There are others who, on trying out this “ambition” thing, only ended up learning that their goals are simply unrealistic.

A mediocre success is infinitely better than an ambitious failure.

So unless you’re absolutely sure that you have what it needs to succeed, then it’s better to curb your ambitions.

And of course, should you fail at whatever it is you did, it helps to learn when to stop.

Trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome is the very essence of lunacy.

11) I want to enjoy my life.

We don’t live forever. Everyone, at some point in their lives, is going to shut their eyes and never open them again.

So while I’m here, I’d rather be happy and fulfilled. So many people look back on their lives and wish that they spent more time with their friends and family, chasing their hobbies, and having fought for a good cause.

Nobody—or at least, almost nobody—looks back at their life wishing they spent more time in the office working harder.

When it comes to understanding how you should build your life, it helps to think in terms of “what will I regret not doing when I’m on my deathbed?”

You might not get it right all the time, but at the very least you’re putting effort into not disappointing your future self.

12) Ambition can be quite dangerous.

We’re taught from a young age to be ambitious—that ambition will drive us to success, and that people who are poor and destitute are the way they are because they lack ambition.

Or worse—that they’re just lazy.

“Be more ambitious, or you’ll be like them!” might be familiar to you.

The self-help industry is loaded with this “If they can do it, so can you” optimism.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. People are pushed into poverty for far more reasons than a simple lack of ambition.

If anything, ambition has caused far too many people to rush forward blindly. They get caught up in the hustle lifestyle, working themselves to the bone. And yet, they remain perpetually broke.

This whole narrative about ambition could be harmful, if guided by the wrong coaches. It guilts you into working yourself to death, and it shames those who got dealt a bad hand in life. And that’s why I strongly suggest Life Journal by Jeanette Brown.


Ambition is way overrated. Rather, ambition as people expect it from others is overrated.

There’s nothing wrong with chasing smaller, more piecemeal goals.

Don’t think like you have to “dream big”, and that you’re somehow wrong for settling with smaller dreams. So long as you’re living your life and that you’re happy, you’re good.

Besides, we only have so many days in our lives—why waste them away being worker drones?

Live and dream for yourself, and not to please others and whatever expectations others might have of you.

Live, darn it, live!

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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