Goal-getting. Going. Getting. For all the criticisms the youths of today come under, on thing we can’t be accused of is lacking ambition. This is an easy thing to say with just one-sided inference, but perhaps no generation is as goal-getting and success-hungry as this one; the urge to always do better is palpable.
But is it all an overlooked smoke-screen for greed and selfishness? Ambition is great, the thirst to be better is not unacceptable, but better at what? Better at being a professional than a person? In USA TV’s popular television series, Suits, an episode came when then-prospective lawyer Mike Ross lost a mock trial. When slated by his boss Harvey Specter, Ross said Specter was the kind of lawyer everyone wanted to be, him undoubtedly being the best, but what he said next struck a chord: ‘I’m also trying to determine the kind of person I want to be, and sometimes, I like that kind of person other than yours’.
Therein lies one of things with us youths; the lure of ambition looks to be trump humanity. Hence, the birth of quotes like ‘if your friends don’t add value to your life, bin them’, or ‘help your friend and support his business’; sayings that almost define friends to be disposable tools in your quest to build your career, stepping stones on your rise to greatness. Make no mistake about it, friends are there to help, in any and every way, but they should be seen as friends, not ‘friends’, whom you are ready cast aside once they’re not ready to serve as paths on your road to stardom.
Friendship is probably the biggest losing party when ambition is around. Here’s the thing about ambition, particularly ambition these days; when those supposedly should-add-value-to-your-life friends help you on way to a higher reach, once you get there, there is the urge to bin them. After all, they are not at your level anymore, and if you want to go higher, if you to start delivering mighty blows of your own, you need to rid yourself of people who are just rolling with the punches.
Ambition drives us, but makes us self-absorbed, it suddenly becomes about us going further up top rather than looking at those who helped us get as high as we are now but are still below us, then pulling them up as well. The greed, the ‘it has to be me’ mentality; the selfishness, the ‘I don’t owe anyone anything’ thoughts; all can hide in the guise of ambition, especially in this era when flaunted success, however fake, ill-gotten or short-lived, is rife.
The prospect of punching above our weight is alluring, but we have forgotten to pull our punches, even a little, and the world is fine with it; even encourages it. No one really cares if you’re good person, if you’re helping others (unless it’s them), no one wants to celebrate a good friend, but rather the pertinent questions being asked are ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’, or ‘what are your career goals?’
In this age when things are increasingly black and white, our urge to win is bigger than our love for ‘we’.
This article was written by Kunle Ajao; connect with him on IG here