My dear friend and professional photographer Aaron Hockley made a great remark to me in a private chat yesterday:
Ambition/passion for something is essential. It might not be something that I’m passionate about, but folks that don’t have that drive for something, well, they bore me.
Since a few things in my personal life have changed and somewhat gone adrift, I’ve been mulling over the nature of ambition, passion, and planning a life trajectory. I know a lot of people prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, and sometimes, I can live that way–but usually only as a means to an end. Being free-floating is a great way to seize opportunities; I believe being able to make decisions on the fly or change on a dime is the only way to cultivate good luck. But I always have a year, two-year, and five-year strategy that makes me rein myself in.
It’s come to the forefront for me this past month how much ambition and passion are an invaluable asset in someone I want to keep close. With my best friend Whitney Gardner getting signed by an agent last week, I feel this bubble of positive energy and enthusiasm in my life; it’s amazing watching Whitney grow from dedicated artist and writer to actual agented author of graphic novels. Her books are awesome. I can’t wait to see them on shelves.
But it also makes me realize that I’m moving slower than I want to be moving; and, of course, that’s just the nature of reaching goals. Sometimes you leap over hurdles like a pro athlete, and sometimes you catch your knee and come crashing down. One just has to keep the goal in mind, the white stripe across the finish line, and keep going.
I rarely talk about life issues or anecdotes, often because it’s just not related to what I want this blog to be about: writing, editing, publishing. But this discussion is relevant because I don’t think any of those things can be achieved at a professional level without ambition and passion.
To me, ambition is the overwhelming desire to achieve something.
Passion is throwing yourself into it whole-heartedly, be damned the consequences.
It doesn’t matter to me what that ambition is, or how you funnel your passion–but as long as you have something you love, and something to create/achieve/become, I firmly believe life is always going to be rich.
I’ll never claim to have a formula for happiness. It’s different for everyone. But my true joy comes from the steady, plodding movement towards the next finish line.
And then the next.
And then the next.
Maybe this will change someday, but I hope that’s many, many achieved goals later.