The Gift of Ambition

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas
with short reflections on 12 gifts

Now that we’ve taken a day or two and evolved ourselves into perfectly reasonable beings with entirely realistic expectations, maybe we’re in position to truly enjoy the gift of ambition. And what better time than the start of a new year?

Ambition deserves a better rap than it sometimes gets. Striving for more/better is one of the roots of progress, and we can all use a little progress, I’m thinking. Whether we make formal stop/start resolutions, or write down a few things we’d like to get done in the coming year, or just let ourselves imagine the way things could be, may our ambitions reach their potential in the coming year.

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4 Responses to The Gift of Ambition

  1. Dave says:

    At my age ambitions (plans) are revised continuously or shall I say my plans are instantaneously revised or perhaps you could say I am impulsive (well, plans and decisions all rolled into one). Life is a continuing series of experiments with changing input designs and new observed outcomes etc.
    As in finance, returns can be compounded continuously, or more discretely such as daily, monthly, annually etc. It all depends on your time horizon. At my age, obviously the time horizon must be shorter. Besides, with more time on my hands, continuous planning and revising can be amusing, yes? Now let’s see – what shall I have for lunch?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dave – I like applying the concept of ‘returns’ to aspects of our lives other than just financial. And you’re right – the applicable ‘planning/return horizon’ varies, both by age-and-stage and, maybe, by category (shall we use the same horizon for our family, exercise, and financial activities? likely not!). Yet as I age, I more and more see the value of persistent/consistent effort–perhaps the hardest thing for humans to do!

  2. Dave says:

    Persistent and consistent effort at pursuing a goal requires continuous evaluation and revision as in a feedback loop. So the academic must constantly experiment and evaluate outcomes. Golf provides an example, though it could also be parenting.
    My golf game might improve if I would quit the experimentation BUT “I can’t help it I am an academic” I tell my golf buddies as they smile in amusement as if there is no hope for my game. But that holy grail is out there and must be pursued. So we constantly experiment and change. A quest for that “Perfect Repeatable Swing” like the quest for the Impossible Dream in the Man from La Mancha.
    Oh, when will the warm sunny days return.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dave – Umm, it’s sunny and entirely golfable at this very moment in metro Phoenix. Something to consider, in the spirit of experimentation?

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