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Fear is a man’s best friend

03/23/2010

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I have ambition on my mind.  A number of recent conversations have touched on it and at the same time I am starting to consider my next career move.  “I don’t have your ambition” a friend told me, this struck me as strange.  I never really consider myself ambitious.  For me ambition requires a goal an end result a sense of purpose or direction.

I just don’t have this.  But I do have drive.  I was trying to explain this recently, if there is A and B, my first thought is how quickly I can get between the two.  “What happens if you don’t think that?” I was asked.  The fact is I didn’t have a clue, because that is what I do and have always done.  I don’t do it to be the first, I do it because I have to find out.  Everything in my head is a series of small competitions with myself.  

On the train there are a number of commuters that I know catch the same tube as me, I have to get down the escalators, through the subway and on it before them.  I have a target time that I need to be in the office, if I beat it I’m, elated.  When I run, I push myself to go faster each time, even when my knees start to hurt.  When I’m cooking I set a time and have to deliver everything to the table at that moment perfectly cooked.  If my Yorkshire Puddings aren’t as fluffy as previous there is an enquiry that makes Chilcot look like a Parish Council.  

I appreciate this makes me a complete arsehole to be around on any long-term basis.  It probably is the cause of a lot of strife for others.  I’m a white western European male, so I have heart attack written all over me before I even start with behaviours like these.  But to be honest I can’t help it.  Give me a pane of glass in the rain and I will be working out which drop is going to get to the bottom first.  They introduced league tables onto Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook and it was the end to any free time that I previously had.

I get called arrogant a lot.  I’ve written about that before.  I’m not arrogant, I’m scared.

“You’re successful, personally, professionally… You make no excuses for asking for even more. I think you’re young to have achieved so much… And wonder a little what else you could want/need?” I was told the other day. 

If only I knew.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/23/2010 10:09

    I fear you are talking sense (again) – scary!

  2. Lena M. permalink
    03/23/2010 12:33

    Ouch… This one kind of came too close to home…

  3. 03/23/2010 17:13

    Yes! I never cared about job title when I was working, but I wanted the opportunity to do challenging, interesting work. I was good and I worked hard, but it was because I wanted to do a great job, not because I cared if I was a VP. I was told I was not ambitious, but realistically, very few people will become VP. But isn’t there room for hard-working, competitive people who aren’t VP?

  4. 03/24/2010 05:24

    Completing things, seeing patterns, competing with yourself – sensible reactions to fear in my book. This is how you do life. I don’t see it as a problem because you understand that not everyone is wired your way.

  5. Karen (Sayya26) permalink
    03/24/2010 18:27

    Have you never read Dune by Frank Herbert? The Litany against Fear according to the book:

    “Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain”

  6. 03/26/2010 08:08

    @Sean – I’ll try not to, shouldn’t be hard

    @Lena – Hmmmmmm we should talk

    @The Gold Digger – I guess organisations just don’t seem to be built that way…..the trickle down effect was always a load of balls

    @mkeefer – I hadn’t made the connections until I saw them in black and white in your comment. Man, I’m a freak!

    @Karen – Thanks for that quote, I think I might give it a permanent place

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