Day one. The sun is shining. I’m with my favourite person in the world. We’re walking the dog. I ask myself, “What more do you need?” The answer is usually, “nothing.” This is it. This is happiness. Bliss. Tranquillity.
Day two. The sun is shining. I’m with my favourite person in the world. We’re walking the dog. I ask myself, “How much more is there for me to do?” The answer is usually, “so much more.”
It’s the eternal conflict between gratitude and ambition. Between appreciating how little you need and understanding how much you still have to accomplish.
You can’t spend your entire life just being grateful. Can you? At some point, that gratitude has to morph into something else. Gratitude is saying thank you. And you don’t say thank you by neglecting to use what you’ve been given and taught.
I understand that you can’t let your life be ruled by ambition either. There has to be a point at which you say, “enough.” At which you stop reaching for more and bigger and better. But at the same time, without ambition, human civilisation would be a shadow of what it is today. Ambition, for all it’s vices, has propelled us to do some incredible things. Some terrible things too.
I don’t know whether gratitude is the antithesis to ambition. Can they co-exist? Or is it a zero sum game, where only one can dominate the other? Can there be gratitude in the presence of ambition? Can your striving for more be reconciled with the realisation that maybe you don’t need it? Can gratitude temper ambition and ensure it doesn’t overextend itself?