Why ambition might be destroying your happiness

Why ambition might be destroying your happiness

Just the other day I wrote about how giving up control might be good for your happiness (HERE). Well, today I'm happy to share with you an interesting article that suggests ambition may not be all it's cracked up to be either!

In Men's Health News Madeline Haller writes…

Although that new promotion makes for killer bragging rights, your newfound success may not make you as happy as you think. People who are ambitious may achieve more success, but that trait doesn’t necessarily translate to living a happier life, says a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Researchers tracked 717 people over a 70-year period. When they compared people who classified as ambitious (i.e. graduated from a prestigious school and went on to a high paying job) against more laid-back subjects, they found the ambitious folks actually came out less satisfied.

The problem: Ambitious people tend to escalate their goals based on attainments. So for example, if you get one pay raise, you expect another, says Timothy Judge, Ph.D., lead study author and a professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The nature of ambition makes it hard to ever feel you met your goals, says Judge.

It’s not a bad quality, though. Ambition produces attainment and achievement, and these are very important to the success of individual careers, organization effectiveness, and overall economy, says Judge.

But how exactly can you have your cake and eat it too? Simple: You have to change your views on satisfaction.

“Our outlook on this whole happiness-success model is broken,” says Shawn Achor, M.S., author of The Happiness Advantage and founder of Good Think Inc. “The idea that we should work hard now to be happy later will never get us anywhere if we don’t take time to enjoy the present.” (But don’t enjoy the present too much! Follow these 7 Tips for Fiscal Happiness.)

So follow these simple suggestions from Achor on how to instantly upgrade your outlook.

Savor the Moment

The big problem with “type A” individuals (those who are extremely ambitious) is, they don’t stop to actually savor their achievements, says Achor. Therefore, this milestone doesn’t bring them the happiness that it probably should. Your move? Prioritize your happiness first and actually celebrate your successes, says Achor. The next time you get a raise, land that promotion, or even hit that weight loss goal you’ve been working toward, make sure you share the good news with those closest to you and hit up a happy hour to celebrate…

…finding this interesting? To read the full and original article JUST CLICK HERE

And please note – I'm not suggesting in any way that control and/or ambition are all bad; and I'm certainly not suggesting that happiness is about having NO control or NO ambition. But it is important to think carefully about all of these issues and especially, the pros and cons, from a happiness perspective, of unrealistic expectations (e.g. that we can control everything) and excess drive (which might mean we never really enjoy the moment). Just something to ponder… : )