Ambition and anxiety

When the goals that propel us forward are thwarted, it's easy to give up. If we try, there is a risk of failing, mediocrity, or not reaching the benchmark we set for ourselves. We can give it our best shot and still not make the money, gold, recognition of our peers, or our fathers approval. The reward could be humiliation despite our utmost effort.

If you can:

  • Clarify your goals, eliminate your doubts and pump up your own determination.
  • Speak to the nagging, angst-laden voice inside. Whose voice is that?
  • Then ask yourself “where and when have I experienced success”?
  • Relive the experience, what’s the image?
  • Hold onto the image and then our innate desire for fulfilment will kick in and function to keep out depression while lifting our spirits.

Once our basic needs are met (Maslow) do we turn to protecting others and the world we live in (Gandhi), or do we turn to excelling as much as possible to reach our potential?

Every minute of every day we have a choice. Without a choice we face the abyss of a lack of purpose.

After suffering the setbacks of loss, of second place, a perceived rejection... do we accept the situation and resort to begging, drain the bottle and obliterate our senses or, do we review and reframe?

  • How many times did Edison flick the switch before it flickered to a flame?
  • Did Maslow preach; stay stuck in the reeds or self-realisation?
  • Is your dream of success a grudging grind and dependence a safe, risk-free certainty?
  • In the Western World do we have a choice?
  • If success is measured in money, status and firsts or pleasing the parents, is this really soothing our soul?

Really reflecting and recording what makes your heart sing, means moving away from the brainwashing norms we are saturated in. If we dared to sit with our inner voice we might hear:

“Spend time with our children instead of extra hours in the office.”
“Spend hygge hours doing good, instead of spending on the latest... (you fill in the blanks)."

Do you dare measure your success / ambition?

The choice is yours. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Muswell Hill N10 & Central London SE1
Written by Mary Mcilroy, BACP Accredited (Anxiety specialist). Bupa listed 30060387
Muswell Hill N10 & Central London SE1

I am a registered counsellor with the BACP. The areas where I work are: London Bridge/The City of London and Muswell Hill/London N10. Although I help people mainly with issues of anxiety and depression, I cover many other areas.

Please visit my website for more information:

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