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Is Perspective the Death of Ambition?

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MTEE1985

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Let’s just get to the nitty gritty fellow FLF members: is the idea of perspective really just scripted dogma? And is it a dangerous thing?

I know I know, another mindset post...really though I’m curious to hear others interpretations of this thought I’ve been having. @Bekit made a great thread related to perspective and how there is almost always somebody who has it worse than you. I am a strong believer in gratitude and thankfulness but it really got me thinking this nagging thought that society is being intentionally pumped full of these sayings and thoughts in an attempt to keep them happy with their jobs, homes, money etc.

For example, money and success is a borderline taboo subject in this world. Tell people your problems and you’ll get an overwhelming response of advice and well wishes, tell people about your successes and you get....crickets, if not ridicule. This forum is one of the only places I’m aware of where people would praise you for buying a supercar instead of trying to tear you down.

MJ touches upon this in Unscripted that anybody reading his books or on this forum has it better than probably 95% of the world. Absolutely a true statement in the context of none of us really have a good excuse for not succeeding.

What are people’s thoughts on that fine line of appreciation while at the same time not being complacent and still striving to reach your full potential and not just succeed compared to somebody in much more unfortunate circumstances?
 

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Suzanne Bazemore

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I don't think that the goals of appreciation and striving to be your best self are at odds with one another.

“Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
 

MHP368

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I feel like taking time every day to be grateful for what you have would add fire to your ambition not tame it.

If your cup is full you'll be more inclined to fill anothers cup , someone entrenched in themselves is anything but content.
 

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Yes, because if you are grateful for your blessings of talent and special skills, you want to use them, not bury them.
I cannot possibly convey what that sentence just did for my heart. I’m putting your quote in my commonplace journal. Many hugs.
 

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Let’s just get to the nitty gritty fellow FLF members: is the idea of perspective really just scripted dogma? And is it a dangerous thing?

I know I know, another mindset post...really though I’m curious to hear others interpretations of this thought I’ve been having. @Bekit made a great thread related to perspective and how there is almost always somebody who has it worse than you. I am a strong believer in gratitude and thankfulness but it really got me thinking this nagging thought that society is being intentionally pumped full of these sayings and thoughts in an attempt to keep them happy with their jobs, homes, money etc.

For example, money and success is a borderline taboo subject in this world. Tell people your problems and you’ll get an overwhelming response of advice and well wishes, tell people about your successes and you get....crickets, if not ridicule. This forum is one of the only places I’m aware of where people would praise you for buying a supercar instead of trying to tear you down.

MJ touches upon this in Unscripted that anybody reading his books or on this forum has it better than probably 95% of the world. Absolutely a true statement in the context of none of us really have a good excuse for not succeeding.

What are people’s thoughts on that fine line of appreciation while at the same time not being complacent and still striving to reach your full potential and not just succeed compared to somebody in much more unfortunate circumstances?
I too get that nagging feeling.

I used to get it growing up as a poor kid on a council estate (project), and the amount of times I heard the words; money doesn't buy you happiness, convinced me that that was something rich people made up to keep poor people happy.

This is probably why I shunned the whole "give thanks and be grateful" line, I remember recoiling when I read it at the end of TMFF and thinking 'ugh, why did he have to spoil it at the end there?'

However now I get it, if we don't stop to look around and see how far we've come, or where we could be if we had not chosen this path, then it's easy to get mired in needless negative thinking....

So perspective is good, as long as you don't use it as a self-flagellation tool.
 

ClaverCasley

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My friend said (his perspective) : Rich people are dishonest. So, don't get rich.

And quotes the Bible for that. Not realizing for the past 5 years we were able to grow our society with handful of donations. Thanks to our 'capitalist priest' who loves rich people, and knows how money and value works.

My friend said (her perspective) : Rich people surely bored all the time. Considering there's nothing to do because they have earned a lot. Why don't they give me just a bit of that.

She was bored with her studies. She had no choice but to finish it. Don't we always have a choice?

My client said (her perspective) : Successful people are dick. Nobody likes them. They are arrogant.

Yet, she tried thousands time to be a successful author.

I think OP is right. Perspective is the death of an ambition. And it could be worse if it is society's own definition of an ambition.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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However now I get it, if we don't stop to look around and see how far we've come, or where we could be if we had not chosen this path, then it's easy to get mired in needless negative thinking....

So perspective is good, as long as you don't use it as a self-flagellation tool.
I agree, also as long as you don't use it as a way to blame others for your mistakes or perceived failures. Take responsibility for your life, and own the choices that you make.
 

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As someone who was once a habitual pessimist (and still working on not being one), my view on that is it's important to strike balance. If you spend your time lamenting your circumstances and envying others who have it better, you will grow to be a curmudgeonly old petty person who blames others for their terrible plight. On the flip side, if you get too appreciative of what you have, you run the risk of complacency. So what's the solution? Balance. A balanced person views life as a journey and understands everyone is in their own position on that journey. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging the good things in life - you'll go insane if you don't. But acknowledgement with an asterisks is my policy. "Yea, I am making this good salary. Yea, I am athletic and try to be a conscientious person. This is my baseline. Soon I will add a popular web application to my arsenal of accomplishments that will open new doors.". That's just the kind of self-talk I use, it works for me.
 

Bekit

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Let’s just get to the nitty gritty fellow FLF members: is the idea of perspective really just scripted dogma? And is it a dangerous thing?

I know I know, another mindset post...really though I’m curious to hear others interpretations of this thought I’ve been having. @Bekit made a great thread related to perspective and how there is almost always somebody who has it worse than you. I am a strong believer in gratitude and thankfulness but it really got me thinking this nagging thought that society is being intentionally pumped full of these sayings and thoughts in an attempt to keep them happy with their jobs, homes, money etc.

For example, money and success is a borderline taboo subject in this world. Tell people your problems and you’ll get an overwhelming response of advice and well wishes, tell people about your successes and you get....crickets, if not ridicule. This forum is one of the only places I’m aware of where people would praise you for buying a supercar instead of trying to tear you down.

MJ touches upon this in Unscripted that anybody reading his books or on this forum has it better than probably 95% of the world. Absolutely a true statement in the context of none of us really have a good excuse for not succeeding.

What are people’s thoughts on that fine line of appreciation while at the same time not being complacent and still striving to reach your full potential and not just succeed compared to somebody in much more unfortunate circumstances?
Great topic!

The way I look at it, perspective and ambition are on two separate axes on a 2x2 grid.

Think of perspective on the X axis (negative/unhealthy on one end and positive/healthy on the other end).

Think of ambition on the Y axis (high/lofty ambition at the top and low/nonexistent ambition at the bottom).

My ambition is consistently high. I can't seem to turn that off. I'm always reaching higher, no matter what.

My perspective fluctuates. It can vary between a good, healthy perspective and a bad, negative perspective.

In other words, I can hang out in one of two quadrants: high ambition, negative perspective, or high ambition, positive perspective.

The thing is, I sure am a lot happier when I keep a positive perspective.

Plus, rather than making me complacent, I feel like keeping a positive perspective helps me to be in a better head space for good decision making, which leads to better outcomes, which leads to more positivity.

So, given the choice, I'd opt for a positive perspective every time.
 

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MTEE1985

MTEE1985

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The way I look at it, perspective and ambition are on two separate axes on a 2x2 grid.
As usual, thorough and brilliant write up. I love this idea of looking at it this way. As a visual person, which most people are, this is a great tool to use in keeping yourself in the right quadrant.

So, given the choice, I'd opt for a positive perspective every time.
Sigh...wouldn’t we all. :rofl:

I don't think that the goals of appreciation and striving to be your best self are at odds with one another.
I completely agree. My rant brings to mind phrases like “can’t you just be happy with what you have?” That is the type of stuff that can kill others ambition. Why can’t it be “Be happy for what you have and go out and reach your potential”

Yes, because if you are grateful for your blessings of talent and special skills, you want to use them, not bury them.
Nicely said. Rep+ to you and @Bekit for some great responses and thoughts here.
 

Andy Black

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Hmmm... I’m not sure I follow, so I’m not sure the following helps.

Anyway...

I remember reading that a beginning poker player gets upset when their great cards get beaten by someone else’s poor cards. Whereas a professional poker player gets neither upset, angry or excited, but just files info away that the other person gets into big pots with poor cards, reloads his chips, and keeps playing.

I’ve been trying to help a salesman friend be neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I feel he gets too excited when a client signs up, and too “gutted” if they churn. He’s on a roller coaster of emotions whereas I’m neither excited nor upset. I just file info away to help me perform better in the future.


Saying that, I do work hard to be a “Yes, and” kind of guy rather than be a “Yes, but” kind of guy. I try to keep on top of my thoughts and try to not allow negative thinking or speech patterns.

I also think “Giving thanks” is misunderstood and seriously underrated.

And that “Nothing’s so bad it can’t be worse.”

I don’t compare myself to others. I don’t try not to, it just doesn’t occur to me, and I’m too damn busy.


Does any of that help?
 

Silverfox148

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Interesting post, as 404 stated upthread balance is the key here.

The stat of being better off than 90+%( percent of the world) while I'm sure true, is from a monetary/materialistic perspective, I have zero doubt it's true. It's important to remind ourselves here that this is the case, and to have gratitude for it. We are better off here in terms of comfort, in other countries whcih I have experience in, the attitudes are completely different, teenage daughter pregnant? Maybe it's an issue for a day, then life goes back to surviving. The same scenario here in the U.S would turn into a multi year ordeal for the family. The situations just aren't compatible, in terms of human satisfaction the environments are too different to draw any clear conclusions.

However, for the unhappy non satisfied individual in the U.S/Western world, this doesn't mean much does it? They are still unsatisfied, in many cases it stems from not living up to self imposed expectations, everyone wants to be star, having high expectations is great, but if you don't know how to get there and are looking for "events" as MJ writes in his books instead of process it can be a real killer and a good path to non satisfaction. Events are heavily pushed here, and when said events don't happen the culture trots out the be grateful for freedom/90% states , etc.

I see gratitude/perspective, as a boost/fuel to get you to your desired destination, but it's not the destination, only you should ever define your destination.
 
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MTEE1985

MTEE1985

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Hmmm... I’m not sure I follow, so I’m not sure the following helps.
You’re following fine. The short version of my rant is really: why does perspective, as described in the mainstream, typically come at the cost of ambition?

I do work hard to be a “Yes, and” kind of guy rather than be a “Yes, but” kind of guy.
This is definitely the key. Instead of thinking “I should simply be grateful” a more powerful thought process would be “I should be grateful, and then see how I can achieve an even higher level of success or happiness for myself and others around me”

MLK, Emerson, Ford, Nietzsche all had great views on perspective which related more to humans capabilities. These days and where I see the danger is that people think perspective is about contentment at the expense of their ambition. (All in my humble opinion of course)
 

Andy Black

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Instead of thinking “I should simply be grateful” a more powerful thought process would be “I should be grateful, and then see how I can achieve an even higher level of success or happiness for myself and others around me”
I’m grateful for where I am in my journey, and even more grateful that I’m able to keep progressing in my journey.

I’m grateful that I live in times where I can bottle my skills and experience and reach more and more people.

I’m super grateful I discovered business and entrepreneurship, so I can bring my own ideas to life and not wait for other people’s permission.


Some folks want to start, but are too tangled up to take the first step. I’m grateful I don’t worry about “mistakes” or “failures” or people judging me.

I’m grateful I learned to view actions I take as experiments. To be curious about the outcome, and to neither get excited nor disappointed at the result.

I’m grateful that I don’t think the aim is to go faster. I’m content going slower and enjoying the journey.

I suppose I’m most grateful that my opinion of myself doesn’t depend much on what other people think. That need seems to drive people to do lots of things that make them unhappy.

I’m not interested in destinations, just movement.

Haha... I still don’t quite get it. Am I on the right track?
 
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MTEE1985

MTEE1985

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Haha absolutely.

I’m grateful for where I am in my journey, and even more grateful that I’m able to keep progressing in my journey.
This is exactly what I was hoping to convey. Your quote above shows appreciation combined with ambition instead of the scripted platitude of “Why can’t you just happy with what you have” which attempts to give perspective at the expense of ambition.
 

Suzanne Bazemore

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I’m super grateful I discovered business and entrepreneurship, so I can bring my own ideas to life and not wait for other people’s permission.
This feeling is a good one, no matter what phase you are in life when you discover it.

Some folks want to start, but are too tangled up to take the first step. I’m grateful I don’t worry about “mistakes” or “failures” or people judging me.
I have two kids, one about to graduate from college and the other right behind, trying to find his way, and I'm right there with them, about to get untangled. :smile2:

I’m grateful I learned to view actions I take as experiments. To be curious about the outcome, and to neither get excited nor disappointed at the result.

I’m grateful that I don’t think the aim is to go faster. I’m content going slower and enjoying the journey.
This. I am going to enjoy the journey.

Haha... I still don’t quite get it. Am I on the right track?
I think you get it just fine.
 

MJ DeMarco

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You’re following fine. The short version of my rant is really: why does perspective, as described in the mainstream, typically come at the cost of ambition?
I think any type of perspective can lead to lowered ambitions, but NOT the death of them.

Speaking for myself, perspective is WHY I'm here. And also gratefulness.

If I had higher ambitions for more wealth, a bigger house, a private jet, I certainly wouldn't be running a forum and writing. I'd sell all of this and start another business with higher scaling implications.

Like a lot of things in life, there is a balance. I still consider myself ambitious, but not to the extent that it is killing my perspective on what is in the NOW. Gratefulness is a NOW thought-pattern as is perspective. Ambition is a FUTURE construct.
 

Kid

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I'll throw my 2c.

Some time ago there was "reality" as in "Don't you know what the reality is?"

Now "perspective" is the new "reality".

So the problem is not reality, perspective or any other new convincingly sounding word
but the thing that sidewalkers will generate anything new in place of old excuse to keep their status quo.

Its not just semantics. When enough people will oppose old bullshit (excuse me for the word) the new comes to sidewalkers minds.
 
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Suzanne Bazemore

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If I had higher ambitions for more wealth, a bigger house, a private jet, I certainly wouldn't be running a forum and writing. I'd sell all of this and start another business with higher scaling implications.

Like a lot of things in life, there is a balance. I still consider myself ambitious, but not to the extent that it is killing my perspective on what is in the NOW. Gratefulness is a NOW thought-pattern as is perspective. Ambition is a FUTURE construct.
In that last boook we read, How To Get Rich, Felix Dennis acknowledged that he had a hard time not chasing money so he kept working and working.

I have the opposite problem of Felix, and I am more like you, @MJ DeMarco: I care about freedom, and my family knows it. I joked with them once that I could live in a tent, and they all agreed that yes, I could. So yes, it is a balance, and I value freedom above all else. Of course, I won't do anything to jeopardize my family. Recently, though, I started taking some steps to live how I want to live, instead of how I "ought" to live, and it actually opened my eyes in a refreshing way. I had been on autopilot for so long that taking a few steps in a different direction, and not just being a puppet, was like breathing in a huge lungful of fresh air.
 

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