Analytical Mind

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A Doctor’s Take On Contentment

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I have spent the last few months on a project aimed at improving my professional status. It has not been exactly easy but phase one is over. All through this period, I have been resolute in my belief that the project is the right one and it is a sine qua non for advancement in my career.

Apparently, this belief is not iron-clad. As I reflected on the just concluded phase, I began to question the rationale for the entire project. Never mind that this came after my bank account has become cachectic and the walls of my hermitage several levels higher. The ‘morning after’ effect, probably. I wondered why I simply cannot just be satisfied with what I have become. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that ambition is not as easy as they say. It is actually some chore of some sort. I see it as a burden borne by the bearer, a responsibility to deliver.

I have come to accept that ambition is basically the price to pay for knowledge, skill, ability or talent. You just cannot play in the small leagues with that voice of yours or that brilliance with numbers. I think the correct way – with all adjustments inbuilt – to measure success is in relation to potential which needs to be matched with the appropriate level ambition. No doubt, it is a lot of work considering the easier option of easing off after university education. Overly modest ambition (or an absolute lack of it) is one of the several reasons why a seemingly average student does better than his brilliant – but unaspiring – colleagues after graduation.

Contentment is not a bad thing. However, it is overrated. Contented people have never built great businesses or functional communities. Sir Isaac Newton perfectly describes contentment in his First Law of Motion. It is a form of stagnation. You are happy with your lot but it is very likely that you’ll be happier if that lot increases. The thirst for growth is a Return on Investment (ROI) to God, family and country.

Be grateful for what you have but push on for more. That is if a university degree, a job and a car are not all you have room for in your definition of success.

P.S. Ambition is not synonymous with daydreaming.

Oluwatobi, a doctor, is an avid reader and a lazy writer. He loves his plantain firm and lightly fried. He is presently grooming himself for a future in academia and possibly public service when he is not sleeping. 

He is a contributor on Musings of An Analytical Mind and tweets via @Thobbieee.

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