Do you like people without ambition? Why or why not?When I was younger, I looked down on people without ambition. What kind of uninspired unmotivated lazy beings must they be, if they didn't have an ounce of ambition in their life! "Without ambition" will never be me -- I want to make something of myself! Do good! Make my mark in life!
I would ask brute questions to people about why they think they are doing anything important. When I'm asked by others, I list of a string of ambitious goals and I have a good story for each goal and why I will achieve them.
Now that I'm much older, I learned that "ambition" looks different in different people. Just because I set a certain type of goal, does not mean others don't set their own goals, and want to make something of themselves.
I learned that most of the time, people I viewed as "lacking ambition" have dreams I did not know about, and based on my judgmental ways, I'd never find out about their dreams because they are smart enough to know to keep their mouths shut around judgment and negativity.
So when I asked people, some may look uncomfortable, others may say "nothing much, I just want to..." -- at which point I'd tune them out and they'd confirm they were correct about me being a pompous ass.
I've gone through extreme ambitious phases in career and life, have succeeded and failed, and I'm grateful to say -- humbled enough to know I shouldn't judge without understanding what "ambition" actually means.
When I look up the origin of "ambition", it means to go around cavorting for votes and favorable opinions... basically, to get people to like you enough to do what you wanted them to do, and to flatter you and make you feel important. The original intent of the word "ambition" was a pejorative sense, grouped with vanity. Somehow, this has transformed in today's society to mean that a person has positive and important desires for oneself and/or humanity....
...Or does it? I don't think "ambition" has changed in its root. Our social interpretation of ambition is what has changed.
Now, goals trump relationships, money defines success, sounding good and looking good can be more important than doing good. When I hear "fake it until you make it", it usually does not mean "keep doing good and being kind until you believe yourself to be a good-doer and kind person" -- it usually means "pretend you are rich, buy that house you can't afford and drive that car you can't ever own until people are convinced you are that wealthy, then maybe you can get that chance you deserve." How is this helping us society becoming a smarter-aware entity, that looks beyond the surface to see what makes a person a functional and contributing integral of community and family?
Ambition is evolving the same way. Now, we judge people on a set of criteria that arbitrarily determines whether their life should be valuable or worthwhile. Most of the time I am not reminded of whether I am "ambitious" unless I think of myself comparing with "my peers". Ambition is making choices aligned with social expectations of Leaning In and Winning Friends and Influencing People. Ambition is what you can monetize.
I have learned to remove "ambition" as a criteria for liking someone, because it tells me less about that person's values than what truly is motivating and inspiring a person. I can't say that I no longer judge a person whom I view as lacking ambition, but I know this says more about my shortcoming than the other person.