Is renunciation of ambition the key to achieving inner peace? Unnecessary. Instead, the key is to channel your ambition toward a health-promoting objective.
Richard Ryan, clinical psychologist and founder of Self-Determination Theory, a school of thought that focuses on human motivation, states, “We wanted to ensure that greed.” Our hopes are directed in ways that pique our interest. The pursuit of health is only advantageous if “we do it in a way that does not destroy the rest of our lives.”
Ambition is neither inherently beneficial nor detrimental to mental health. According to a well-known 2012 study based on data from hundreds of people followed for seven decades, ambition was found to be a strong predictor of career success but a weak predictor of life satisfaction. living.
Your ambitious objectives can have a greater effect on your mental health. Consistently, research has demonstrated that those who are motivated by “external” signs of success, such as wealth, status, or fame, are less psychologically accomplished than those who are motivated by “internal” signs of success. Motivated by “intrinsic” factors, such as personal development, deep relationships, or comprehension.
Tim Kasser, emeritus professor of psychology at Knox University, explains, “Achieving an external goal in the short term can be satisfying, but it doesn’t last.”
Here are five methods supported by research for doing so.
Put your relationships first
According to Ryan, ambition can become harmful when it “overpowers” other essential aspects of life. He stated, “Aspiration is something that requires effort.” If you want to be successful and have ambition, you must emphasize it heavily. ” If that motivation comes at the expense of things that are psychologically satisfying, such as strong relationships or time autonomy, it can be detrimental to mental health.
Pay attention to the task, not the reward
Focusing on achievement for its own sake — completing a task, learning something new, or making a positive change for your client or community — rather than simply striving for the next promotion or pay raise is associated with a greater sense of fulfillment, according to research.
Attempting to advance
Instead of allowing ambition to dominate your life, you can adopt a “growth mindset,” which is the belief that intelligence is not fixed and can be developed. Judge suggests that it may be preferable to pursue growth — acquiring or refining a skill or cultivating a trait you admire in others — rather than specific goals such as obtaining a job title or salary.
Humans have materialistic tendencies by nature, particularly in capitalist societies. However, Kasser’s research indicates that suppressing these desires can be beneficial to mental health.
Gratitude and mindfulness can help. In one study, those who meditated daily reported greater financial satisfaction and greater happiness. Regular reflections on gratitude, relationships, or mortality have also been shown to reduce materialism, thereby promoting mental health.
Do not attempt to profit from everything
Have you ever lost interest in a favorite pastime after it became a side interest? There is a scientific explanation for this.
Researchers discovered decades ago that attaching extrinsic motivations (such as monetary rewards) to enjoyable activities reduces the intrinsic motivation to continue doing them. If psychological fulfillment is your objective, you may be better off without the additional funds.