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Lack of Ambition in the Bay Area

May 29th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
A year ago, I wrote of my frustrations in finding others who were hungry or wanting to take over the world.  I couldn't put my finger on why I was stuck in the situation (and still am).  I thought perhaps it was a generational gap, since my social circles mainly consisted of people who were often more than 8 years older than me when I was in middle and high school.  At other times, I thought it was perhaps society degrading overall and becoming more flakey, passive.

I'm starting to wonder if perhaps I just don't belong on the west coast though, or at least in the bay area.  I've been reading more about the east coast (and just other places in general); this article, for example, mentions how ambition is often shunned in the bay and that really hit home for me as that is the treatment I get from most my peers:

Likewise the herd mentality to do what's cool or trendy rather than find something you really care or are passionate about is a real drainer:

I don't know if I have it in me to really want to move and abandon everything I've created here already though.  The rational side of me is continuously telling me that I'm just suffering from a "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome and would likely be just as disappointed if I move.  We'll see.

However, this is not to say that nothing gets done in the bay area.  There is definitely a lot happening here and much progress being made. For me, however, ambition is not just the fact of getting a lot done but also how you approach things.  For me, I see ambition as being passionate and driven about what you do to the point you always want more.  I don't want to meet another programmer who tells me they only program for work and not for fun. Or another designer making a simple, catchy app for the quick buck or because that's what everyone else is making these days. If you take away the external incentives, it should not change what you are doing or how you approach it. You should not need someone to incentivize or push you towards what you're doing if you're really passionate and driven. The incentive should be the activity itself because you truly enjoy what you're doing.

The dreams I see from many others are just so small or nonexistent. Too much falling back on the statistics as an excuse on why you shouldn't try harder or aim higher. Too much trying to sound practical when the truth is they haven't tried.

I've been asked on more than one occasion what it is precisely I want from doing all of this, but it really isn't that complicated - doing all of this is itself what I want. The pursuit itself is the reason. I want to do as much as I can because it is satisfying and fun. There is no secret agenda. There is no compelling reason convincing me to be this way.  There is no "end goal" - just always seeing how much further you can go.  The desire is pure.

And that unfortunately seems to be getting harder and harder to find.
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  1. May-29-2014, 01:19pm

    Interesting article, but the author does mention at the end that he
    believes it could be applied to "...any creative pursuit—fashion, visual
    art, music," and so I'm not sure you could generalize it to any field. And
    his arguments don't seem all that compelling to become more ambitious.

    I'm not sure of what you're looking for exactly, either, since it really
    isn't JUST ambition you want to find. There's tons of ambitious people, but
    aren't you looking for something else along with it? Hard working, good
    values, same end goal as you? I think you would feel exactly the same you
    do now if you move without pinpointing what exactly you want in and from
    other people. Are you looking for people to join you and help you reach
    your end goal/share the same view of what needs to be done/should be done?
    People who are already ambitiously pursuing their own ideas?

    What are you trying to get done, anyway? "Take over the world" how? With
    what? What's your end goal?

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