In Defense of Having a Simple, Unambitious (?), Non-glamorous Life

Though it’s not really my cup of cake, once in a while, I’d stumble upon stories of successful people. Multi-billionaire businessman, CEO of whatever Start-Ups, that super smart ambitious guy who works 120 hours for his cutting edge-companies. All that amazing stories–which put people in awe. Many people aim to be like those successful people, which I don’t think is bad. On the contrary, having such a high drive to success or becoming ‘the next greatest thing’ is actually a cool, great thing.

Until they start looking down upon other people’s choice to have an average life or think that being the next greatest thing is the only way to have a remarkable, meaningful life.

Now, before you are judging me further, I’ll tell you that up until now, I have been actively challenging myself in various area. When I was in middle school, I decided to work my ass to go into an academically challenging high school. So did during the College. I was shitting myself for choosing a tough route (in my capability) for my graduation project, and next–in Graduate school. I like challenging and prove myself that I can achieve most of the things I want to achieve if I put a hard work (or, smart work), even though luck might play a role in how much I succeed. That, my friend, is what keeping me motivated most of the time. In short, I don’t think I am that ‘lazy’ as people would think of ‘unambitious’ …

It’s just being a multimillionaire businessman, or a CEO, or ‘the next greatest thing’ is not my goal. In contrary, currently I am pretty satisfied to have a good, reasonably challenging job in a company, while still have some time to do the things I love, spend time with people I care about, and have a room to contemplate about many things, or simply stop and enjoy the moment.

Does that make my life mediocre or less meaningful? Is it a sin if I am not a fan of Elon Musk or Steve Jobs?

Compared to some of my friends who already become a CEO, VPs, or such, my goals are not very ambitious. It’s mostly short-termed. If any, my longer, ultimate goal is probably just ‘contribute to the world in any way, within my best capability and knowledge’ and that is even too broad to define. I am pretty much happy if I can work as a part of a bigger cause or bigger goal, and if can see how people benefit from the work I do. I am happy if people find the things I write on my blog bring a new perspective, or they get something positive out of it, or if they can find an answer to their problem. It is very simple, unambitious, nothing special. In fact, probably anyone can do that.

Aiming for the stars is not a bad thing. I am still amazed by people who have a dream that high, and such dream is a great thing to have. It’s just sometimes people fail to see that not everyone is cut out to be an astronaut. Not everyone is a CEO type, and just because you don’t have a dream to own a company, doesn’t mean you are doomed by a meaningless and mediocre life. No offense to Elon Musk fans out there, but working 120 hours a week and sleeping in your office floor doesn’t seem appealing to me, no matter what kind of success that might follow. Maybe I am more of a realist than a dreamer.

Besides, having your life on spotlight constantly sounds like a recipe for a miserable life to me. I am more comfortable working behind the scene where I can freely move from one place to another, from one work to another, from one idea to another, without a circumstance that force me to be overly self-conscious to protect my image. Because just admit it, that’s what gonna happen once you are famous, like it or not. I like the freedom offered by the simple life I am living.

And in my defense, having a simple, unambitious, non-glamorous life doesn’t mean there is no challenge at all, or there is no room for growth. This world never run out of challenging problem, big or small. Being an astronaut, or CEO, is not the only challenging thing. And meaning, is something each person can define.

Go aim for the stars, as high as you would like to. Just don’t look down upon people who try to clean the earth, or make a better place for human to live.

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