Ambition is what fuels people to want to achieve success. There are positive elements to ambition such as perseverance, and maintaining perspective. However, ambition can become a problem when you’re addicted to it. Ambition addiction is an obsession with wanting to be successful, no matter the cost. Studies show that addiction weakens action control. It weakens free will and overwhelms you with strong desires.
Ambition addiction is unhelpful in achieving your goals. It’s toxic competitiveness and makes you focus too much on trying to find career success when life needs to be more holistic. When you have ambition addiction, you may need to alter your behaviour and find a healthier routine.
Signs of ambition addiction
1. Grandiose dreams
The concept of a dream job can be looked at in two ways. Having a job you hope to work in at the peak of your career can be a good thing to work towards. However, it implies that the human experience should be limited to labour. A dream job makes it seem like all people should aim for is working more. But you can also think of a dream job as a way to maintain career focus.
When you let the dream go out of the realm of possibility and start sacrificing your duties and relationships, you may have an ambition addiction. Grandiose dreams can be indulged in once in a while but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your work. In addition, overworking yourself for a dream that has a low chance of happening is also unhealthy.
2. Only thinking about the future
Ambition addiction makes you contemptuous of the present. You are more concerned with the future, and the bottom line. Not taking the time to focus on the present can easily lead to burnout and chronic fatigue. It can also create existential stress because you feel like you’re wasting too much time whenever you rest. The cycle of productivity guilt, overworking, and all for a dream job is very unhealthy.
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3. Fast pace
Ambition addiction makes you impatient with yourself. You try to rush every project or work. It also causes erosion in work and personal relationships. If you’re addicted to ambition, you may also direct that impatience at the people you work with trying to push them to deliver more than they can.
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4. Poor mental health
Whenever setbacks happen, people addicted to ambition struggle to be pragmatic about them. Feeling low about a failure is expected and normal. However, ambition addicts can fall into deep depression or get constant anxiety from failure. Instead of learning from failure, they punish themselves or those around them. They can also abandon viable projects because they aren’t getting instant results.
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Comparing yourself to others is normal. Social media has also made this behaviour more common. However, when you let it determine your actions, it can be unhealthy. It can lead to envy of your peers and making poor decisions to push you further to your ambition. This can also make you be contemptuous towards others.
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6. Being unable to relax
Ambition addiction means foregoing what your body and mind need. When you want to gain success at the expense of everything, you get unhealthy sleeping habits such as staying up all night to complete work. Sacrificing rest for productivity can lead to fatigue, burnout, mental health deterioration, and illness. If any relaxing is to be done, it only happens during competitive scenarios, such as gambling.
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7. Being judgmental
Being addicted to ambition means you start having relationships that only serve your goals. Delineating relationships based on how much capitalist value they have is toxic. Prioritising your social interactions with only those who can further your career makes you miss out on meaningful friendships. Ambition addiction ruins relationships, and personal health, which can ultimately jeopardise your career more than help it.
How can you fix ambition addiction?
If you recognize most of these traits in your behaviour, you can take steps to get a better work-life balance. The first step is slowing down. Take breaks between workdays, learn to decompress, and add other healthy habits to your routine such as yoga or exercise. Reading a book or journaling at the end of a workday can help you reduce the pressure from work.
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Taking the time to be grateful for nature and small beauties, such as stopping to smell flowers or taking a walk in nature can help you relax. You can also take control of ambition addiction by resetting every weekend.
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Using a gratitude journal can also help you rewire your perspective. Being more grateful about your current position can also improve your workflow and help you achieve your goals better. Focus more on your relationships and improving them, rather than trying to deal in relationships that help your career. Relationships should be more about meaningful connections rather than profitability.
Scaling down your dreams also helps reduce ambition addiction. Mark your goals into something more achievable. Instead of saying you’ll be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company by the time you’re 40, try to focus on your current job. Dreams are a good way to remain focused but they shouldn’t control all your actions. They shouldn’t hurt others, ruin your health, or overwhelm you.
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