Am I the only one who looks down on people who aren't ambitious?

Anonymous Monkey's picture
Anonymous Monkey

After reading the thread on WSO about 'what do you fear' I noticed a few responses about being average and not living to your full potential etc. I said in that thread my fear was living a normal and boring lifestyle and a few users agreed with me.

I tend to look down at people who aren't ambitious. I went to a friend's house that was super nice, 4 guest bedrooms, all sandstone, he had a Brand C Class and he was only 19 etc and his parents owned a business. He was a great guy and was very welcoming. But part of me couldn't help but look down at his attitude as he isn't ambitious at all, not going to college or doing a trade or having an ambitious attitude. Look I come from a good background and my parents are probably worth low to mid 7 figures but that really don't buy status items etc and keep it very humble for me and my siblings, but living off my parents hard work doesn't sit well with me.

My point is that when someone just wants to live a cruisey life and not try and grab life by the balls I lose respect for them. I know this is wrong and life isn't just succeeding and doing the right things but I feel because of my own attitude this impacts my valuations of others in general. Ambitious is a broad term but I guess hardworking, motivated, hustler etc is what I'm trying to get across as.

Does anyone else on WSO look down on others who aren't ambitious?

Comments (32)

Sep 17, 2018

I used to but I stopped a while ago because I think a lot of ambition is the result of experiences you had early on in life that shape you. I noticed people that have been blessed with good fortune don't tend to be too hard working, or they think they're hard working but they aren't. I think the only reason I'm "ambitious" is because I was forced to earn a lot of money quickly because I expected to be severely disabled by now. Got lucky (...super lucky..) and avoided that but it left me with a really solid work ethic and altruistic long-term goals.

Also it's not healthy to look down on anyone. I don't like leeches that live off their parents money either but who knows, maybe they have some sort of issue you don't know about...

Sep 17, 2018

I feel like I used to, when I was younger, but now I realize how much someone's success is determined by luck and their personal upbringing. And also, now I realize how much issues like depression and anxiety don't discriminate across income classes. Like it might seem like someone is living an easy life, living off their parents' hard work, but you never know what someone is going through, and maybe they're miserable. Some people like to just lie around and play Fortnite all day. Can't really blame them. Maybe if I was born to better circumstances, I'd be the same way. Life is hard for everyone, no use looking down on people.

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Sep 17, 2018

No, I don't look down at regular folks enjoying life. With big goals comes big sacrifice, and no mater how good, talented, driven, etc. you are, there's a huge part of uncertainty, and things you have absolutely zero control over. For every successful person, you will find hundreds that were just as (if not more) ambitious, smart, and driven - but some x factor didn't happen.

Take sports, for example. The difference between being a winner and loser can be microscopic, but at the end of the day, the winner is set for life, while the loser has to become a coach.

But of course, not everyone aims for the absolute top. Not everyone wants to become a world champion, the apex in his/her field. It's all about risk vs reward, and having some ambition will surely be better than none at all. The difference between being regular or upper middle-class vs poor can come down to a college degree.

So, no, I do not look down on people that don't wan to become the next Jeff Bezos / Bill Gates / Warren Buffett / or whatever. But I also think it's healthy to set goals, and try to achieve them. People are motivated by so, so many different things, it's impossible to judge people on that alone.

Also, it is my experience that younger people (especially guys) tend to be more motivated and driven. But it could also be that they're just woefully naive about the reality of things. (With that said, success also seems to follow momentum. Rarely do people just go from 0 to 100 overnight - it's an incremental process where one goal leads to the next).

Sep 17, 2018

Dude, never bitch about your competition when they're making a mistake. I believe Napoleon said something like that. Maybe instead of being an asshole and complaining about others, be happy you have less competition and go do something productive buddy.

Sep 17, 2018

So true mate! Thats a great quote and a great way to look at the situation

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Sep 17, 2018

I truly love reading posts of students who have not set foot in the real world yet to suffer their first setback.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    • 8
Sep 17, 2018

Seriously. I was extremely ambitious in college and at the very beginning of my career. I could think of nothing except how to make it to the next level and couldn't understand those without the same mindset.

Then guess what? Life happened. My mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness and my wife's cancer returned all within the same year. I had my own health issues that someone at 26 shouldn't have to worry about. I still am ambitious and always striving to move forward; however, it's no longer the only thing on my mind.

The point is, people hit roadblocks that are more impactful than getting dinged at a BB. Priorities change. You don't know people's circumstances or where their motivations come from.

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Sep 17, 2018

This hits way too close to home man, +1 for being real.

Sep 18, 2018

My heart goes out to you man. I personally had my younger sibling have cancer not long ago and it really screwed me up and I've had mental health issues following that. I think it's made me stronger and have greater perspective on life and what life's really about.

Sep 18, 2018

delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete delete

Sep 19, 2018

It's pretty hilarious seeing complete random folk online assume what your life's been like.

Sep 20, 2018
Wolfofgeorgestreet:

I personally have seen one of my younger siblings have a very serious cancer and that really fucked me tbh and I've had subsequent mental health problems following that. I don't want to create a sob story but I'd like to know which part of that is not a setback? Perhaps making blanket statements online without knowing someone's past isn't the most wise thing to do.

Is that any different to what you're doing though, looking down on others when you may not have the full story? I mean, look down on people as you wish, but you can't have it both ways.

Anyway, regarding the topic, that just stems from immaturity. I'm not having a go, I probably had the same attitude at your age (you're early 20s now, correct?), but to everyone else here, it sounds really over the top and contrived. It's kind of like when you hear high-school kids talking big, and you cringe/laugh at them. They put a lot of value in being cool, and as someone older than them, it seems trivial/immature. Same goes for students/recent grads - they aren't in touch with the adult world yet, and say shit that makes you gag. Frankly, idgaf what other people are doing or not. I worry about what I'm doing, and the yardstick for that is whatever I choose.

You'll get there though, and this isn't a race to the finish. I just want/hope you understand why some of the comments here aren't reciprocating.

Sorry to hear about your sibling.

Most Helpful
Sep 17, 2018

It's really a matter of how you want to spend your time on earth. We're all born and we all die. As the phrase goes, "it's about the dash". How do you define success? How do you define ambition? Everyone is wired differently. Some would argue the most successful / ambitious are the ones who figure out how to support their family while flying under the radar so they can actually be with their family whenever they want. Others will define it by salary, position or status.

For the young 'ins still reading, here's some perspective.

Older brother - HBS, McKinsey, Corporate CEO. Owns several homes, wealth to support his family and their families forever. 60. Still works around the clock (might be a workaholic). Spends little time with family due to travel schedule (yet very close with family - still not present most of the time).

Me - UG degree. Business owner / operator. 54. Have owned business for over 20 yrs. Built it up to generate good revenue (handsomely support my lifestyle). Hardly ever travel for work. Made family (being present) a priority. ALWAYS attended school events, recitals, games. Helped with homework. Was generally one of the few dads at field trips and other school events. Don't kill myself with work. Very focused in specific areas to generate revenue and let everything else pretty much slide. Maybe work 25-30 hours per week and have been for several yrs - like at least 10 (just a focused 25 - 30).

Bro has way more money than me, beach penthouse, fancy trappings, etc. I went to every single baseball game throughout son's high school career (to the point where the AD got me involved in the coach selection process when we needed to hire a new one). I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. I assume Bro is super happy with his world. We have enough to do what we want so I'm quite happy with mine.

Was he more ambitious? No. Just different. Don't assume you know anything about anyone's ambition, motivation or situation.

    • 23
Sep 18, 2018

That's such an awesome write up mate. +1

    • 1
Sep 17, 2018

I think you have a point about this person potentially lacking in ambition. You probably look down on them because you see yourself as an ambitious person and you're thinking about growth being so young, and who you're around to help you grow.

Hopefully when you get older, simply growing a specific area you think defines you at all costs should become less important. You want to grow areas of life that you are weaker in. Once you see some accomplishments that start to define your path, being around a bunch of wound up "ambitious" hardos becomes less interesting.

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Sep 19, 2018

Good post..

Can already see that now tbh, some of the people that are as "ambitious" as me can come off as extremely wound up/anxiety ridden - not the best vibe to be around 24/7.

Sep 17, 2018

spend less time judging others and more time trying to better yourself, you'll be happier, live longer, and be less of a douche.

    • 3
Sep 17, 2018

There's really no point at looking down on others if they're living a life that makes them happy and satisfied. To each his own

    • 2
Sep 17, 2018

And then I grew up

    • 1
Sep 17, 2018

Being ambitious/motivated is all bullshit. Everyone wants to be successful but barely anyone has the work-ethic, connections, luck/talent to make it happen.

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Sep 17, 2018

There has to be people who are not ambitious in certain regards otherwise this world we be too competitive. If someone's life goal is just to get married or something like that I completely respect that person,

I guess another to think of it is that you can be happy that the person will not be "getting in your way"

Sep 18, 2018
Wolfofgeorgestreet:

Does anyone else on WSO look down on others who aren't ambitious?

I look down on people who look down on people.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Funniest
Sep 18, 2018

You look down on yourself for looking down on this dude?

    • 3
Sep 19, 2018
ResearchLackey19:

You look down on yourself for looking down on this dude?

Yes, technically.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Sep 18, 2018

I can't understand them but I don't look down on them.

Sep 18, 2018

Ambition is just one personality trait among many. It's commendable and certainly one I share, but I don't look down on others for not having it.

The faster you realize there are all types in this world, good and bad and everything in between, the better off your life will be.

    • 1
Sep 21, 2018

You aren't special.

The sooner you drill that into your mind, the easier your life will become.

    • 1
Sep 22, 2018
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Sep 23, 2018
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heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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