On dealing with ambition

  • Before you pursue ambition make sure it is not a cover for escaping "what is" (our situation). Are you using ambition as a drug to numb the actual "crisis"?
  • Cause if we don't we might be able to escape temporarily but the crisis or real issue will still be there, causing conflict and misery. Do not let ambition be an escape from something about yourself that you cannot confront.

Conflict is denial of what is

  • The longer we leave this conflict the more complex it becomes. This is because as we fail in deriving tranquility from our various ambitious endeavors / escapes, without knowing what we are wanting, we get progressively more frustrated and miserable.
  • Is your ambition to attain simplicity and tranquility? or is it complexity and conflict?
  • Separate the concept of progress and ambition.Ambition does not always lead to progress. Ambition without proper analysis can lead to regress.
  • Let your primary ambition be to achieve peace of mind. In fact let us not call it ambition, instead let us call it attainment of peace of mind.
  • Understand that it is a general tendency of people to carry on chasing ambition pointlessly. These are the two common scenarios -
    • There are some who carry on pursuing ambition which they have committed to in order to avoid the shame of quitting.
    • On the other hand there are some who suffer from endless vacillations of mind and quit frequently. Such a person uses change of career path or job as a remedy for failure or an escape from reality.
  • So what is the solution should we retire or keep going?
  • We should quit but quit slowly. We should neither throw our hands up and quit as soon as things get hard, nor be stubborn and soldier on in a direction that does not give us peace of mind.



  • So how to ascertain if you will attain peace of mind with your next endeavor. Before chasing your ambition do the following -

    • Attain a good estimate of your own ability. Honestly asses you ability from prior experience. Keep on improving this estimate as you live.

      A carrier should be stronger than the load

    • Attain a good estimate of the nature of your ambition

      • Your ambition should have and end. I cannot be a continuous drain which keeps creating more work and complexity.
      • Will pursuit of your ambition need you to perform tasks that take you away from what you set out to attain.
    • Attain a good estimate of the impact your ambition will have on people
      • How many people will it help. For we attain tranquility by helping people?
      • Who would it harm?
      • Will it get you closer to what is?
  • If these estimates are not favorable to your rationality, and you have enough for sustenance, then leisure (peace of mind) is more favorable than toil.

  • e.g. Do you want to be a rich or have financial freedom? the latter can be achieved with peace of mind.

Notes from the essay Ambition in Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti by Krishnamurti

Notes from Of Peace of Mind by Seneca

Top this up with On dealing with work