Often when we are asked what we do or what we want to do with our lives it’s all about careers, we define ourselves by our job, we express our hopes to one day be a “Manager” or that “when I get a proper job” it will be as a Graphic designer or solicitor, or some other “good” job we associate success and therefore money with.
When we say we want to travel people say, but what will you do after, or what do you REALLY want to do with your life. Why do we limit our lives ambitions to careers and the material things that it brings. Why not be more ambitious, why not strive to create a life you really want instead of limiting yourself by career…
I mean lets be honest, if I asked you right now what you would want to do tomorrow if you could do anything would it be to sit on a beach somewhere, climb a mountain, explore the culture of a new city… or sit in a stuffy office all day sucking up to your dick of a boss, eating a stale sandwich at your desk and getting home at some ungodly hour with zero energy left to do something for yourself?
We all know we don’t want to be in work, all I hear on a Monday is “Ohhh, back to the grind” with a look of downtrodden resignation. Back to giving your life away for someone else’s dream all for a fancy title and maybe an extra few £’s an hour at some unspecified point in the future. That car you gave up 18 months of your life for is sat on the carpark gathering dust all day, it’s only real purpose to ferry you to and from work! That massive house you grafted for 15 years for is empty 12 hours of the day whilst you give up your week.
Time is money they say, and they are right. Time is like pennies in a bank account slowly slipping away from us, only we can’t see the balance and when it might run out. Time is something we seem to spend frivolously: weeks, months, years forcing ourselves to do something we hate. Time should be the thing you spend wisely, money on the other hand; that can come and go, time however, you ain’t getting that back!
Now, OK. I hear the collection of cheers from one set of the converted and groans of “get real kid” from the others! I told someone the other day about our plans and our ideas, the response was. “That’s great and I’d love to do that, but I have a mortgage and a job”… Guess what! So do we! We know about the “real world” all too well. These ideas come from being in the grind ourselves, and instead of grinning and bearing it, having the courage to be honest, jump off and take our own path.
Ambition isn’t following a pre-organised route, ambition is taking a chance to trail-blaze!
So, this thing called work then, we all have to do it once in a while! We are realists, we understand the world revolves around money and although you can indeed travel for much less than you imagine we understand that this money must be worked for, and we have no issue with grafting.
The key fact to remember is that work should serve you, not the other way around. If you tie yourself down you allow work to dictate to you how you live your life. Asking permission to use your own time, even the very concept of “spare time”… this way of working in itself isn’t ambitious at all, sure, your CEO might tell you it is, but of course they would. Otherwise they would have to admit they have wasted 50 years of their life all for a big car and a big house… but no actual life.
Working in a bar on a beach, instructing climbers off the coast of Thailand, picking fruit on a farm in the outback, cleaning chalets in a sky resort or even teaching kids English from a rundown mud village might not on the surface appear ambitious. But that’s because it doesn’t fit a binary and established way of being “ambitious” and because it doesn’t imply a bucket load of cash. But what it does is allow work to serve a greater purpose: Experiences.
Hell, you can even still be a graphic designer from a beach half way around the world, and not only will you be more inspired and energetic, but you can do it on your own terms. Sometimes the greatest things are the most scary or unpredictable. Leaving a job, a path and a home behind is hard and frightening. But spending half your life doing something for someone else instead of being honest with what you really want from life is even more scary in our opinion.
Being ambitious with your life involves risks and leaps of faith, the route may not always be clear, but it’s your own.
I would much rather be climbing a mountain than a career ladder someone else convinced me I should be on. Don’t be defined by your career, don’t allow work to guide your life and marginalise your passions for the sake of “normality”. Don’t try and squeeze the life you want into your “spare time”, instead: work around your life, allow it to be your liberation and not your limitation.
When someone askes you what do you do. Don’t say “I work in an office” or “I’m an accountant”… Say: I’m what ever I choose to be, an adventurer, a traveller and experiencer of life. I am someone who lives with passion and I wear it on my sleeve…because I can.
Why is ambition linked to career? For us our ambition stretches much further than the confines of an office or a high salary for giving our lives away… our ambition is to create a life, not a job, not an escape, but a whole life that we love instead of sitting back with constipated emotions and dreams.
One of the things we realised recently was this: When it comes to jobs we have no idea what we really want to do, most people in fact don’t and most kind of “fall into” a career. So why spend the majority of our time (8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year until we are 70+) doing something we are indifferent about or “put up with” so we can do the things we love in our spare time? Why not do the only thing we really know we want to do: Travel, and work the rest out around that! That’s a work life balance, and that’s our ambition!
So what is your ambition?
Photos from Pavey Ark, Lake District & Mt Snowdon, Wales.