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The key to well-being is in balance

The key to well-being is in balance

The twenty-first century has embraced the very idea of ​​ambition. According to RAE, this term refers to an intense desire to achieve something, especially power, wealth, dignity, or fame. When we make success the primary value in our life Ambition can be insane. We set ourselves unattainable goals, which means that we are always trying to achieve something that we will not achieve,” shares clinical psychologist Elena Dabra. On the contrary, aspiration is understood as a drive to achieve realistic goals and acceptance of one’s limitations, can improve life satisfaction.

One of the most common problems of frustration in society is precisely that goal oriented ambition hardly understandable. “In a connected society like Western society, especially through social networks, individual accomplishments are not limited to the private sphere. They are shared and help create a sense of status, as in the case of someone who “succeeds” in a business and starts spending the summer in paradise or buying cars Expensive Jorge Blanco, a sociologist and researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid, explains that these things can ultimately be desired by someone who is not in a position to achieve such accomplishments.

The “If You Want You Can” Trap

This statement is not an axiom, because it is conditioned by some factors

One of the biggest problems with ambition lies in what really counts as success.

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According to the teacher, this situation incorporates a variable out of reach. “We don’t rely exclusively on personal goals that we can set for ourselves, but rather are exposed to the benefits of others, which can be unattainable and generate frustration,” he adds.

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The supposed empowerment idea spread that if you want something, you can have it. But this saying is not an axiom, because it is conditioned by some factors. From a social perspective, the spread of this motivational phrase constitutes a trap or false hope. This rhetoric is still an elite strategy towards the majority of people who are not in the same position. In this way they continue a lifestyle and a way of working that makes them believe that they can catch up to their level, by consuming goods and labour. But, although we know that social mobility exists, the top of the social ladder is captured and reserved for a few,” explains Blanco.

If the goals are not realistic, you have to face rejection. There is an acceptance of the limitations of the individual as a human being


Elena DabraClinical psychiatrist

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A man shows his frustration by hitting him with his fist on a laptop keyboard

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One of the biggest problems with ambition lies in what really counts as success. Dabra reveals, “When my primary value as a human being is success associated with power and attainment of material things, that’s insane.” The psychologist points out that in this moment we can find ourselves in a state of frustration and tolerance of frustration …


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“You can, but as long as you set yourself realistic and measurable goals, with meaning and logic. We fail at the unrealistic. If the goals are not realistic, you have to face rejection. Then comes the acceptance of one’s own limitations as a human being,” explains Dabra.

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Ambitious or average?

We base ourselves on ambition and treat others as mediocre: standards are entirely subjective

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The idea spread that if you want something, you can have it… but that’s not always the case

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Society experiences polarizing discourses in its public expressions, while what abounds is the gray scale between black and white. “Where is the population really, in all that environment. People aren’t usually mediocre, and they don’t become president of the United States. What happens is we don’t like to see it, or know it, and fortunately, we set ourselves up for ambition and treat others as mediocre. Completely subjective,” explains Dabra.


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However, there are more and more areas that are measured in qualitative measures of value rather than quantitative measures, more related to the concept of success revealed earlier. “I would say that, except in very specific cases, specifically nowadays, diversity and the possibilities of each one are evaluated based on their own capital portfolio. The school is moving towards a model in which not all students are segregated from the same pattern, where the processes of Choosing companies toward the potential of their employees rather than their current capabilities,…”, suggests Blanco.

Objectives set

How do we channel ambition towards something positive?

Ambition can be considered healthy when specific SMART Criteria goals are suggested: specific, achievable, measurable and temporary. But this kind of work requires self-awareness of capabilities and limitations. “Ambition helps take risks, to be brave, but it also has to be controlled and self-regulating,” Dabra says. According to the psychologist, the problem arises when it is directed towards the most material part.

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A boy pins a goal on

A boy pins a goal to the Wall of Obligations.

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“If we set the goal, the spiritual… the balance is lost and it works in an unhealthy way,” he adds. Its good use will also be related to giving one’s best in terms of personal potential. “We can talk about something like ‘the well-being of the commons’, a point of equilibrium where ambition does not go beyond a state of sustainable happiness given the basic criteria of well-being: money to make ends meet, enjoyment of family time, able to enjoy holidays, …”, Blanco points out. .


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Indeed, in this scenario, excessive ambition tends to be punishable. the reason? “It is understood that it takes a person out of a sense of well-being. For example, a person who does not see their children, does not spend time with them because they work ceaselessly to get a promotion. The fair point of aspiration in performance can be determined on the basis of personal possibilities, maintaining a balance with reasons for true well-being. , beyond mere consumption,” concludes the sociologist.