RETHINKING YOUR GOALS — Success in all its forms seems to stimulate the same areas of the brain that some drugs do and, for this reason, you can become addicted to it. How then can you be ambitious without becoming addicted to success? How can you feel the rush of excelling without making it your driving force? These are the questions that the slow ambition trend answers.
According to this way of thinking, ambition, rather than being the driving force of your life, serves the meaning you want to give it and is therefore fully consistent with your values and desires. Rather than letting society define success—often in a way linked to the ego, appearances and power—we define it ourselves based on our own criteria. This process involves introspection, which will allow us not only to sift through what is important and unimportant, but also to understand what stokes our fires. That way, we can devote to the important things the time and energy that we previously gave to goals that no longer serve us.
SLOWING DOWN TO HAVE MORE TIME
In the Greek tradition, two ways of perceiving time coexisted: chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to time structured in minutes, hours, days and years. This is the time/money revered by our society of production and consumption. This time “that waits for no one” is both a useful and harsh master. Today we live almost exclusively by chronos, forgetting that there’s another way, one that’s is more in line with our internal rhythms: kairos.
Kairos refers to the cyclical nature of the seasons and days and how time can expand or contract depending on your mental and emotional state. It’s a time that’s experienced internally and perceived by the body. It’s a nebulous time you could also call “the opportune moment,” when a creative state prevails and chronos seems suspended. In the concept of ambition, kairos is essential: it refocuses us and brings us back down to earth. It’s important to slow down to be more attentive to kairos to better welcome success, at the opportune moment.
THREE PRINCIPLES: LIVING HARMONIOUSLY WITH YOUR AMBITION
N° 1 Define your own way of life that’s based on the values, dreams and desires that most inspire you. The long-term vision should be the driver of your projects, yet we can be easily excited about a host of ideas, fill our agenda and get lost in the growing number of tasks to be done. What if you adopted a new approach? By eliminating anything that doesn’t align with your long-term vision of your life, you make more room for what you’re really striving for, and you focus on your core values at the expense of the rest. Less, but better!
N° 2 Practise mindfulness to better enjoy the present. The goal is to unleash self-fulfillment and unfettered passion and place value on living in the present. This way, you can live a much more carefree life and break out of an obsession with time.
“If your eyes are blinded by your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
N° 3 Reconnect with the charm of yesteryear. Taking your time also means letting yourself be surprised by the small joys of everyday life: a new flower, an interesting sound or a smile that does good.
“Seeing the river current, surrendering yourself to it from start to finish; losing yourself in the enchantment, vitality and speed of the river…you cannot do all this if you are preoccupied with money, power and a successful career—which are just one aspect of life.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti