Wednesday, December 21, 2005


So there are studies that conclude that most people with overarching ambition are from the middle class. Often one can find a study proving almost anything, but for argument's sake let's assume this one is somewhat true. So the theory goes that:

1) Children who grew up rich often don't feel the need or drive to excel because they already have inherited material wealth.
2) And also the very poor don't see so far beyond their limited means to strive for wealth or other kinds of success.
3) But the middle class has just enough to want to at least maintain what they have, and often to want more. And they also have a feeling that they could lose it all as well if they don't maintain their drive. At least that's what the study says.

Of course there are lots of exceptions to this rule. We all know people from all sorts of backgrounds who have achieved success on many different levels. The study though was talking about which demographic group exhibited the most drive overall.

Which leads to the more important question of whether the trappings of success in the end even matter. Are there relevant personal values tied to community, humility, philanthropy, and other -y's that are more important to happiness? Some are happiest when serving others, and others are happiest when serving themselves. But the majority of people are probably somewhere in between. A lot of studies (yes, yet another study) have actually shown that our overall feeling of happiness or success is often a result of comparison with others around us- it's relative to those in our immediate vicinity.

So do you want your own children to grow up to be overly ambitious? Not too ambitious? Ambitious for what? Money? Power? Fame? Love? Happiness? Respect? If you were super rich would you spoil them so they wouldn't have to worry and struggle in life? Or, even if you had the means to spoil them materially, would you try to instill in them a hunger to strive and achieve?

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