Playing a never-ending game of cat and mouse is an absurd proposition on its face. Agreeing to constantly be chasing something that is designed to run away is a losing battle right from the moment that the starting bell rings. Sisyphus at least had an excuse; he was given his task by beings above him. Some people live with this apparently fruitless task in part because of something inherent within them. The rest of it comes from the world telling them to always search for the bigger and better option.
Once we arrive at an apparent end, the big question of “what comes next?” undoubtedly makes an entrance into our minds. At least is does for those cursed with an excess of ambition.
It can certainly not be understated that going after the carrot at the end of the stick is at least a useful catalyst to initiate movement in the right direction. But that stick can go on forever, and the carrots multiply for what seems to be an eternity.
Striving or working towards something greater inherently makes us feel that answers will be found upon our arrival. After so much work, discipline and dedication, there has to be some sort of truth at the end of it all. Every sense of justice in the world leaves us feeling like “by the time I arrive at __ place, then __ will be revealed to me.”
Of course, this is the premise behind any hero’s journey. Typically flawed but with incredible potential, what is usually written is that at the end of the story the hero will have changed and grown for the better due to the trials and tribulations encountered along the way. (The movie-goers clap and walk away feeling inspired. Unless the writer was George R.R. Martin. So I hear.)
Whatever inspiration is gained from our fabled heroes certainly serves us well. These moments of inspiration can definitely be one of those catalysts for action that were previously mentioned. There is nothing wrong with trying to play the part of the hero. We would certainly be in a better place if we had more people taking on the mantle of a hero than a villain.
What separates us from these beloved characters is that their story has already ended. Their script has been rehearsed and performed. The whole world knows how the story ends. The same cannot be said for us however.
Our story continues to be written and re-written. Scratched out and scrapped. It gets messy. It gets ugly. That is why stability and comfort are so appealing. Once there is a path of least resistance made available, then it is incredibly tempting to venture onto that road. Growth and development does not come easy. It is often painful. That is why ambition only to the point of comfort is so attractive.
Those bitten with the bug of ambition are always on the move for more. It is absolutely easy to stop at the first opportunity! Yet that does not sit well with someone possessed by the idea of everlasting growth and development.
The hunt always continues and constantly leaves more questions than answers. What was once held onto so tightly for fear of losing it eventually becomes much too heavy. The weight of past achievements and successes becomes a burden when they lose all personal meaning.
It would be much easier to not care. When the world shrinks to such a level that you can control and manage it with one hand, not feeling powerful becomes impossible. Being a king or queen over a dominion of any size certainly feels better than not being royal at all.
The search for more will always continue. Alexander, Genghis, and other colossal figures in history knew that to be true. The need and want for more is not always based on common greed, but rather out of knowing that we are always capable of more. We could stop at any point after moving forward and call it a success. No one would think any less of it, but the flame of ambition simply does not allow for stagnation and belief in myths about one’s self.
Those afflicted by ambition will never stop chasing. No one but them will know what it is to keep searching for something that cannot be grasped. They will only know if they have achieved what they really wanted once they arrive. Even with that being said, arrival is never really guaranteed.
In our state of perpetual motion, the only thing that can really keep the wheels turning is finding personal and authentic meaning to what we do. That is why past achievements become dull and meaningless after a point. They mattered then. They do not matter now. What is being looked for in the present has gone beyond the original intent. So long as that sensation of change exists, those endowed with ambition will keep searching for the white rabbit.
Keep reaching. Keep dreaming. Keep moving.