Have you ever had to deal with too ambitious people? Then you know how hard they can be to live or work with. Their life is directed to achieving and having the best: attending the best schools or colleges, receiving the most prestigious and highly paid jobs, aspiring to occupying the most respectable and highest social positions, socializing only with the best and the most respectable people, and so on. Sometimes they achieve what they want, sometimes they do not, but those who can observe the life of too ambitions people can confirm the idea that too high ambitions do not make people happy. Very often, too high standards and too high expectations from everything and everyone make people disappointed, depressed, unsuccessful, lonely, and – always late, too.
Moreover, as the latest findings by a group of experts at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business have shown, being too ambitious and always aspiring for the best can be linked to even a shorter life. A group of scientists led by Timothy Judge, professor of management, tracked personal and professional success of 717 people for over 70 years, starting from their very childhood. The experts took such factor as the participants’ education level as one of the basic indicators of their ambitions. Those who graduated from Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Berkley, Stanford, or other very prestigious educational establishments certainly got better jobs, had more prestigious occupations, thus, were considered more ambitious than those participants who received their diplomas from colleges and less prestigious universities.
It turned out that high ambitious really helped people achieve very high professional success. Positive effects of ambitions on career achievements were obvious: ambitious people studied harder, they managed to enter the best universities, get more prestigious jobs and higher salaries. However, those ambitious people who seemed to “have it all” actually suffered from adverse effects of their demanding attitude to life in their personal life. “Despite their many accomplishments, ambitious people are only slightly happier than their less ambitious counterparts, and they actually live somewhat shorter lives,” Timothy Judge commented on the findings of his fellow-scientists.
Thus, ambitious people turned out to be less lucky in their marriages and were less likely to be able to establish good and healthy personal relationships with their life-partners. They had big hopes and dreams about their private life, however, very few of those dreams came true. These people probably made too high investments in their professional life and career, they had extremely high motivation for achievements, but spend less efforts to built healthy private life. Timothy Judge warns the parents whose children are too ambitious in their studies to be aware about the effects of this tendency on future personal life of the children. “If your biggest wish for your children is that they lead happy and healthy lives, you might not want to overemphasize professional success. There are limits to what our ambitions bring us or our children,” he said.