There’s a rugged individualism spirit many ambitious people possess. There’s pride and joy in setting a great goal for yourself and achieving it on your own.
It’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing. I face the blank screen alone, sometimes staring at it for far too long, and then words appear. My words. My keystrokes. My errors in grammar, and sometimes judgment. When I finally publish or upload those words, there’s that simultaneous sense of satisfaction and terror that is mine alone, yet I know it’s one that all writers share. It’s good enough, but could it have been better? It doesn’t matter. The accomplishment is mine, mine, mine.
Except it’s not.
Unless you’re a hermit, nothing you do is all yours. You can feel like you built, rebuilt, or restored something entirely on your own, but when you think hard, you know you didn’t. We like to feel like it’s us against the world. While the world can be a cruel place, it’s not out to get you.
Exempting ardent survivalists, we all, like it or not, depend on other people. Food, water, shelter, safely, companionship — all vital needs to help nurture, sustain, and motivate, each of us do not miraculously appear. We work for them, often with others. We share them freely to grow trust and strengthen bonds. Sometimes we are the recipient, sometimes the benefactor.
We want to accomplish things by ourselves to prove to the world that we are worthy, strong, smart and industrious. It’s part of human nature. It’s also a part of hubris. The world has no opinion and will remain unimpressed. Some want to prove something to themselves. That’s admirable, to grow, learn, stretch one’s capabilities without the aid of others. Many take this path, despite it being slightly selfish.
Keep the goals, the ambition, the desire and work ethic, but shift the reasoning. The motivation could be on helping others instead of yourself. When you do that, you’re more open to accepting help from others, from sources you never dreamed possible.
Search for the connectedness among people and you will achieve your goals faster because you are helping others in their pursuits. The world is not against you. We are all in this together.
Also published on Medium.