What’s your “naked ambition”? By that, I mean, what is the ONE thing you really want to accomplish in your lifetime?
For some of us it has to do with family, career, the world, or maybe a mix of all three. For me, I finally realized that I just want to leave the world a better place than how I found it. I may not be able to make a HUGE difference, and I’m slowly coming to terms with that. But I can make a SMALL difference, and maybe that will ripple out and change life for the better for someone out there.
The problem is, as much as my “naked ambition” is focused and concise, I’m an indecisive person. I tend to agonize over a lot of things that shouldn’t require any sort of agony.
What to have for dinner. Which movie time is best. Which shirt to wear. Which paper to use when making a mixed media piece of art. Which tea to drink. Whether or not I should buy something I don’t need but that will make me happy. What to say to a friend who asks for advice but I’m worried my answer might hurt/offend her.
I finally decided to make it easier for myself by asking one very simple question:
WILL THIS CHOICE HELP ME LEAVE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE THAN I FOUND IT?
The question is simple but the answers aren’t.
For example: should I buy something I don’t need? (In this case, more art supplies- I’m an artist, so I do need them for my creative work, but I already have a good stash of great supplies.)
So… Will buying more art supplies make the world a better place? Not directly. But receiving and having those things will make me happy, which will improve my mood, which will definitely rub off on those around me.
But then again, that happiness is pretty brief.
Other questions to consider: Can I afford these things? Are the items sustainable? Is the company small and/or local and am I supporting an economy?
On the flipside, will having these things contribute to longer lasting happiness or just lead to more “stuff” to deal with, more decisions to make, more to do in day to day life?
And *WHY* do I want these things, and what do they represent? Do I really want the things or what the things represent (creativity, a chance to enjoy myself, a chance to express myself, etc.)
When I ask those questions, I realize I’m not really interested in the particular art supplies in question, but in having more time and more opportunity for creativity and expression. I think I’m hoping if I get the exact right art supply, it will inspire me so much that I have to drop everything else I am doing and make something amazing with it. (<— That was kind of a big discovery/wake-up call for me.)
So instead of giving myself more art supplies, maybe I’ll give myself a committed block of time this week to make some new art. And see how I feel after that. The more I think about it, the more I realize some dedicated creative time is EXACTLY what I am craving. In fact, I’m craving it desperately.
Of course, other questions in life are more complicated. But I found that the more I focus on my life’s “naked ambition” when I’m faced with indecision, the easier the answers get.
Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.