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Ambition and Stupidity are Neighbors

In a filmmaking group that I’m a part of where someone posted a quote saying “ambition and stupidity are neighbors” and that rung very true for me. Hasn’t history proven time and again that everyone that had a great idea was considered crazy until proven absolutely right. I mean at least we aren’t killed anymore for having crazy ideas(rip Galileo). If people could protest that the world was round and not flat that shows that the non-creative mind is in a constant state of denial and skepticism.

But at the same time that constant state of denial and skepticism is not unfounded. For for every one person that achieves what people perceived to be crazy there are at least a hundred who live in the ruins of their unfulfilled dreams. Structure and routine are what most humans need in order to be productive which is why doing what has proven to be successful or at the very least gives you an opportunity to become a self-sufficient adult is often the way that people go. If you’re coming from a non-white or simply strict family you know that your family would not encourage anything that doesn’t have a viable future. That’s the gray area of ambition. Where is that fine line that demarcates the two?

I guess the fine line in some situations is where one’s ambition is funded by family members or friends who are getting tired of carrying the burden of a seemingly irresponsible adult chasing castles in the air. Perhaps that’s why younger ambitious people tend to have real success, because they are still at the age when people happily let them chase their dreams while looking after them. Because after all, let them enjoy the frivolity of youth. They’ll pay bills one day. But not so much patience is reserved for the adult who should be paying billed but can’t at the moment because their onto their magnum opus or the next greatest thing.

Lately I’ve been seeing alot of self-sufficient creatives. They’re a different breed to the ones that people like to stereotype. There’s the music producer that pays for his own cheap studio and has his own apartment. He took himself through school when his parents protested him leaving his degree and now his parents are his biggest fans. Perhaps it’s because he prove them wrong and did achieve something with his ambition. Obviously he’s not where he wants to be at the moment, but the fact that he has taken the steps needed to be independent in his chosen career is a big thing. It’s world’s away from the thirty year old guy who lives in his parents’ basement hoping to make it big one day.

But let’s not trash people who move to their dreams while living with their parents ( mostly because I’m one of them lol), but after listening to many creatives as well who are successful right now they do talk about a period where they moved back with their parents as they reassessed their goals in life and how to achieve them as well as saved money and creative energy by not having to worry about rent and food.

When we put it like that though, it in a sense makes it seem like ambition is only for the privileged because to have parents that can take you back home and look after you isn’t something that everyone has access to. That’s something that’s blatantly clear to me coming from Africa where we have something called “Black Tax” where the younger generation feel the pressure of sending their dependent relatives (not just parents) money once they start to work. It reminds me that the fact that I do have a parent in a third world country that can look after me as I get my feet on solid ground is a blessing that more than eighty percent of people on my continent don’t have and possibly never had. By the end of 2020, the situation should have changed for the better. To be honest, I don’t feel the need to move out quickly as long as I live in the same city as my parents. It’s more a first world thing for daughters to move out before their married if they live in the same city. But by the end of the year I should be able to afford to sustain my own life as well as buy the groceries for the house and do some other things for my mother.

I guess that’s the difference in the sense that many of the creatives that’s border on stupidity have an unparalleled sense of entitlement. Perhaps that the true difference between ambition and stupidity. One grows on thankfulness that’s leads to productive action while the other stagnates in entitlement that leaves the creative feeling as though the world has dealt them a wrong turn in some way.

Putting things in such black and white terms doesn’t work for everyone I’m aware. There’s definitely people who are entitled and productive…but regardless of that, some structure that acts as a guiding post to assess our own behaviour and where we’re potentially going is always a good idea.

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