Because New Yorkers don’t know how to fail

vocabulaire quotidien: échouer – to fail; of course this would be a word I never learned, because New York is surrounded by a bubble where failure is not an option. In class today, we discussed applying for jobs, interviews, CVs, etc. We created two lists of adjectives: one of the positive character traits of a job applicant, and one of the negative character traits. The quality that raised a debate was ambitieux – ambitious. Everyone seemed to agree that ambitious fell in the middle, because sometimes ambition can be a great quality, while other times it can be destructive. Of course I know the story of Icarus and how ambition was his downfall, but I’ve never really considered that ambition could be harmful. I’ve always considered my natural ambition as one of my best qualities. And yet, there I was, surrounded by people of my own age, who believed that being ambitious isn’t always so great. In my opinion, this is a consequence of the atmosphere in which I was raised. In my high school, and in New York City and its suburbs, you either succeed or you fail. While that may sound like an exaggeration, think of everything I have to back me up: academic competition in high school; the entire college process and the nefarious College Board; and maybe worst of all, the media. Movies more often than not feature an ambitious protagonist who won’t accept anything less than his goal. It’s nice to picture a life where I’d be satisfied with mediocrity, but that’s not who I am. I’m innately ambitious, and I’m only happy when I’m achieving my goals. I don’t desire all the money in the world or to be the CEO of a big company; all I hope is to be the best person that I can be and do the best that I can do – and in that sense, I don’t believe ambition is so bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *