Is ambition caused by a fear of mortality?

Why do I pursue the things that I do?

I have really grown as an artist and writer, but my projects are a double-edged sword. While I want to get a lot accomplished, I also get overwhelmed very easily. I’d like to blame my mental illness, but I know that it can happen to anyone. I’ve always taken a lot on regardless of the inevitable consequences.

But why? You can strip me of my projects and accomplishments and I’m still a complete person. 

I’ve always found being an atheist to be motivating. If you only get this one life, you don’t want to miss out, right? Turn your dreams into goals and do as much as you can.

If that’s my attitude, does that mean I’m scared of dying?

As humans, we are insignificant in the universe, but I think it’s human nature to want to be remembered. Will my words live on after I die – even if it’s just to a few people?

My mom died when I was a little girl. She was an artist and I have her paintings all over our house. The paintings are fascinating to me because they show her growth. Some of the paintings were done when she was in high school and college and some were completed later in her career. I was too young to remember my mom after she died, but seeing her paintings every day reminds me that she was still a part of my life. 

When I think of my projects, I am for the most part proud of the final product. However, the actual process of completing a project is really difficult for me because I’m a very impatient person. Which do I enjoy more, the accomplishments or the process? Which is more important?

Why do you pursue the things you do? Sure, we all have things we enjoy, but when you take it to the next level, is there another motive behind the ambition?

Are you doing anything to be remembered after you die? Do you feel a need to be remembered?

How do you remember your loved ones? Are there items you’re holding onto?

Sorry for the somewhat morbid post, but I think it’s really fascinating to figure out what makes us tick – even if you’re just exploring your own motives.


  1. robert79 says

    “Are you doing anything to be remembered after you die? Do you feel a need to be remembered?”

    I teach.

    I’d like to think that at some point in the far future one of my students realises “Hey, Robert taught me THAT!” but to be honest, as long as they remember “THAT”, I’m already happy!

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    I think people ruled by ambition just haven’t grown up.

    I’m sure Bach and Einstein had ambitions, but what ruled them (I think) was love of their work. And eventually, they too will be forgotten. I mean, their names may be remembered for centuries or even millenia, but not who they were.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    I’m pretty relaxed about death. I figure this: my grandfather was hugely important to me while he lived, but he died before I was six. Right now, although intellectually I know he was incredibly important to me, I can’t really picture his face, remember the sound of his voice, or anything “important” like that. I can go just one generation further back, to my grandmother’s mother, for someone I do remember. Further back than that, there’s nothing in my family I know about. A few minutes’ thought suggests that my sons will remember me, and if I’m still alive by the time they have kids (I started late) then my grandkids might by the time they are adults still have some dim recollection of me, but…
    Realistically, less than 100 years from now, nobody will remember me at all. Everything I’ve done professionally will be gone. Nothing I’ve written or produced will be visible against the background of everyone else’s stuff.
    And I’m fine with that. I’ve had a good life, and life’s been good enough to me that I’ve a reasonable expectation that my kids will have a life as good as mine. When I go, I’m comfortable leaving behind a planet that’s on the whole very slightly better for having had me in it.

  4. SailorStar says

    Hmmm…this post has moving goalposts. As for “ambition”; it can be healthy–for example, “I aim to run a mile without stopping” or “I aim to get 8 hours of sleep every night because I feel so much better when I do” or “I aim to get 10 paintings into this upcoming show”. Or it can be unhealthy–for example, “I want to RULE the UNIVERSE”.
    I think for you, losing your mom before you got a chance to know her colors your perspective. You are lucky to have her paintings to look at and consider, and you have the skills and interest to follow in her footsteps. That’s all great.
    As for me, I have no interest in being remembered down the ages. I work to live a decent life, surrounded by family and friends. I suspect my perspective comes from losing 3 out of 4 grandparents by the time I was a year old–I don’t remember them. I’ve heard stories about them, and that’s got to be enough.

Leave a Reply

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