Ambition, incentive, aspiration are all over-hyped. Who knows what to want? Who wants what should be wanted? Who can be forced to want what they ought to want? So, you spend your life in the service of things that don't matter, thinking they matter, working for prestige, status and stature, dry as desert dust where you heart should be because you've never loved anything more than money for as long as you can remember, with no mulligans to bail you out and only regret for company. Who wants that? Who thought that was what they were getting? It's always going to be different this time. How often is it really? How many people are right about what matters? Ambition in the service of the wrong things is worse than no ambition at all. A life without ambition is a life devoted to living aligned with the Tao-- with the movement of the heavens and the rhythm of the tides, without contrivance and with complete sincerity, being in the moment for the good of the moment, with nothing to gain and nothing to lose, trusting ourselves to find ways of being good for ourselves and true to ourselves in the service of the good of the here and now of our living. We walk two paths at the same time: Paying the bills and living the life that is our life to live, that calls our name, that fills our heart, that is our soul's true joy. If you are going to aspire to something, aspire to that!
We spend our lives fighting life, thinking it is about one thing, when it is about another. "Climbing the ladder of success," as the old one-liner goes, "only to discover the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall." Chasing down "Fortune and glory, Kid, fortune and glory," with our soul's true joy languishing and dying for lack of attention and devotion. Munching on the Forbidden Fruit, with eyes for the bright lights and action of Gay Paree, we miss the white rabbit from another dimension inviting us to the adventure of being alive, and settle for shiny beads and silver mirrors while the hope of the gods for us flickers and fades away. We are never more than a shift in perspective away from seeing, hearing and understanding. But. We don't ask the questions that beg to be asked, or hear the things that are crying out to be heard, or say the things that are trying to be heard. And. Are too busy dying to realize we have never lived. What's it going to take? All of the prophets and seers, teachers and Bodhisattvas are stumped by that one. "When the student is ready, the teacher appears," and in the meantime, the teachers gather, shaking their heads, saying, "What's it going to take?" The Native Americans were savvy as hell, and idiot sportsmen looking for a thrill wiped out their buffalo/bison in ten years. Stupidity wins and loses at the same time, certain it knows what it is doing, wondering what went wrong, and who is at fault for things not being as they are supposed to be. Who put the ladder against the wrong wall?