Life Is A Journey, Not A Destination

Ambition is an extension of hope, starting with the make-believe games children invent in the playground.

We dream of ‘what we want to be when we grow up’, then strive to achieve it, and when the practical realities of life get in the way we strive to overcome the obstacles between us and our ambition.

However, in a society orientated around a westernised ideal of success, where people’s self-worth is defined by whether they are seen to have achieved their ambitions, the fear of failure can dissuade us from dreaming all together. Humiliation becomes a much greater threat than under-achievement and people often frown on the concept of having big, imaginative aspirations, resigning instead to mediocre lives with achievable targets that are less likely to disappoint.

As Christians, if it is God who plants these dreams in our imaginations, surely He will equip us to achieve them? Therefore, is there really such a thing as being over-ambitious? Or is even what the world might consider a failure just a different path towards accomplishing whatever future God has in store for us? If everything that happens is a part of His great plan, can we ever fail to live up to His expectations? Even if we don’t succeed, we know He has something far better planned, so why should we fear to dream big?

Perhaps one of the key components of having big ambitions and lifetime goals is that they hold us accountable to ourselves which, in turn, motivates us to work towards them. The 2008 Climate Change Act has done just that, emphasized by the incredible increase in public efforts resulting from targets set ten years ago. It also held our elected authorities in a position of accountability, putting responsibilities on the government to meet goals, but perhaps more importantly, educate the public sector and inspire action.

Because of this, individuals are more aware of the effects of climate change and have set personal ambitions - reducing their carbon footprints and researching how to improve their individual habits.

My biggest lifestyle investigation compares the environmental impact of vegetarianism and veganism and the land and water consumption of the meat and dairy industry (more carbon intensive than all forms of transportation combined!) versus air miles and the difficult-to-recycle tetra packs involved in non-dairy products.

Thousands of people are more educated and aware of these issues than in 2008 and more and more individual ambitions - from electric-cars to ethical banking - highlight how the few have influenced the many in ways beyond the imaginations of those who first set out to tackle this problem.

It is clear to me that these progressions testify God’s presence in this incredible ambition, and even when, to the world, we have failed to meet some of the finer targets, just by establishing the goals and holding our leaders accountable, we have made an incredible difference.

This growth will only increase as we move forwards and should encourage us in our own lives.

Ambition is a God-given drive. It is not ignorant to dream big and it is definitely not detrimental to fail. Every step towards your ambition achieves something and even in our disappointments God might simply be opening our eyes to a new path on this journey of life.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson, and so many others have cliched over the years – ‘life is a journey, not a destination’. Perhaps, therefore, it’s not about the final goal, but the lessons we learn along the way.