Musings of the Muse — Of Drive and Ambition

“Drive”, is a word belonging to two parts of speech, namely the verb and the noun. Their meanings differ.

While as a verb “drive” essentially means to go to another place by means of a vehicle, as a noun, it reaches a subtler dimension. It is associated with ambition, the desire to reach out for something not always inaccessible but surely better in life. 

It is important for people to have a drive in life. They should be motivated, be endowed with the spirit of struggle, so that fulfillment is eventually achieved. Of course, although the sky is the limit, the ambition inhabiting our breast, should not be so boundless and overwhelming as to make us ride roughshod over others. We should not be too obsessed with it, that is, our ambition, so that it looks that we are wearing blinkers. Obsession and drive although not necessarily poles apart, are nevertheless two different things while ‘drive’ is fundamentally positive, obsession is not, as it borders on malady.

When plagued with an obsession and the same is not achieved, the end result is nothing but frustration. One should know when to let go. Helen Keller aptly tell us that when one door of happiness closes, another opens. Unfortunately we keep on staring at the closed door for so long, in vain awaiting it to open, that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. The same applies for something which impossible to fulfill. Chasing something which proves elusive is as bad as flogging a dead horse. It is important to never let our efforts go waste

By contrast, drive gives a meaning to our life. It gives a direction, a purpose, an orientation to the very essence of our existence. There is a kind of motivation which leads to stability in life. What is it which kindles the flame of ‘drive’ in someone? Many reasons are there and they differ for different people.

Necessity may imbue the spirit of drive in someone. No one willingly wallows in poverty and people are only too aware that one effective way of getting out of its grip is to achieve something. Want, poverty, scarcity are no doubt the elements instilling ‘drive’ in people. We cannot but laud them for their accomplishments. “Rags to riches” stories have not only always fascinated others but also been the subject of much emulation. Thus poverty acted as a springboard and motivated people to be ambitious. They resented going through need, feeling inferior to those who were on a rung higher than they and situations where they had to cringe and cower vis a vis others were too much to bear. As a result, they slogged, toiled and ensured to give their offspring what has been denied to them.

Unfortunately for those who, through no real effort, no sweat, have been readily granted things, as if manna falling from the skies, the tendency is there to have the drive highly dormant or inactive. To put it squarely, laziness becomes the very essence of their existence. As a result, there will be no burning desire to achieve and attain anything in life. Indolence is sought after but it is no drive at all. How pathetic it is to reach out for a pass mark when excellence can be easily accessible. It is very harrowing, especially when we are only too aware that those mentioned above, that is the offspring of the lesser mortals who slogged to ensure a better and brighter future for their progeny, are endowed with much potential. However they could not care less. They are nonchalant, easy going, little bothered about what the next day may hold for them. Living one day at a time, is no doubt what we all must do but nevertheless, we must also think about and provide for tomorrow and most importantly the rainy days.

One agrees that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”, but how helpless do we become when that very meat we have been feasting upon becomes poison to which there may be no antidote at all. The time for remorse will no doubt be there but sadly belated, something like crying over spilt milk. How depressing and distressing it is to see people without any drive or ambition. More depressing and distressing it is, when it takes no real exertion to have that drive and ultimately achieve fulfillment. The world will surely be a better place in which to live if people were aptly endowed with a drive.

Now we should not be led into thinking that “drive” belongs to the world of the poor only. That would be an erroneous thinking indeed. People have a drive even when wealthy and it is definitely not for the sake of money that they hunt for fulfillment. Goals are not necessarily of a pecuniary order. The important thing is to make the dream come true and experience a heartfelt satisfaction.

A drive gives us the opportunity to have a purpose, a sense of direction, an aim in life. It gives us stability and only then can we be happy.

* Published in print edition on 13 May 2016

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