Ambition Session Notes: Is your ambition like your parents or unlike your parents? by talyarden
April 25, 2010, 1:59 pm
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Question: Is your ambition like your parents or unlike your parents?

(Thanks Kim Whitener and Scott Blumenthal for recording these) posted by Tal Yarden

Aspiring not to success but to be inspired and optimistic, failing and going on to the nest thing, “to approach the world with childlike wonder”

“I have the ambition to be like my father and to be exactly the opposite of my mother.”  Mother is the negative – she suffered, cancer, rape, suicidal, stuck in a jobe because she needs the insurance.

The person with ambition has the vision for possibility.

Mother is devoid of ambition.

Ambition as part of the immigrant experience – living with a sense of responsibility for my parents’ dreams for me and the opportunities they gave me.

Missionary parents – ambition to serve (in a liberal sense – building hospitals, schools, etc.)  In China through the revolution.  Dedication to service.

Father’s ambition drove the life of the family.  Mother was the helpmeet, though she was a smart and capable woman.

“I am a-religious…but the principle of service has translated and that’s why I am in the arts.” (producing director at HERE!)

Sacrifice – does the reward equal or outweigh the cost in struggle and discomfort?

“Am I ambitious for myself or for my parents?”

Ambition = achievement  always ambitious to achieve the next goal.

“When I was a kid I didn’t have any dreams like [being a doctor]”

Particularly American goal, kind of ambition, to have a different ambition from your parents, to break away, to have your own ambition.

Priorities are different from ambitions, they affect ambitions.  Obligations too.

“I don’t feel like I have as many ambitions as I use to…  I have achieved what I set out to achieve.  Now I want more security.”

Cost of ambition.

Does ambition have to be risky?  Is that an American notion of ambition? Can it be ambition if the ambition is to be secure and stable?

Stages.  How does ambition change through life?

“Striving for something more than the norm, maybe even more than what is achievable…”

“I never think of ambitions as a pejorative term.  Maybe over ambitious.”

“My ambitions that are like my parents have to do with relationships, but my work is less like their ambitions.”

Tiny things that have been part of my father’s life, and I’ve been swept up by them.”

Do your brothers and sisters divide a long the like-your-mother / like-you-father camp?


Wants to write more fiction, but out of practicality writing grant proposals

Stability, taking care of children and family. Opposed to fulfilling one’s own ambitions?

“I am very much career-oriented and I want my life to be a certain way.”

“the choices, the cost”

“I feel like a lot of who my parents are is middle-of-the-road.”

“they both had artistic ambitions as young people… but then they had children… As a child the supreme goal of life was to be an artist; it wasn’t about making money.”

“I had the karma to be born to my parents, so I have this kind of situation…I am already in a relationship to my parents before I was born.”

No childhood ambition – coming from umbrella of a strong parental influence (pushing for high achievement – large umbrella but not discussing specific possibilities).  Not realizing til adulthood that you could have choices aside from your parents specific ambition.  Ambition tied to service, about sacrafice.

Habits from parents, work ethic, integrity, but ambition comes from his spirit, something larger than his family.  Knowing at a very young age – desire to make his own way – certain obstacles stop it, push it under for sometime but it comes back.

Being pulled toward or pushing to:

– potentiality that one can’t deny

– interior drive as opposed to an external pull.

From a cosmological perspective, can program your children, but there’s another perspective that the parent-child relationship preexists birth (Buddhist perspective)

Very few people take 100% responsibility for their life

– many things are inherited and continue

– can always reinvent oneself in a new way

filters  -immigrant experience – religion – cultural difference –all the differences in this country – we all share this kernel of the dream  Jewish/Catholic/Polish/Filipino – “follow your dreams”  – create one’s own identity


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