Sarah Morrison is an information professional based in Toronto, Ontario. Her posts explore the intersections of technology, knowledge, feminism, social justice, and fandom.

On Ambition

On Ambition

Anyone who's had a fandom conversation with me for longer than about 20 minutes knows that it inevitably leads to Harry Potter, and my complicated thoughts about the books. Namely - I love the world J.K. Rowling has created but I actually strongly dislike the books.

This is partially due to the fact that I am a proud Slytherin (and not because I like bartending in the dark) and the way Slytherin traits are presented in the books and movies drives me to distraction.

One of the main traits of Slytherin is ambition, and it's presented as a bad thing. I worry that a whole generation of people will grow up with the idea that ambition is somehow bad and evil. That's why I was happy to come across this article about habits of ambitious people.

The whole thing is worth a read, but number four and five resonated with me in particular.

Execution

Again, anyone who knows me knows that I'm a doer. There are many reasons I'm not pursuing a PhD but a major one is that I need to do things that are practical. I'm not a big fan of theory for theory's sake, or the philosophical side of life. So tying this mentality - getting things done - to ambition really spoke to me. You absolutely have to plan and prepare, but at a certain point, you have to DO SOMETHING. If you're working toward an end goal, it can be easier to take the leap and get started.

One-Upping Yourself

Number five, though, is the key. A lot of negative takes on ambition, in my experience, view ambitious people as wanting to achieve at the expense of others. The thought is that, for me to succeed, I have to actively stop someone else from succeeding. That just isn't the case. Obviously, in the job hunt especially, only one person can get the job, but I can do it without actively putting down anyone else. When I go into a job interview, I go in trying to do better than my last interview and to sell my skills the best I can. Ambition does not have to be achieved through beating down someone else.

This is super important in our profession, as I cannot tell you how many times I've seen people not sell their skills, not take a risk to try something new, not fight for what they're worth. Ambition does not have to manifest as wanting to be a politician or a CEO - all it is is having a goal (whether it's in your career or personal life) and going for it. This is what sets apart dreamers and ambitious people - ambitious people try to actually GET their dream or goal.

I often hear people saying that we all have a little Gryffindor inside ourselves that we bring out when we need that extra boost of bravery. I'd contend that we all should nurture our inner Slytherin. Even the most dyed in red Gryffindor needs to have something to work toward.

Why Peeple is an Absolutely Terrible Idea

Why Peeple is an Absolutely Terrible Idea

Indispensible Apps

Indispensible Apps