While Dreher was a dreamer, Ruthie was satisfied with what she had. When Dreher was living in big cities, going to fancy restaurants, carousing with media types, writing film reviews for a living, and traveling to Europe, Ruthie was back home in Louisiana, living down the road from her parents, starting a family of her own, and devoting herself to her elementary school students as a teacher. Ruthie could not understand Dreher’s lifestyle. Why would he want to leave home for a journalism career? Wasn’t Starhill good enough? Did Rod think he was better than all of them? (via Relationships Are More Important Than Ambition - Emily Esfahani Smith - The Atlantic)
- Just the other week, Slate ran a symposium that addressed this question, asking, “Does an Early Marriage Kill Your Potential To Achieve More in Life?” Ambition is deeply entrenched into the American personae, as Yale’s William Casey King argues in Ambition, A History: From Vice to Virtue — but what are its costs?
- In psychology, there is surprisingly little research on ambition, let alone the effect it has on human happiness. But a new study, forthcoming in the Journal of Applied Psychology, sheds some light on the connection between ambition and the good life. Using longitudinal data from the nine-decade-long Terman life-cycle study, which has followed the lives and career outcomes of a group of gifted children since 1922, researchers Timothy A. Judge of Notre Dame and John D. Kammeyer-Mueller of the University of Florida analyzed the characteristics of the most ambitious among them. How did their lives turn out?
- The causes of ambition were clear, as were its career consequences. The researchers found that the children who were the most conscientious (organized, disciplined, and goal-seeking), extroverted, and from a strong socioeconomic background were also the most ambitious. The ambitious members of the sample went on to become more educated and at more prestigious institutions than the less ambitious. They also made more money in the long run and secured more high-status jobs.
- But when it came to well-being, the findings were mixed. Judge and Kammeyer-Mueller found that ambition is only weakly connected with well-being and negatively associated with longevity.