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A lesson I recently learnt.
Ambition is one of those subjects that feels like it should and could be taboo. It’s a hazy sort of one though, right? I think ambition and the desire to succeed is perennially personal and I always feel somewhat awkward discussing it on my blog.

In fact with all of the New Year’s related posts being doled out in the community, I thought now’d be the perfect time to have a chat about being quietly ambitious. First up: some semblance of an apology if I’ve ever come across as insufferably wanting-to-succeed on social media. I’m working on it. And now, some talk about success and ambition.

Every single person on this planet is perfectly unique. No two of us have the exact same wishes, interests, goals and abilities. Where one of us is worse off (i.e. I am terrible at time-keeping and at remembering everyday things), another trait will step up (i.e. I don’t like being embarrassingly late and I like to have milk in the fridge when I expect it there). At the age of 23, I thought I knew precisely what I wanted to be – career-wise – from the age of 17. And there is no reason why I couldn’t eventually get there, you know?

I want/wanted/sometimes want to be a fashion writer. Not a journalist per se, but just to write and tell a sartorial story through words. Lemme tell you, the Year 11 bullies had the time of their lives telling me I was too geeky to do that and something about me wearing glasses but I ‘saw’ past that ;)

Here comes the non-quiet ambition part… I completed my A-levels in related subjects with flying colours, I took an extra-curricular qualification aged 17 and created a fashion magazine about Fashiontoast, Style Scrapbook, Style Bubble and Sea of Shoes with a sprinkling of Japanese street style tribes and K-pop. I went to University and was naively loud about the things I was doing outside of my/our degree. (I say ‘our’ because I think I mostly irritated my course-mates.) I pursued blog opportunities that led to meeting industry professionals, that led to attending my first LFW that led to freelance opportunities. Now that I look back? I was insufferably ambitious.

But being quietly ambitious is a virtue that I have learnt too. It is wholeheartedly fine to semi-know where you’re aiming for or quietly be aiming towards a particular direction. It is even more fine to be aspiring to simply be happy and tick things off in the process of being so. You’ll have noticed that over the last 12 months, I tapered off my career pandering from the public forum. Why? Because I felt and knew I was probably alienating people who were quietly meandering at the sidelines and who were probably working harder and achieving more in the process.

Quiet ambition is a lesson I learnt and it is continual food for thought for me. Watch this space (and sorry – again).

10 comments

  1. lovely piece Michelle. love it!

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  2. I definitely have learnt this aswell. In school I would go on and on about how much I wanted to be a screenwriter and the steps I had already took to getting there, and while it never came across as cocky, it definitely is better to just do it in your own time and let your achievements shine more.

    www.thebravestindividual.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I completely understand what you mean. I used to go on about what I wanted to do as a job and what I was currently doing. Now I've learned to be quietly ambitious, quietly confident and to just do what I want without talking much about it. I know now to do things in my own time.


    Sammi
    thechroniclesofwastedtime.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. I greatly enjoyed this post :) Sometimes it's just the inner fire that needs stoking, not the outer ego : xx

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  5. Thank you Jini! (and thanks for pushing me to do that EPQ!)

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  6. I absolutely agree. It works differently for everybody, it just took me a while to work that out.

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  7. Yes definitely! Not that there's anything bad about being a little outspoken about ambitions, but for me I realised that having accidentally put myself in a more public forum, I should be a little more conscientious about the matter (:

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  8. Thank you so much Rachel! What an amazing sentiment - I need to write that down somewhere!!

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  9. Nice post. I think there's something in quiet ambition but there are definite times when you need to make your ambitions known otherwise you could easily be overlooked (I'm thinking about work promotion type situations).

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  10. I don't think there's anything wrong with being overtly ambitious, quietly ambitious, or not ambitious at all. I think you should be very proud of everything you've achieved because you've worked hard for it! <3 xo

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