By Mariana Ashley
Bill Bradley, retired NBA player, US Senator, and US presidential candidate, said “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
Any high-ability student knows the truth of this quote, as they have likely received accolades, awards, and praise for their efforts and ambitions.
But these students also know the darker side of ambition, the side known only by the few who walk that path and have seen its thorns and shadows.
The truth is that ambition, and the skill that it takes to pursue that ambition, often leaves people lonely, excluded, and alienated from everyday events.
One of the pervasive trends in young adult society today seems to be a lack of enthusiasm and follow-through during important projects, and a general confusion about what to do with their lives.
Granted, it has never been easy for people to decide what to do with their futures, but the extent to which many young adults seem to be treading water is approaching alarming.
For those young adults that are driven, and are talented and enterprising enough to chase their dreams, life can be difficult in a very different way.
Many ambitious and talented people are gregarious, and meet many new people every day.
Often they are leaders at school clubs, volunteer organizations, and within their companies.
The stereotypical notion of the leader/follower relationship is that the followers admire the leaders and respect them.
In reality, however, followers tend to be much more envious of leaders and may even go so far as to exclude the leaders from events.
As a leader, a person’s worse qualities are almost always exaggerated and her best qualities are frequently understated or ignored. Every action is under a microscope.
The full blame of mistakes rests on her shoulders, while the credit for successes must be divided among team members.
High-ability young adults are also often attacked for their successes by their peers, and in passive-aggressive ways.
They generally have to be on guard much of the time that they are in the presence of others, to uphold reputation, which in turn makes them appear aloof or condescending.
As such, their friend circle is limited and even then they are alone much of the time, devoting a substantial part of each day to studying or working.
Emotionally, it is very difficult for high-ability young adults to fit in with their age group because they are generally more mature than their peers, but it is also difficult for them to fit in with older groups because they haven’t established themselves as well and aren’t as respected.
On the surface, it would seem as if the people who are very successful and very talented are also very happy, but the truth is that every rose has its thorn, and every path has its difficulties.
Added photo: Publicity still of Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg in TV series “The Big Bang Theory”
Another article on emotional challenges of high ability people:
Weed Girl – numbing her “rage to achieve”