Digging for the Root of Ambition

It annoys me when people (specially relatives) ask me “what do you want to be?” or “what will you be after you graduate?”

From what I’ve learned, I think we use the word “be” when there’s no actual action being done but somehow our logic tells us that we are in need of a verb. It also denotes existence. The act of be-ing.

There are expected answers to these questions. For example, you can’t just say “I want to be a lake or an ocean” because it is expected that human beings don’t all of a sudden become bodies of water. Also, you can’t say something like “I want or would want to be a judge in Iron Chef.” People would likely laugh at such a statement. It would be considered naive and stupid.

Like I said, there are expected answers. These kinds of questions are obviously career related and there are prescribed options. They might want some sort of answer that shows specialty or expertise in a certain field: engineering, medicine, law, architecture, information technology, and many others.

I don’t understand how some people could be so sure of their answers. For example, I sometimes hear “I’ve always wanted to be in advertising”. The person will then turn this “want to be” into a passion. The person will blog about it, tell all his/her friends and relatives, read about it and learn all the history and trivia, until finally everyone around this person will accept that this person wants to be in advertising.

In our time and generation, our existence or our act of ‘be’-ing revolves around the concept of work or career. We have turned everything into work, even learning or art or travel. I don’t really consider this a bad thing. An individual has the right to earn from his skill or talent and to sell or trade one’s own effort and time.

I find it so weird how some people are so sure of what they want to be. I thought I was sure. There were so many things I wanted to be, most especially in my younger years. So far, I am just so unsure and discontented with the prescribed options. I don’t think knowing and being sure of what you want to be would necessarily mean success anyway.

Really, this question of “what you want to be?” almost makes no sense. But in order to survive and compete for the scarce resources of this world, we are compelled to pick from the choices and give an answer. c’est la vie.

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