Being Honest & Being Ambitious Aren’t Opposites

Teaching people how to do the best they can with what they have is a dying art.

People are so afraid of sounding privileged, naive, and unrealistic, that they’re losing the courage it takes to challenge people to be their best. Once again, we need to be reminded of a simple truth about personal development:

We can be inspired about our options and opportunities without being dishonest about our limitations and disadvantages.

None of us are the same nor do we all have equal odds of achieving the things we want. The myth of the level playing field has been long-exposed and it is to our collective harm if we live as if unfairness, injustice, and inequity are mere illusions. We have no hope of becoming the best possible versions of ourselves by advocating philosophies that vaguely tell us “we’re all the same.” We have different bodies, different backgrounds, and different barriers. Whether we like it or not, others will face adversities that we will never face. And perhaps we will face adversities others will never face.

Nevertheless, we are doomed as a species if we do not fight for our right to push back against the circumstances and conditions that seem to hold us back from realizing our full potential. The ability to learn and grow depends on our refusal to treat limitations as if they are the primary factor in determining the scope of our possibilities.

Does everyone have the same ceiling? absolutely not. Does that mean we should give up on certain groups of people and treat them as if they’re a lost cause? Absolutely not. Will everyone have an easy time trying their best? Absolutely not. Is it better for us to use that fact as an excuse to tell people to *not* give their best? Absolutely not.

Be honest about your disadvantages. And at the same time, do your best to maximize the few opportunities you currently have. You never have to choose between the latter and the former. Do both.

Being honest and being ambitious aren’t opposites.