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Personal development: Aging and the evolution of ambition November 26, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal development.
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It seems almost axiomatic that the big dreams of our youth diminish in scope and change as we become older.
Some people acquire a firm, fixed sense of purpose, a grand vision, early in life and don’t let go or change that purpose or vision until it is achieved.

Example: A childhood friend at age ten tells us that they are going to be a doctor specializing in brain surgery. And, they ultimately achieve that ambition.

For many of us however our dreams, our sense of purpose and our goals are in flux with the passing years. As noted by Henry David Thoreau:

“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or a temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”(1)

It is hard not to admire the friend who is undeviatingly dedicated and successful with their stated childhood dream, but the person  whose dreams and aspirations change throughout the twists and turns of life might be more interesting and profitable for us to talk to.

(1) Henry David Thoreau, as quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the book Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Organic Anthology, Riverside Editions, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1960.

— Dennis Mellersh

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