Ambition as an asymptote to goals

Is someone’s ambition an asymptote to their goals? Here’s what I mean: Is someone’s ambition trajectory bigger when they’re far away from their goals but diminishing the closer they get to them? This occurred to me talking to someone else that shared this experience. We agreed that we both are close to what we had longed for ten years ago. Now that we’re nearly there, what to aim for next?

The general consensus seems to be that people get less ambitious as they get older. Let’s assume that’s true. Is that because people settle after they realize their goals are not attainable? Or is it because they are closer to their goals from, say, ten years ago and – due to the law of diminishing returns – are not willing or able to completely achieve their goals without a disproportionate effort.

If ambition is asymptotic to goals, do people that start out with loftier goals have an inherent achievement advantage over people with modest goals, just because their ambition asymptote is accelerating for a longer time before slowing down? People with modest goals usually come close to achieving them fairly quickly. Does ambition just fizzle out at that point because you’re done?

Can people reset their goals and avoid falling into a slump? Obviously it’s possible. There are many stories of people who did something for decades only to quit their old lives and do something completely different. Still, just getting your ambition trajectory back from deceleration to acceleration seems like a tremendous undertaking. Can we plan ahead to avoid that? Can ambition be turned from an asymptote into something that doesn’t decrease the closer you get to your goals.

Ambition as an asymptote to goals

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