I think it is normal and natural to wish, to want, to dream, and to expect those dreams to be realized.
The more ambitious a person is, the more he or she dreams, wants, and expects. Because what actually happens, in reality, is impacted by variables which people have no control over and cannot anticipate, ambitious people are prone to frustration. They never realize 100% of their goals.
I believe that when every leader looks back, they realize that they did not achieve what they set out to achieve.
The more ambitious the goals, the bigger the disparity is between what they aim to achieve and what they actually achieve. If they were to do a balance sheet of their life just before closing their eyes forever, they would surely be disappointed. They would realize how much more there is to do, that they simply ran out of time to do it.
Shimon Peres, the Nobel Prize Peace laureate and former Prime Minister of Israel was once asked what he wants to be written on his tomb. He said: “died prematurely” (niftar be erem et). He died at the age of 93.
So, what are we supposed to do? Give up? Live and enjoy life? Take what life offers us? Enjoy the moment and not worry about the past or the future?
So, what is one to do?
Cut down your ego to a manageable size. Realize that you are not fully in control of what happens in your life.
You are not alone. God is your partner. He, too, has rules that govern the world and impact what you hope to achieve in life. Let God decide how your ambitions will turn out. God, life, and nature have their own pace, their own complex set of concerns. There is no way that you can control every bit of what happens in your reality.
Not achieving your lifetime goals is normal and natural. It is only to be expected when you live in a world in which you do not control 100%. Set a goal and work towards it, but do not expect to reach it. Joyfully join the club of ambitious people facing the reality of life’s limitations.
The Jewish sages say it is not for me to take on the whole enchilada of life alone. Ambitions, goals, and dreams should be shared with others if they are to materialize and sustain themselves. There are and will be people to follow in your footsteps and continue your work. And, if there are not, then the dream you had was only ever yours and should die when you die.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes