Mind Matters: Ambition is everywhere, all the better for Ireland
I was driving to the golf course. The radio was on. As listeners know, a programme often opens with a menu to let the listener know what is coming up. What I heard was something like, "Why is ambition still a dirty word?" I was parking the car, but I stopped to listen, hoping it was the first item. I was dumbfounded that anyone in Ireland still thought ambition was a dirty word and would have liked to have heard more. Unfortunately, my ambition to split the first fairway meant I had to turn it off.
I could not get the phrase out of my head. In the Ireland that I live in ambition is not a dirty word. I cannot really remember when it was. Over the weekend I asked about a dozen people to respond to the headline "Why is ambition still a dirty word?" To a person, they looked at me nonplussed and replied "…but it isn't". One thought I was being serious and wondered aloud was I getting out enough.
I thought back over the past week or so. I had spent a morning at Ryeland House Cookery School outside Kilkenny, where chefs Anne Neary and Eugene McSweeney were putting a class through the final days of their training.
The students were all planning their next move, what jobs they wanted, thinking about setting up businesses in the future.
The two things they all had in common were a readiness for hard work and ambition. Not silly ambition, but a desire to work hard for themselves and their families.
I was having lunch another day and a man in his thirties who I hadn't seen for a while stopped to chat. Where had he been? The story was typical of modern Ireland. He had gone back to college to prepare for a new career and was soon about to open a new business. It sounded like a good idea. I wish him every success.
I got a phone call one night last week from someone I don't know very well - although what I do know of her, I admire.
"Will you read the first draft of my book?" she asked. "I know you will give me an honest opinion." I didn't even know she wrote, but as we chatted she told me it had long been an ambition and she had been getting up early for a while now and had a first draft completed.
Every Tuesday, Naoise Carty, a teenager, joins our KCLR96FM morning radio programme for unpaid training. That is part of her transition year. She is smart as a whip and learns quickly. But now she also comes in on some of her holidays. Why? It will help on the course she aims for.
Oh and by the way, she and two sisters, who perform under the name The Carty Sisters, have already recorded their first release, called Cogar - check it out.
There is a lot of talent, hard work and healthy ambition about. Thankfully.