Some people find it easy to be content with what they have and are able to do. Others are so hungry for something else, that they are driven to achieve and will do anything to meet their goals. Plenty of people fall out somewhere in between. Ambition can be born of many different things – a desire for excellence and to be all that you can be is a very good motivation. Experience of fear, hunger, poverty can make people aggressive in their need to avoid such experiences again. Insecurity can make us power hungry. Fear of our own insignificance can make us determined to leave a mark.

Ambition is a hunger that can never be satisfied. There is never enough money to ward off the fear of poverty. The work is never good enough for the creator to feel it is finished. Power is never absolute. Some kinds of ambition inspire us to do great things, but others can be incredibly destructive, or carve holes in the psyche of a person. How can we know peace if we cannot experience satisfaction with what we do?

I can speak to both sides of this from personal experience. I spent much of my life with a need to be useful, an urge to serve, to achieve and do something important that was born entirely of fear and a lack of self worth. Only when working did I feel any degree of safety. I did not imagine anyone would want me around unless I was being obviously useful to them. And so I worked like a crazy thing, driven by the need for approval and acceptance. I got a lot done as a consequence, but was never able to do enough to feel entirely secure. As soon as a job was done, the fear of not being useful was upon me again. Achievement did not make me happy. I was driven to behave in ways that probably looked a lot like ambition from the outside.

In recent months I’ve had to step away from a number of things. Circumstances mean I’ve not had the energy or resources to be useful to others. It’s given me chance to face that anxiety, and find out how people treat me when I’m not in a position to give back. It’s been educational. There were, it transpires, connections that were wholly dependent on what I could give. There are others that have survived, where people like me enough for myself, and are willing to support me as I get back on my feet. I’ve become a calmer person for the experience, still determined to work and give, but feeling more able to choose where I deploy my energy, less obliged to jump at the smallest sign that something needs tackling. I also find I am not as hungry for external approval and visible signs of success. I have much less to prove, and so I do not need to be ambitious in the same way. 

On the other side, there is an ambition for excellence that I cannot imagine ever being without. The desire to do everything to the very best of my ability has been with me for as long as I can remember. I would not be me without it. I’ve been criticised for this, by someone who could not understand why I could never be satisfied with what I did, never able to stop and just enjoy it, always pushing on towards the next thing. Being content with what you do is, from a creative perspective, settling for inertia. However good we are, there is always scope to be better. I do enjoy things that go well – I can take pride in a story, a song well performed, a nifty arrangement on the bouzouki, whilst continually looking for ways to up my game. I want to be better. I want to be the best I possibly can be.

These two kinds of ambition are different in critical ways. The ambition born of trying to make up for a sense of inadequacy in myself is something I am glad to be letting go of, even if I do end up achieving less as a consequence. There is no joy in that kind of ambition, only self perpetuating fear. Ambition born of a desire for excellence, is inherently inspiring, brings cycles of growth and satisfaction, and is an attribute I am glad to have. It’s not being driven that needs scrutinising, it’s what is driving us.

An Interview with R. Phillip Prince, author.

As a publisher of Pagan/Heathen eBooks via Wyrdwood Publications, I have the pleasure of publishing the children’s author R. Phillip Prince. In his eBook, The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard, he writes in the style of the old story tellers and brings to the children of today, a wonderful mixture of magic and mayhem.

For this months column, I though you would enjoy learning more about this light-hearted author and the path that led him to write this endearing eBook.

*Please note that for EVERY copy sold a tree is planted in a deforested area of the world!*

Welcome to The Pagan and the Pen, Phillip.

Thanks for having me, Edain!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you found your path in the Norse tradition or it found you.

Hmmm….well, I could start at the beginning…First, the earth cooled, then came the dinosaurs! LOL! Ok, that might be too specific for this article and really it has nothing to do with me. Look, I’m just a guy originally from Indianapolis Indiana, born in ‘56 and winding my way down to today via life’s little highways and forks in the road. Just a “semi normal” guy who one day decided to write a Norse short story to make kids smile. ;-D

What events led you to write ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’?

No events to speak of for it. I think the idea simply popped into my head one day a couple of years ago. I think it was wintertime…I frequently use my brain more during that season, since I’m usually locked in the grip of cabin fever!

Your eBook is written in a lovely old-fashioned storytelling style, what inspired you to write it this way?

That’s the only way I felt it would work. Those were always the kind of stories I enjoyed my parents reading to me as a kid, it’s a simple formula that works. Kids don’t have time for a whole heck of a lot when they are real small, as far as the written word goes, so I’m all about keeping it short, sweet, simple and as entertaining as possible.

Also, it’s fun to create a read where parents have an active role in the reading of a short bedtime tale like mine. Making it fun for both the adult reader and the child is what it’s all about…that’s quality time the kids will never forget!

I will always remember my dad reading to me Jules Verne’s, 20,000 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He must have read it to me a dozen times…and he always read it with enthusiasm and vigor. That was the fun part! I loved it and him for doing it so often. Those are the times your kids will cherish and remember…and hopefully, learn to integrate that sort of story telling skill set into their own parenting situation.

How do you incorporate the ideals of your Norse tradition into your everyday life?

Well, I have always had a very keen interest in all things medieval and only recently became interested in Norse living history. I can’t say I’ve been able to indulge in this new hobby as much as I’ve liked, however, the fun comes from the study of it for me.  They were a simple people living in not so simple times. Many getting the bad rap of historical stereotyping, like the Vikings. Most were farmers and merchants and only a very few did the raiding and attacks they are credited for.

As for as how it helps me in everyday life I’d have to say that when you study an ancient society you come to realize it for what it was and to always remind yourself to stay humble, since our ancestors had it FAR, FAR worse than we ever will…stay humble and true to the values of old.

I’m a real believer in Chivalry and think that it has certainly become a lost art form. More young men of this generation have no clue what it is and that is a sad fact. I think it should be taught in school. The earlier the better. All the skills are laid out and I do think young men should learn what true Chivalry is all about.

I understand you participate in Norse Living History re-enactment, does this give you a connection to your spirituality or is it just recreational?

Purely recreational for me.

What items, either in this modern-day world or in the old heathen one, give you the most inspiration for your writing?

The time, the place and the setting. Swords, axes, tough men in a tough world. There is a plethora of real and imagined images from that time period from which to draw inspiration from. Plus, a little dash of contemporary silliness never hurts! Imagine a very aloof and sometimes cocky talking mouse loose in the Viking Dark Ages! That’s about as silly as it gets.

If you could be any one of your characters in ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’, which one would you be and why?

The mouse of course! He gets all the cheese the Viking drops into his beard! Not mention he has the most unique perspective of his world.

Will there be another tale with the characters from ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’? If so, can you give us any hints as to what it may be about?

I’d like there to be. I have an idea I’m mulling about now that I’ll attempt to flesh out over the winter. I can tell you that once again our little friend, the mouse, will be having another adventure in the land and times of the ancient Vikings and getting into all sorts of trouble, I’m sure!

What other writing projects are you working on at present?

Just another instalment with our rodent and his friend!  I have a one-track mind! Lol

Thank you for being with us today, Phillip.

This was great fun, Edain! Thanks for letting me yak on about myself. ;-D

As Yule is just around the corner and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the little, or indeed big heathen on your list, I believe The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard would satisfy everyone. For more information on how to order this book, as well as others exclusive to Wyrdwood Publications, visit the website at:

Remember! A tree is planted in a deforested area of the world for EVERY copy sold.

A Review of ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’:

Reviewed by Brynneth of The Druid Network

Publisher: Wyrdwood Publications

Subject: Fiction – mythic/ancient

Bjorn the Viking has an enormous beard. When a talking mouse moves into it, all kinds of chaos and adventures ensue.

This is a charming little story, ideal for young pagan readers (and non-pagan children as well). It’s an ebook, so you need to be willing to read from the screen, or print a copy, but that’s no great hardship. There’s humour, action, mead and magic.

Given the length, it would lend itself to being retold by story tellers as well – its written in that style.

I thought it was delightful.

To purchase a copy of The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard please go HERE.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.

Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

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