ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Introducing the World’s Newest Form of Religion

In: Starting an Online Business

We hear it all the time:

FIND MEANING IN YOUR LIFE.

It's become the advice du jour. The magical solution to our woes. The on-call prescription for disappointment with life. The hope we hold onto when our own has abandoned us.

In a sense, the search for meaning has become a religion of its own.

We worship its ideals and bow at its implications. We're kept awake at night, hoping to form a relationship with meaning. We want to feel its presence so deeply in our lives, but at times, we tend to lose faith when it doesn't manifest itself to us right away.

In many ways, meaning has been put up on a pedestal as a savior.

Unlike traditional forms of religion, however, this religion–the search for meaning–is far more compelling in terms of conversions, because there are many who have walked before us who have actually seemed to find it. I certainly don't need to go door-to-door peddling copies of the newest testament in hand (whose cover would likely feature a Hanes underwear model, because I'm the one making this all up and I've decided that Hanes underwear models should be plastered on as many objects as possible within my line of vision, thank you very much) because the proof is in the pudding. We see other people leading these lives just oozing with meaning–you know the type–and by golly, we're just dying for someone to take a chicken baster already and just douse us with all their might.  (Overboard?  I'll settle down with strange image-evoking metaphors.)

We want so desperately to find meaning in our lives, that when we don't find it instantaneously, we stomp up and down, cross our arms with frustration, and march on back to the land of superficial happiness. Superficial or not, at least it's readily available. Big screen, big screen, who wants a big screen?

It's the easy way out.

Truth be told, the search for meaning is hard. It sounds like a bunch of lollipops and fun in the sun, but it's a grueling process if you're starting from scratch. Even the goal itself–meaning–is rather vague and elusive. What does meaning, well…mean, anyway? If we don't have a clear idea of what meaning is in the first place, how are we suppose to go out and get some?

My answer:

Meaning is emotion.

When that one thing drives us to truly feel–be it elation, somberness, excitedness, worry, etc.–it brings us meaning. Something can only mean as much as we feel it. For example, writing to me is highly meaningful, because of the feelings that come with it. Intense joy. Fear. Pride. Wonder. Challenge. Satisfaction in knowing that no matter how fleeting life can be, words are permanent. Fascination with the human ability to communicate. Amusement when attractive readers from Indianapolis ask me to weddings. You know, the usush.

In many cases, relationships become meaningful to people, because of the feelings they attach to them (rapture, exhilaration, enchantment, sensuality, security).

In other cases, hobbies like sports become meaningful to people, because of the feelings they attach to them (loyalty, unity, pride, pleasure, desire to have an excuse to drink beer).

Meaning is not inherent; it is derived only when we assign meaning, which we do because we feel strongly about something.

As it turns out, feelings are running this crazy, crazy world of ours.

Not just individual feelings, but collective feelings as well. It's precisely how societies are formed, with their expectations and cultural norms; the group, as a whole, shares a general feeling toward something, and as a result, that something ends up representing great meaning for a society.  Take funnel cake, for example.

Therefore, it seems to go without saying that when we deny ourselves the ability to feel; when we push our emotions to the side, and aimlessly keep on doing what we've always done, meaning will never reveal itself to us. It can't. Because it's personal. And if we don't take it personally and run the emotional risk, then we'll remain indifferent to life, to the world around us, and to ourselves. And not only is that unfortunate, but it's incredibly boring as well.  You might as well be dead.

Risk equals reward. Risk equals reward. Risk equals reward.

 

Jul 10

2014

What To Do When You Hire Them And…They Suck.

Jul 10, 2014

So you started a business and before you knew it you were regularly lip syncing to Gaga while kicking ass, taking orders, AND taking names—which, for the record, I hear is a mafia term. Isn’t that delightful? Suddenly, you found yourself with an extra $5 and immediately shouted to no one in particular, “I’m going to reinvest […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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May 30

2014

Is Your Package Big Enough?

May 30, 2014

Confess. You’re reading this because the title made you think of male genitalia. (…And now you’re thinking about how weird the word “genitalia” sounds.) I know, I know. I tried to avoid it, but really, I can’t. Because today’s tip is about packaging your service or product offerings, so why be modest? I’m not even […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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May 14

2017

The Noodle Test: Is Your Business Idea Any Good?

May 14, 2017

When you’re weighing out your business ideas, do not cave to the pressure of having to do something new. You do not have to be the first—you just have to be the only. There’s a difference. If you think about it, there are plenty of restaurants using all the same ingredients. After all, there are only […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Oct 25

2012

An Ode to Baller Status.

Oct 25, 2012

Lather up. Choose the perfume-scented body lotion. Put every last hair into place. Rock your most exquisite piece of clothing. Wink at yourself in the mirror. Pull out the stops. Look fucking smashing. And then get to work. Because when you feel like a baller? YOU ACT LIKE ONE.

In: Starting an Online Business

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Dec 4

2012

Finding Your Inner F-Bomb: What To Do When You’re Having a Hard Time Being You

Dec 4, 2012

So last night I did what any young lady would do whose internet has been down since Friday and, as a result, is staying in a randomly-selected hotel to mooch mega-bytes: Wondered what the fine would be for accidentally stealing one of these “firm” pillows–these things are fucking impressive. Side-kicked the air-conditioner upon discovering there […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Sep 15

2011

Screw Being Your Own Boss

Sep 15, 2011

  Being your own boss is infinitely harder than having a boss, and by infinitely (which is a pain in the ass to spell), I mean 17,929,531.9045 times harder. Exact math. The next time I hear someone say that they want to be their own boss, I’m going to take the nearest rotten pork chop and slap […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Oct 6

2011

Entrepreneurs + Marriage: Possible? Or Possibly Hopeless?

Oct 6, 2011

Marriage scares the *#$^!&*(±*@&%^$*#@(±!!)!)!%&@# out of me. As a matter of fact, it scares me so much, there should really be some of these in there: ¡¿¡¿ (For once, buying my Macbook in South America, and having the corresponding Spanish keyboard, paid off. Look at that sexy upside down punctuation! You like them papayas? Do ya? […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jun 2

2017

When It’s Hard for People to Pick, The First Thing They Do Is Ditch

Jun 2, 2017

HI, IT’S ME, AND IT’S FRIDAY, AND I’M VERY EXCITEDDDDD. First off, our brand new flagship fuck yeah website launches next week. (We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for an entire year!) JUNE!!!!!!!!! THE MONTH OF CHAMPIONNNSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S GOING TO BE HUGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! (Please imagine me saying that like a forty-five year old balding […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

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