Why Do We Need Our Ambitions?

Why do people need their ambitions?

Ambition, it is a brilliant human device that will push you to achievement. It is what helps you to leaps of the imagination and create higher possibilities of invention; it can bring you praise. However, there can be moments in a typical 20-something in their life where they may suddenly look at ambition and realize how ruthlessly narcissistic it can be. It’s a big “Look at me and see how brilliant I am” slap in the face.

Some women may look at ambition as a dirty, and ugly word, possibly because of the old expectation that it is men who are built for all the glory in the world. Glory and ladies are not really quite a perfect match: it can be rather egotistic. In 2003 and 2004, The Harvard Business Review echoed on this issue with articles that say, “Nice Girls Don’t Ask” and “Do Women Lack Ambition?” (Of course, I’d say a big fat NO to that)

Yet without these ambitions of ours, the human mammal may or may not be still wandering off the desert and figuring out how a fire would work. Or if the ancient Egyptians have not been so ambitious in reaching the heavens that they would not be building the pyramids of Giza. And in turn, there would be no place for us to visit, no tombs to look out for, no temples and no sarcophagus to admire. The Romans may have destroyed a lot during their empire, but be glad that they still left their Colosseums and ampitheaters for us to visit and relive their glorious times. The ambitions of these civilizations did not do them any good in terms of retaining their glorious times, but they have left us with marvelous architectures, cultures, and stories to tell to generations after.

The tragic paradox to this whole ambition thing, is although those who achieved remarkable things have given them the highest of pleasures, they in turn, did not much gain personal happiness that should come along with it. The story of invention and beauty and the glitz and glam is always, more often than not, littered with suicides and the terminally insane.

But, there is something wildly exciting about chasing a high ambition. It is like reaching for the stars rather than moping around. Whatever the culture you may have grown with, one should never apologize for their dreams, no matter how crazy and outlandish it may seem. Ambition can remain benign as long as it is constantly examined: if not, you may find yourself lost in it, and one morning you wake up and do not recognize your own reflection in the mirror. It is recommended that you take a step back from you own aspirations and ask yourself questions. Because, you may reach the pinnacle of your profession and suddenly realize that you may not like the view and how it looks.

If you infuse your ambition with work, ambition can be a narrow thing. But I do like the idea of a much broader view: not merely to be successful in what you do, but also in what you are as a person. In a layman’s term, don’t end up running a company and not having time to make new friends, or read a book once you are home. And coming to find your own family asking: Who is that strange person coming in and out of our house? (As if you are a ghost) Once you acknowledge the dangers you can let your ambition rip – and don’t let anyone tell you different. You can be a nice person and still ask for anything you want.


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