Ambition is a strong desire for success or distinction. It may be good or bad. If it urges one on to great and noble aims, it is a valuable asset. But if it is directed to selfish and mean ends, it is usually fraught with great mischief. Misdirected ambition is capable of doing infinite harm.
To gain wealth or power is a natural desire, since everyone cannot be expected to adopt renunciation as his ideal. But the unselfish ambition of a few great people is the salt that leavens society.
For example, a person, whose ambition is to secure the freedom of his country or to relieve the distress of his countrymen is honored and loved far more than one whose only ambition is to enrich himself.
Ambition lends impetus to work. The motive behind work becomes very powerful, when it proceeds from ambition. Ambition is roughly an index of power; and when the ambitious man possesses strength of will intelligence and capacity for work, he is sure to succeed in life. But to a habitual drone, who has neither the will nor the energy to work, ambition has nothing to offer. Ambition works wonders for those who plunge into life’s struggle with a will, who feel a great enthusiasm for their desired objects, and who have the energy to win through at all costs.
Progress and prosperity are but results of the life-long endeavors of ambitious men. They do well not only to themselves, but also to their fellow-beings. Great scientific discoveries, no less than success in business or other spheres of life, are mostly due to ambition. It is ambition that stirs up men to work and leads them on to success.
Ambition may sink into day-dreams of men who build castles in the air. Idle men generally wish for things that cannot be realized; their so-called ambition is an empty craving. If the ambition is for a thing that is beyond human endeavor, it is nothing but idle speculation that degrades rather than elevates a man. We must be careful to weed out such desires from the mind. We must be pragmatic in our ambitions. At the same time we should also see that our ambition does not lead us astray. To have an ambition for a base thing is worse than to have none at all.
Our aim should always be high. We should never stoop to meanness for attaining our objects. It is only noble ambition than can elevate individuals and societies, and that is alone capable of bringing peace and prosperity.